If you truly love your partner and want to show the depth of your commitment, the idea of renewing your wedding vows may have crossed your mind. This is indeed a very special way to celebrate your marriage, and one that nearly 20% of British married couples are contemplating.
Why renew your wedding vows?
There are so many different reasons why a vow renewal might appeal to you and your spouse. Perhaps you couldn’t have the wedding you’d always dreamed of first time round, or the big day didn’t go according to plan? Maybe you were married in a small, sober civil ceremony and are now longing for a large, lavish family celebration?
Whether there was insufficient time to plan the original event, or money issues were limiting your wedding celebration ambitions, or key family members or friends were unable to attend, now is the chance to do it all again, but properly this time.
Some couples choose to renew their vows in front of their children (who may well be adults now) and others do it to reinforce a sense of closeness and togetherness, perhaps after a rocky relationship patch or after overcoming serious illness or injury. Essentially, the reasons why couples renew their vows are as diverse and as personal as the reasons for getting married in the first place!
How do you organise a vow renewal ceremony?
Planning a wedding vow renewal is your chance to shape the event exactly as you would like. Whether you want to have an intimate ceremony between just the two of you, or an elaborate affair to declare your ongoing love and commitment to the rest of the world, you can go right ahead.
There are no set rules, restrictions or wedding etiquette to follow, so whether or not you include traditional wedding elements such as the gown, the cake or the ring is entirely your choice. Indeed, there’s no reason why the ‘bride’ can’t wear white. And if your original gown should no longer fit, find an accomplished seamstress like this one who specialises in wedding dress alterations. They can work wonders, you know.
When it comes to the venue, think about the best location in which to renew your vows. Perhaps a place of worship would set the right tone? Some couples choose the same location where they got married, others prefer a venue that complements the original event and reflects who they are as people now.
How about a romantic rural location in Devon? A tropical beach at a far-flung destination you’ve always wanted to visit? Here’s a fabulous selection of holidays to peruse. Or maybe you would prefer an intimate family affair in your back garden? Again, there are no rules surrounding the location of the ceremony, so feel free to indulge your wildest fantasies.
Many couples host their own vow renewal, and some involve their children in an honorary capacity. And since renewing your vows is not legally binding and you don’t need to obtain and additional marriage licence, anyone can do the honours. Why not ask a relative or close friend to officiate the ceremony? It doesn’t have to be a member of the clergy or a licenced celebrant.
What happens during the ceremony?
The vow renewal ceremony itself can be religious, part-religious or non-religious, as you wish. It can include music, readings, poetry or the exchange of gifts. You will exchange vows, perhaps repeating the marriage vows you made to each other at your wedding, or you could make new ones to express how you feel about your relationship, particularly if the last time you exchanged vows was many years ago. Here is a simple vow renewal ceremony script to inspire you.
Next comes the re-dedication of rings. These could be your original wedding bands, and some couples have new engravings made, perhaps with a meaningful quotation or the date of your vow renewal. Alternatively, you could buy new rings for the occasion. The ceremony may also include a ring blessing ritual, where the rings are passed around the room to be blessed by your family and friends.
And if you’re wondering about the correct etiquette for walking down the aisle? There isn’t one. How about asking your children to walk you down the aisle? Or go together as a couple, hand in hand? Do whatever feels right for you.
When to renew your vows?
Research carried out by American Express found that 35% of couples who renewed their vows chose a milestone anniversary. Whether you’ve made it to 2, 5, 10, 25 or 50 years together, it’s a huge romantic gesture to publicly declare that you would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
What’s more, there’s no limit to the number of vow renewals you can make. Did you know that supermodel Heidi Klum and singer Seal renewed their vows every single year during their 6-year marriage?
And you don’t even have to choose your wedding anniversary date. A reaffirmation is not legally binding, so there are no regulations to follow. It’s a private ceremony that can take place at any time after the original wedding – it is entirely up to you.