Weddings and vow renewal ceremonies are wonderful things – they can bring the two most rhythm-challenged people together on the dance floor into a synced, limb-flailing groove; they can give anyone an excuse to eat way too much cake (wait, is there such a thing?); they can bring family and friends together to celebrate the love that brought you and your beloved to this point.
Whether you want to relive those moments, reiterate the commitment you have to your spouse, or celebrate a milestone anniversary, renewing your vows is the way to go. However, there are several factors you need to consider before planning the nitty gritty details!
The People – To Invite, or to Leave Out?
Although you might have been pressured to for your original wedding, don’t feel like you need to invite everyone and their cat to your vow renewal ceremony! This day can be as intimate, or as public, as you’d like.
Many couples decide to hold a private ceremony with their immediate family present (mainly children and parents). Although bridal party attendees (bridesmaids and groomsmen) are not “required,” couples may choose to bring their original bridal parties back to their sides or swap in their children and grandchildren.
The Invitations – How to Word
The only thing that needs to change between wedding and vow renewal invitations is the mention of the host. The couple’s parents host weddings, whereas the couple or the couple’s children host the vow renewal. The change in host should be reflected in the invitation’s wording (see examples below).
Wedding Invitation Wording Sample: Mr. and Mrs. Doe request your presence at the wedding of daughter Jane Doe to John Smith.
Vow Renewal Invitation Wording Sample: The children of Mr. and Mrs. Smith request your presence at the renewal of wedding vows of their parents.
For more advice on wording your invitations, read this!
The Registry – Yay or Nay to Gifting?
Most couples don’t recommend having a gift registry or a shower. Because this is a more intimate ceremony, couples want to share their everlasting commitment to each other with their close friends and family rather than asking for gifts the second time around.
If guests insist on giving, ask them to donate to a charity that you hold dear. Or perhaps cards only are okay. Find a tactful way to make that clear.
The Ceremony – Reiterating Your Wedding Day with a Twist
Since renewing vows isn’t a legal matter, the couple has complete freedom in what to include and what to leave out of the ceremony.
In terms of vow verbiage, you can reread your original wedding day vows (for sentimental reasons) or rewrite them to fit the feel of your relationship now. This gives the couple a chance to reflect on how their relationship has grown and strengthened since their wedding day, especially if the vow renewal is representing a milestone anniversary.
Rings are usually exchanged following the presentation of vows. Some couples exchange original wedding bands with new engravings or stones added, or take advantage of the occasion to upgrade to a different ring all together!
Children, immediate family and/or close friends can do readings following the exchange of rings, much like a wedding ceremony.
Receptions are a must with vow renewal ceremonies! It can be as casual or as luxurious as you’d like, from a backyard BBQ gathering to a formal dinner and classic dance party. Take this opportunity to reminisce about the past, stall the present and dream about the future. Don’t skimp out on the photographer this time around!