Renewing Vows

Some couples choose to renew their marriage vows at some point during their marriage to reaffirm their commitment to their partner. This article provides tips and advice for those thinking about renewing their wedding vows or looking for ideas on how to celebrate their next anniversary.

Why Do People Renew Their Wedding Vows?

Many people renew their wedding vows to reaffirm their commitment to their partner. After spending many years together, it is often meaningful and important for a couple to acknowledge one another and reconfirm their mutual desire to continue cultivating their relationship.

A vow renewal ceremony is also a special time for the couples family, as children, relatives and friends who werent present at the original marriage ceremony can celebrate the couples enduring commitment.

While the initial marriage may have been a small ceremony or an elopement due to financial reasons, it may also have not included all of the guests the couple wanted because of geographical barriers or time constraints. As a result, renewing vows may also give couples who eloped or had a small ceremony the chance to have a larger reception that includes extended family.

For others, renewing wedding vows may serve as an opportunity to start over after tough times in the relationship. A new ceremony can symbolically put the past in the past, representing a new beginning for the couple.

How to Plan a Vow Renewal Ceremony

The great thing about renewing your vows is that you can do it however you wish! Where you have it, whom you invite, when you hold it and how formal or informal you plan the event are all up to you and your partner.

A good starting point might be to decide what your budget will be. As with any party, cost can quickly get out of control if you dont think about it up front. Once you have an idea of how much you are willing to spend, you will have a better idea of how big an event you can have, how many people you will be able to invite and what type of refreshments you will serve.

Other important aspects you will have to plan include:

  • A location: Where you decide to renew your vows will depend not only on your budget, but also on how long you have to plan the renewal ceremony. For example, while you may not be able to afford the nicest wedding hall, if you plan far enough in advance, you can book a quaint little chapel within your budget. Alternatively, you can save a lot of money by renewing your vows at home, in a scenic park or on the beach.
  • A minister: Think about how you want to approach the ceremony itself, as well. Do you want someone to officiate? Since renewing your vows is a symbolic ceremony, you dont need an ordained or legally empowered official to preside over the ceremony. While you may want to make the event more formal by hiring an ordained minister, you can also have a family member or close friend preside over the ceremony.
  • The reception: Again, your budget and guest list will play a role in the type of reception you hold. If, for instance, you renew your vows at home in front of a small group of people, you may want to host an informal reception in your backyard or at a local restaurant. Alternatively, if your renewal ceremony is a more formal event for which you plan to invite your extended family, renting a reception hall and a caterer may be more appropriate.
  • Tradition: What about traditional aspects of a wedding, such as the bride being “given away” by her father? Although renewing your vows is largely symbolic, you may want to incorporate some aspects of the marriage tradition, such as being given away, choosing a wedding party or wearing white. However, you need not strictly abide by tradition. You can adapt tradition to your ceremony. For example, the “bride” can walk down the aisle with her children, her brother or even a beloved pet. Similarly, while you may not want the hassle of having a full-out traditional wedding party, choosing a few of your original bridesmaids may be fun and nostalgic.
  • Your vows: One of the most important aspects of the ceremony will be the words you use to renew your vows. You can write your own vows, look through books or check out various websites for templates and ideas. A good place to start is famous poems or quotes about love, commitment and growth that can help you convey your feelings.

A Note on Gifts for Vow Renewal Ceremonies

While gifts are expected at weddings, they are inappropriate for renewing vows, as the purpose behind a wedding gift is to give a new couple items to help them settle their home together. If you are planning to renew your vows, inform your guests that they need only bring themselves and that gifts are unnecessary.