Inside Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner's Secret Vow Renewal: 'It Was Everything We Could've Asked For'
After meeting for the first time at the altar five years ago on Lifetime's Married at First Sight (produced by Kinetic Content), Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner — who welcomed daughter Henley Grace in 2017 — secretly renewed their vows in Curaçao at the Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort in April.
"Jamie and I wanted to take some time to celebrate how far we’ve come personally and emotionally and reflect on the time we spent together," Hehner tells PEOPLE exclusively. "Five years is a very big deal!"
Adds Otis: "We wanted to do something extremely private and extra special to celebrate our five-year anniversary."
The couple shared the ceremony on their YouTube channel Hot Marriage Cool Parents.
"We needed a vacation to reconnect just the two of us, which is sometimes challenging between work and being a parent," says Hehner. "With five years, and having a daughter, you realize that your priorities shift and your relationship changes and grows. It is easy to fall into a day-after-day-after-day routine and not appreciate all the hard work and effort you put into your marriage."
Explains Otis: "After five years being married, we found ourselves stuck in a rut. Our lives had fallen into a daily routine of rushing off to work only to come home and quickly get dinner made, our daughter in the tub and then off to sleep. Then we get two hours to ourselves before we head off to bed. We’d plop on the couch and I’d scroll Instagram and watch Netflix while Doug played video games. We realized we would be sitting next to each other for two hours or more without even talking. We needed to reconnect so we didn’t lose sight of what made us fall in love to begin with. I believe love doesn’t grow unless you nurture it!"
After the highest of highs (welcoming their daughter) and several heartbreaking lows (the loss of their son Johnathan and several miscarriages), the couple felt it was "important to recommit ourselves to each other," says Hehner.
"It was a perfect getaway, and even more special than our first vow renewal," he says about the intimate ceremony. "This time it was just us — Doug and Jamie (with Henley on our mind!) — mommy and daddy, husband and wife. It was epic and perfect!"
"We didn’t let anyone know what we were doing — not family, not friends, not production companies or networks or press. We just wanted a very private, intimate experience," says Otis. "It was absolutely everything we could’ve ever asked for."
"Our lives have been so public, and most big milestones have been displayed on Married at First Sight, but this time we wanted to keep it super private and small," says Otis. "We wanted to sneak away and take time to focus on us."
"We came home with our cups overflowing. Now we are flooding our daughter and family with love," she adds.
The couple also shared a brand-new first after five years of marriage: a couples' massage!
"After our vow renewal, we had an amazing time exploring Curaçao," she says of their getaway. "We swam with fish in the clear blue water and went jet skiing all around the island."
And though they kept their plans private, the couple says they couldn't wait to share with their fans.
"As much as we wanted a private ceremony and vacation, we couldn’t be wait to come home and share all about this amazing, romantic experience with our frans on our podcast," says Otis. "They have been non-stop supportive to us and we truly adore them. We feel so blessed to have had their love and support for five years."
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