So nostalgia and/or romance have finally got the better of you and you’ve decided to do it all again with a vow renewal! It could be that you tied the knot five years ago or 25. Perhaps you want to make new memories with family and friends. Maybe you just want to reaffirm your commitment to each other after many years of marriage. Perhaps it rained cats and dogs on your big day or the groom had chickenpox. Or maybe you were just so tense about the whole thing that you didn’t have time to enjoy it. Perhaps you kept it low-key or had a tiny budget and now it just just feels right to do it again, differently, and in a wonderfully relaxed setting.
Sometimes the idea grows out of a love of a special place like Mallorca, which has become part of your lives together. So having an extended family holiday and making your vow renewal while everyone is gathered together sharing the good things in life is one of the best ways of celebrating your relationship.
Whatever the reason, you’ll be in good company. Lots of celebrity couples have chosen to renew their vows. The Beckhams, after having a totally lavish wedding, decided to have a very quiet renewal in 2006. In fact, David kept it a secret from Victoria until the last minute when they renewed their vows simply and at home with the family.
Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso had their vow renewal with 50 family and friends in the beautiful setting of St Lucia. While Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady had an intimate ceremony in Costa Rica. Beyonce and Jay-Z reaffirmed their vows during a holiday in Corsica. Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne renewed their vows too. Afterwards Ozzy said he considered it their real wedding day commenting; “Sharon and I have been through so much that it honestly felt like a new beginning”
Whatever the reason, you might have questions about the practicalities of the vow renewal process.
Do the bridesmaids have to dig out their dresses and squeeze into them again? Do you walk down the aisle separately or together? Do you exchange rings? How can your children be involved in the ceremony?
There is a lot more flexibility around vow renewals than weddings. That gives you much more freedom but can be a bit disconcerting if you’re looking for some guidance.
So read on for some hints and tips:
Who do we invite to our vow renewal?
Do you get out the old invitation list you had all those years ago and invite the same people? Nope! The choice is all yours. Many couples choose to keep their ceremony small and intimate with a meal at a special restaurant afterwards. Unlike with a wedding, where you might feel that you have to invite those second cousins twice removed AND their partners, now you can invite the people you really want to be there. And with a destination vow renewal, you are asking your guests to make quite a commitment so you’ll want to think carefully about who you invite.
It can be really nice to have just your partner and your children at your vow renewal for an extra intimate occasion. Or you may want to invite people who have been especially important to you as a couple in your marriage.
If you do decide to make it a big occasion, you can bring out your old photos to decorate the venue and invite a wider selection of people from your original nuptials. They will love looking back at the photographs and reliving the day, especially if you’re holding your vow renewal a long time after your wedding.
What do we wear to renew our wedding vows?
This is really flexible! Some couples decide to choose to wear their wedding outfits again. If a dress looks a little dated or you can’t fit into it (or both!), you could look into customising it for today. (bear in mind that in Mallorca, you’ll need something a little lighter and suitable for the warm climate). Or you could buy a new outfit for the occasion. Instead of white, ivory or cream, why not go for a subtle touch of colour like blush, nude, pale gold, dusty blue or pewter?
However, if you’re holding a vow renewal because your original wedding was low-key, there’s no reason why you can’t splash out on the dress at your vow renewal.
What happens in a vow renewal ceremony?
The vows you say are obviously central to a vow renewal. For your original wedding, these may have been very standard and impersonal so now you can write your own to reflect where you are in your life. Or you may want to repeat your original vows.
Lots of couples like to include mention of important milestones in their lives together; their children, relocations, challenges overcome and special memories. It’s also perhaps a time to touch on what they have learned about each other and the development of their relationship.
You can pick the music, readings and poetry for your vow renewal. Whether you decide on the same ones from your original wedding, or new updated ones is up to you (we have plenty of suggestions).
Having the same music will no doubt bring back happy memories, while choosing a new soundtrack will create new ones – a mixture of original and new music could be a happy medium.
There are lots of ways to involve children in the ceremonies. They could walk with you down the aisle, make a reading or read a poem. And a hand-fasting ceremony is a lovely way to show that you are bound together as a family.
Do we exchange rings in a vow renewal?
The ring exchange is a big part of the wedding ceremony, so what happens at a vow renewal? One option is to re-dedicate your rings. Or you could add an inscription to your rings – maybe the date of the vow renewal or each other’s initials.
Another option is to add a handfasting ceremony or exchange eternity rings as a symbol of lasting affection. These are typically set with an unbroken circle of gems to symbolise long-lasting love.
- Keep your renewal of marriage vows simple and heartfelt
- You won’t usually have bridesmaids or groomsmen. You may wish to invite your original bridal party and mention them during the ceremony or afterwards in a toast
- If you write your own vows, this isn’t the time to draw attention to negativity in your past but to focus on your future together
- Walk towards one another from sides of the space rather than having a procession down a centre aisle
- Re-dedicate your rings (perhaps with a new engraving) or have your wedding rings blessed
- Do have a floral bouquet, but don’t toss it after the ceremony
- Don’t start a new wedding gift list! You won’t need to throw stag or hen parties!
- Recognise those who have helped you and been there for you during your marriage, perhaps with a toast afterwards
Our celebrants, Paul, Claire, Jonas and Ulf are all very experienced in working with couples for their vow renewal. Your celebrant can help you with all aspects of the ceremony, from suggesting suitable readings to summarising your story and helping you write your own vows.
Get started with planning your vow renewal now.