I Do, Again! Ultimate Guide to Wedding Vow Renewal
Advice article from our friends at Truly Experiences.
Header image by Maxeen Kim Photography with Lefkas Weddings
What better way for a couple to show the world that they’re still in love after several years together than to renew their vows? Saying I Do once is wonderful, saying it all over again can be even better!
However, when couples decide to renew their wedding vows, they’re faced with many decisions about how best to celebrate. Being formally married already doesn’t always mean that you automatically know how to plan another, similar ceremony.
Working within guidelines can make preparation simpler and less stressful, and English Wedding is here to help.
What Is A Vow Renewal?
A vow renewal is a ceremony for an already-married couple to come together (often with family and friends) and celebrate their relationship and commitment to one another. Each vow renewal ceremony will be different, just as each wedding is, and deciding how to approach your special day requires a lot of thought.
Why Do People Renew Their Vows?
There are many reasons why couples choose to renew their vows. People quite often choose to have this ceremony to mark a special milestone or significant anniversary. Other couples have a vow renewal ceremony because their original wedding wasn’t a proper celebration – they may have eloped, in which case many family members and friends would likely have been absent.
Sometimes people see renewing their vows as a time to recommit to their relationship, especially if they have gone through a difficult time – the renewal can be a celebration of the strength of their marriage, or a reaffirmation of their commitment.
Planning a special ceremony like this doesn’t have to be as complicated as planning your formal or “official” wedding. There are of course many similarities, but the fact that you and your significant other have known each other for years removes a lot of the unknowns. There shouldn’t be any pressure to impress in-laws or deal with family members’ feuds, because it’s totally up to you who you invite.
That, in fact, is one of the best things about renewing your vows: it can be the chance to do it all over again, but with all the knowledge you gained from your original wedding ceremony.
Getting a “second chance” can be the perfect opportunity to do things your way and stop trying to please those around you.
What About An Officiant?
One of the great things about renewing your vows is that you can bypass all the red tape, such as filing for a wedding license or giving notice (depending on where you live). Your ceremony can be anywhere you want it to be and you don’t need a priest, registrar or any kind of officiant to attend. If you are already legally married, you can treat a vow renewal as you would any other celebratory get-together.
Every vow renewal ceremony looks different. Some people go to great lengths with the venue, décor and food, while others toss out all traditions and go for a small and personal celebration. How your day turns out depends entirely on your preferences, but it is important to take a few things into account.
Preparations for a wedding or vow renewal ceremony entail many decisions. When renewing your vows you don’t have to live up to any expectations, but giving some consideration to the basics can make your day more enjoyable. Three of the main elements, for example, are invitations, your choice of venue, and whether or not you intend to have a reception – and if so, where?
Three Basic Ideas: Invites, Venue And Reception
Invitations: Sending out “save-the-date” invites might not be as crucial as it was for your original wedding, but they are still a lovely way of letting people know of your celebration well in advance. Getting a save-the-date also lets guests know what to expect: whether your ceremony will be a formal occasion or a casual affair. Your invitations themselves should tell guests the date, time and venue, as well as any specifics such as dress code.
Venue: Keep in mind that many people won’t consider a vow renewal ceremony to be as important as an actual wedding – so holding your celebration far from home might prove tricky. If you want to keep things intimate, on the other hand, picking an exotic destination could be just the thing. A vow renewal ceremony can still happen if you two are the only ones present.
Reception: A vow renewal ceremony might feel less formal than a traditional wedding but it’s still nice to have an after-party of sorts. This time round things can be more relaxed. You’re past the stage of needing to please guests – it’s your decision who to invite, after all.
What About Your Outfits?
Most people renewing their vows opt for less traditional attire. This kind of celebration can be less formal and more personal, so you can feel free to dress in a way that expresses who you are, and not how you are expected to be.
And For Guests?
Being a guest at a vow renewal ceremony means that the couple who invited you consider you a close friend. Official weddings often include extended family members in their guest list – not a necessity in a less formal event.
It is entirely up to the couple whether or not they will have a bridal party with a best man and bridesmaids. Some people find it meaningful to include their original bridal party in a vow renewal ceremony but many don’t consider it necessary.
In general, the couple involved is discouraged from having a gift list. The tradition of bringing gifts to a wedding originated thousands of years ago, when it was usual for the groom to pay the bride’s family a dowry. Over centuries the practice has evolved and these days it is an expected part of getting married. When buying a gift for the couple go for more personal items, like something symbolising your relationship with them or a unique gift experience for couples.
Say I Do Again – Your Way!
Renewing your vows should be a special and enjoyable event. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this celebration is personal, and your choices are the only ones that matter. Saying I Do again lets you celebrate your union again, so make it all about you!