Many couples want to celebrate and reaffirm their love and commitment for one another by renewing their marriage vows, either privately or publicly, and by saying "I do" again. Here are ways that a renewal of your wedding vows can be both fun and meaningful.
Reasons Why You May Want to Renew Your Marriage Vows
Renewing your marriage vows is appropriate for married couples regardless of how long you have been married.
There are commonly cited reasons couples desire vow renewal ceremonies. Here are some of the reasons.
- It is a special anniversary, such as your fifth, 10th, 25th, 50th, etc.
- The two of you want to make a public statement of your love and commitment to each other.
- Friends and family couldn't attend your wedding due to distance or it being a small ceremony and you now want to share your vows with them in attendance.
- You originally had a civil wedding, and you want to have a religious ceremony.
- You originally had a religious ceremony and now want to have a ceremony that doesn't have restrictions that may have imposed.
- You and your spouse have had a difficult time and want to start fresh.
- You now have the means to have the ceremony and reception you couldn't afford for your original wedding.
Legalities of Renewing Your Marriage Vows
Remember that a renewal of your vows is not a legal ceremony. It is only a symbolic, sentimental ceremony.
Generally, for a renewal of vows, a license is not required and paperwork is not needed. Some officiants and wedding chapels may request to see your marriage certificate to confirm that you are already married.
There may be hoops for you to jump through if your marriage was not and is not legal. If you have doubts about the legality of your original marriage and want to get remarried legally, it is best that you talk with your local government official in charge of marriages.
For the past several years, Registration Offices in the UK have been providing couples with the opportunity to have their marriage vows renewed in public locations. They may also provide souvenir certificates.
Do's and Don'ts for Vow Renewals
Remind yourself that when you have a public renewal of your wedding vows, you are not having a second wedding. There are also several factors to consider if you opt for this ceremony. Here is what is recommended and not recommended.
- A gift registry
- A shower
- Bachelor or bachelorette type parties
- Attendants such as a maid of honor or a best man
- A procession down the aisle
- A tiered wedding cake
- Keep your renewal of marriage vows casual and simple.
- If you write your own vows, don't draw attention to negativity in your past. Focus on your future together.
- Walk towards one another from sides of the room or area rather than having a procession down a center aisle.
- Re-dedicate your rings or have your wedding rings blessed instead of purchasing new rings.
- You may have a floral bouquet, but do not toss it after the ceremony.
- Have a "no-gift" type of reception.
- You and/or your spouse may make a toast to your guests.
Planning Your Vow Renewal
Unlike a wedding, you don't have traditions and etiquette rules for vow renewals to guide you.
It will usually be a more intimate celebration with close friends and family. Similar to wedding planning, you should begin by thinking about what kind of ceremony and reception you want and how many guests will attend. Set a budget and a date and then find a venue. For the reception, you may have it catered or you could plan to enjoy a meal together at a restaurant.
Officiant for Vow Renewals
You will not need to have an officiant who can perform a legal marriage for a vow renewal. You may want to have a clergy member or judge officiate if that would make it more meaningful to you. But you can instead have no officiant at all, saying your vows to each other. Or, you could have a friend or relative perform as the officiant.
Traditional wedding vows may not fit your vow renewal. You can see sample vows to use for the occasion and modify to fit your circumstance.
That can help inspire you when writing your own vows.
Vow Renewal Invitation
When inviting friends and family, you may want to use these forms:
If the couple is the host:
- The honor of your presence is requested at the reaffirmation of the wedding vows of [names of the couple] [Day and date]
- Please join us as we renew our wedding vows and celebrate [number] years together [names of the couple] [Day and date]
If hosted by the children of the couple:
- The children of [names of the couple] [Day and date] request the honor of your presence at the vow renewal ceremony of their parents
*Article updated by Marni Feuerman