If you’re on the cusp of a milestone anniversary, you’ve just survived a rough patch or you just want to remind your partner that you’re still committed to your marriage, having a vow renewal ceremony is a beautiful way to re-affirm your love and devotion to each other. After all, just like newlyweds, couples whose love has survived the wear and tear of marriage deserve a lavish party too. In addition, renewing your vows will give you a chance to celebrate with all the new friends and family who have come into your life since you first said “I do.” While you can renew your vows anytime, having a ceremony as your anniversary party is a great way to mark the milestones. Let these wedding vow renewal ideas inspire you to create the wedding of your dreams… again!
Wedding Vow Renewal Ideas: The Ceremony
Should the bride wear white again? Do you need attendants? Who officiates? Since you’re already legally married, deciding on a vow renewal ceremony can be difficult. The good news is, a vow renewal ceremony is much more laid back than a wedding ceremony. It can be anything you want it to be! You can hire an officiant, ask a trusted friend or family member to lead the ceremony or forego an officiant all together. The bride can walk down the aisle alone, with her children, with her groom or not at all. And if her wedding dress still fits and is in good condition, she’s certainly welcome to wear it again.
While a wedding ceremony is all about two families joining together and two people becoming one, the idea of a vow renewal ceremony is to celebrate the people you have become and the life you’ve created together. Use personal touches from your own unique personalities to create a beautiful ceremony you will both love. Here are some ceremony vow renewal ideas:
- Have a casual outdoor ceremony in your backyard, a friend’s yard, a park or a garden. Obviously this ceremony is ideal for summer, and it’s best to have a back-up plan (or at least a cover). Though you’ll have to take chair rental fees into consideration, this type of ceremony can be very inexpensive, particularly if there are a lot of fresh flowers. All you’ll need are chairs, an aisle runner, plenty of flowers and some kind of arch or place marker for the spot where you’ll stand. Make sure your guests will be as comfortable as possible. Try to seat them in some shade and keep citronella candles on hand to keep bugs at bay.
- Have a church ceremony, either at your regular church or a big, beautiful cathedral you’ve always admired. If you are religious, you’ll likely want to make your promises in front of God just like you did the first time around. Or, if you never got a true wedding ceremony when you got married and are a traditional couple, you can have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Every bride that wants to walk down a church aisle deserves that privilege, so feel free to have a church vow renewal ceremony if that’s what you desire.
- Have your ceremony at a spot that has special meaning to you… rent out the lounge where you had your first date, the theater where you saw your first performance together or the restaurant where the proposal took place. Many public locations can be rented out for private parties, and this way you could combine your ceremony and reception into one fun-filled bash.
- If you had a big wedding the first time around, consider a destination vow renewal. You could return to the spot where you had your honeymoon, jet off to Vegas and get re-married by Elvis, elope to a tropical paradise or just enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast that will accommodate your needs. If you were planning an anniversary vacation or a second honeymoon, this option will definitely be the most frugal. You may decide a private vow renewal ceremony with just the two of you will be the most special option for you. Also, if many of your friends and family members live far away from you, this option will save them any hurt feelings or guilt.
- Wedding ceremonies trend to have a serious tone, but a vow renewal can be much more fun and playful. That being said, consider a themed ceremony for your second big day. If you’re theatrical people, you can host your ceremony at a theater and have a Broadway theme. If your anniversary is in autumn, you can have a Halloween-themed party (click here for more Halloween theme ideas). You can go vintage with lace, pearls and old music, or you can turn it into a fairytale land. The sky is the limit when it comes to vow renewal ideas, so get creative with your ceremony.
Wedding Vow Renewal Ideas: The Invitations
Once you’ve envisioned your ideal vow renewal, it’s time to send out invitations to your loved ones letting them know you’ve decided to take the plunge again. There’s really no rule that states who must be invited to a vow renewal, so invite guests at your discretion. If you’re close with your immediate family they’ll certainly expect an invite, but there’s no need to invite your second cousin who lives out of state this time around. If you’ll have a reception, keep your budget in mind and plan your guest list accordingly.
You can order your vow renewal invitations from any site that designs wedding invitations. One site in particular, Wedding Paperie, will allow you to fully customize your invitations which will be necessary for a vow renewal. Wedding Paperie also exclusively offers booklet-style invitations. The booklet invites allow you eight pages of space, so you can fill your guests in on your love story while inviting them to celebrate the continuation of it. You can add old photos and stories from your relationship that even your close friends may not have known. When your guests arrive at your vow renewal ceremony, they will already have a deep appreciation for the love you’ve shared over the years and will be excited to watch you renew your commitment to each other.
Here are some vow renewal invitation wording ideas:
Please join us
as we renew our wedding vows and celebrate 25 years together
Diana and Steven Jonas
August 31, 2013
Cascade Gardens, Lot B
Reception to follow
We still do!
Together with their children
Bonnie and Bill Stevens
invite you to witness
the re-affirmation of their wedding vows
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Dinner and dancing to follow
Please join us
as ten years after the day we said “I do”
we gather to renew our vows.
Ashley and Cody Branson
at our home.
Informal reception to follow
Wedding Vow Renewal Ideas: The Etiquette
While your wedding vow renewal ceremony and reception can be whatever you envision it to be, there are a few etiquette rules you should try to abide by if possible. These are not set in stone but are rather general guidelines. Here are some tips to keep in mind when consider vow renewal ideas:
- Do not register for gifts. While the blender, toaster and towels you received as wedding gifts may no longer be useful, it is tacky to request gifts at your vow renewal. Some of your guests may bring gifts, but they should be from their hearts, not out of expectation.
- Don’t throw bachelor or bachelorette parties. You’re re-affirming the commitment you’ve already made to each other, not celebrating your final moments of freedom!
- Consider writing your own vows. This is not necessary, of course, but it will add a deeply personal touch to your ceremony. At your wedding, you are promising what you will do. At your vow renewal, you can talk about what you’ve experienced together since that day and what you can promise from this day forward. There are many websites with vow samples, and if you’re still stumped, you can hire a writer to help you.
- Don’t have attendants. You can incorporate your children into the ceremony and invite your original bridal party to attend so you can honor them, but there’s no need to select a large wedding party and coordinate their roles. The exception to this rule is if you didn’t get a wedding the first time around and consider your vow renewal to be your “official” wedding.
Use these wedding vow renewal ideas as guidelines to plan your perfect day, take two. Congratulations on having a love worth celebrating!