What Is a Vow Renewal?
A vow renewal is a celebratory ceremony for a married couple to reaffirm their commitment to each other. They are especially popular on milestone anniversaries (10, 25, or 50 years); however, there is no rule as to when to have one. Some couples do it every year (seriously!).
Why Do Couples Renew Their Vows?
Vow renewals are held for any number of reasons.
- You’ve made it to 2, 5, 10, 25, or 50 years together and you want the world to know you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
- Some the couple was only able to have a small wedding or elopement and now wish to have more guests present.
- Others maybe they’ve overcome an illness, infidelity, or other situation in their marriage and want to re-commit to each other.
- Other couples may be so crazy in love after the first year of marriage that they simply want to say “I do” all over again.
- For romantics, planning a surprise vow renewal for your partner can be a way to re-ignite the flame of passion.
Does a Vow Renewal Require a License?
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.
How to Plan a Vow Renewal
There is no standard protocol for planning a vow renewal ceremony, so you’ll have lots of freedom to create a meaningful celebration. Here is a general planning guide:
Decide the details – Whether at an international destination, a restaurant, or a simple gathering at home, your celebration can be as formal or informal as you’d like.
Choose a date and send invitations – After you select the location and date, send an invitation.
What Should the Invitation Say?
The invitation is similar to a wedding invite, except no hosts’ names are at the top:
“The honor of your presence is requested
at the reaffirmation [or renewal] of the wedding vows of
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith [or Laura and John Smith].”
If the invitation is issued by the children of the couple:
“The children of
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith [or Laura and John Smith]
request the honor of your presence
at the reaffirmation ceremony of their parents.”
Pick your outfit – Feel free to dress up. You don’t need a wedding dress, a veil or a tux. You could even wear your original wedding gown if you’re comfortable with it. Whatever you choose, your outfit should reflect the formality of the event.
The groom might wear his original tuxedo or suit (or uniform if you’re in the military), updated with a new tie or vest. Or may choose a new ensemble for this celebration.
Meet with your officiant – The officiant can deliver a welcome that outlines some of your married life experiences. You may have readings and well-wishes from guests before you say your vows. Ideally, read your vows aloud to each other. Follow up with a blessing by the officiant, a big kiss, and walk out to “your song” to greet each guest personally.
Vow renewal etiquette has only one cardinal rule – Gifts from your guests are not to be solicited or expected. You can, however, present each other with new or upgraded wedding rings.