Declaring your devotion to your spouse on a recurring basis may be second nature, but officially renewing your wedding vows? Now, that’s memorable—and an invaluable way to enrich your marriage.
From Jay-Z and Beyoncé to David and Victoria Beckham, married couples are well aware that wedding vows renewal ceremonies can rekindle their romance and buttress their relationship. Indeed, such celebrations are escalating in popularity: In 2022, approximately 500 married couples gathered at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center for a community reaffirmation ceremony, while many couples agree the process is fundamental to a strong marriage.
And yet, why do couples elect to renew their wedding vows, when do you renew your vows—and what, exactly, does the time-honored affair entail? We’ll catch you up on all the must-know details below.
I Do, Anew: Why Couples Repledge Their Commitment
The reasons couples opt to renew their wedding vows are as personal and distinctive as a marriage.
That said, it often comes down to the following:
- To commemorate a landmark anniversary – Wood, crystal, silver, gold, diamond—every milestone in a marriage is cause for celebration. Oftentimes, couples elect to use their anniversary to meaningfully revisit—and revive—their allegiance to each other.
- To celebrate surmounting a challenge – Whether it’s overcoming an illness or enduring a difficult stretch in their relationship, countless couples choose to reaffirm their loyalty to each other after their marriage has been put to the test.
- To revel in the wedding they didn’t have – Perhaps the couple was married in a civil ceremony, or maybe they said “I do” during the pandemic, when inviting everyone on their initial guest list became improbable. Whatever the reason might be, a wedding vows renewal ceremony enables them to relish their ideal wedding.
- To rejoice with their children and new friends – Various couples choose to renew their vows decades after their wedding to include their progeny or friends they’ve made —and demonstrate the significance of their devotion.
How to Renew Wedding Vows: Everything You Need to Know
One of the many beauties of renewing wedding vows? You’re essentially liberated from the expectations typically set forth in traditional weddings—this extends to the setting and details of your wedding vow renewal ceremony.
Whether you choose to have an intimate vow renewal ceremony in a cherished venue, or meld it with an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime getaway, your celebration should reflect one thing: who you each are as individuals, and the uniqueness of your marriage. You may want to mirror this in the overall vibe of the vow renewal event, whether it’s the ultimate in elegance and extravagance, Sunday-afternoon casual, or somewhere in between laidback and formal.
Step 1: Decide Where to Hold Your Ceremony
With the exception of logistics such as time and resources, your ceremony location options are nearly boundless.
Here are several ideas to jumpstart your imagination:
- The site of your first date or where you met – Perhaps your first date was at a restaurant that’s maintained its charm in the years since you two graced one of its tables. Or maybe you and your S.O. spotted each other for the first time at a breathtaking beach. Returning to your “meet cute” moment will allow you to take a walk back in time—and in a blissful, poignant way.
- The location of your honeymoon – Chances are, memories of your honeymoon still linger—and what better way to reignite the exhilaration of that time than revisiting it?
- Your home – The effort inherent in building a home with another person often echoes the evolution of a marriage. Plus, few things offer greater ease than home—for you, your partner, and your guests. Backyard affairs are an alluring choice, as are candlelit dinners in your living room.
- A vacation destination you and your partner have been eyeing – Combining travel with your wedding vows renewal isn’t just fashionable—it also makes perfect sense. Some couples choose an “I do encore” at sea, in part because several cruise lines offer unbeatable wedding vow renewal packages. Others decide to unite their favorite pastimes—from hiking in the wilderness to scuba diving—with their reaffirmation party.
Step 2: Prepare Your Guest List
Your guest list is also entirely up to you. While Emily Post might argue that distant family members should be included at your wedding ceremony or reception, your wedding vows renewal ceremony is a whole different ball (game).
Many couples, however, elect to host more modest, intimate events. The New York Times, for example, reports that vows renewal ceremonies usually have 60 to 75 guests, as opposed to the roughly 200 attendees found at average weddings.
Others still choose to invite no one but themselves—and to use that time alone to fortify their bond in a notable manner.
And yet, you can make yours as inclusive as you please. Just be sure to send out your vow renewal invitations well in advance of the date—unless, say, it’s an impromptu celebration, which is just as joyous—and incorporate key details, such as the attire expected.
Step 3: Personalize the Details
Food and drinks are a social given, but the extent of this depends on that vibe we mentioned earlier—the overall atmosphere you’re after.
For some couples, this may mean a multi-course dinner complete with a full bar. Others may choose to serve wine and hors d’oeuvres, or champagne and cupcakes. You might find that serving plates and libations in line with your and your spouse’s heritages will render the evening all the more memorable.
Whatever you decide, aim to make it personal by:
- Creating a playlist – Build one yourself or request songs from your DJ or musician—fill it with tunes that have meaning in your relationship.
- Playing a video – Put one together that highlights the treasured moments in your marriage, from the birth of your children to climbing Machu Picchu.
- Augmenting your setting – If at all possible, jazz up the space with flowers and mementos that have personal resonance.
- Dancing to an old favorite – Dance to the same song you played for your first dance—and this time, add a few new moves you’ve learned over the years.
Wedding Vow Renewal: FAQs
By now, you’re nearly ready to plan like a pro. But first, consider these frequently asked questions regarding wedding vow renewal ceremonies. Then run—don’t walk—back down the aisle to renew your love with your partner in life by your side.
Will We Need an Officiant?
Another plus of renewing your marriage vows: There are no legalities, including the need to enlist an officiant. Rather, a number of couples choose to recruit a close friend or one—or all—of their children to say a few kind (or humorous) words about their marriage, from the trials they’ve endured to the goals they’ve nailed. Others still elect to ask an ordained minister.
What Should My Significant Other and I Wear?
Recycling the garments you wore at your wedding—whether it was a gown, a cocktail dress, a tux, or board shorts—offers a poignant touch to the heartfelt occasion.
And yet, once more, your attire is wholly your decision. In fact, some couples choose to renew their vows underwater in neoprene wetsuits complemented with veils and bowties—an option that’s available at the Hotel Montropole in Monte Carlo.
What Should Our Vows Contain?
Renewing wedding vows isn’t simply about reiterating the pledges you made to each other on your wedding day. Instead, it’s an excellent opportunity to reflect back upon—and pay tribute to—the substance you’ve undoubtedly cultivated in your marriage.
The vows you say to each other ought to convey this. You might choose to:
- Reminisce about moments both monumental and quotidian that have brought you happiness and buoyed your relationship.
- Decide to use this time to assert your appreciation and reaffirm your commitment.
- Recount your original vows and emphasize how you have both honored them.
Do We Need an Actual Vows Ceremony?
This, too, is in your hands. A wedding vow renewal ceremony enhances the experience by giving it an official feel, but it’s certainly not necessary—especially if you and your spouse have chosen to finally fulfill your wish to have an “adventure elopement” with no other soul in attendance.
Should We Register for Gifts?
In a word, no. Wedding gifts are intended to assist a couple with the start of their lives together; wedding vows renewal ceremonies are about celebrating the life they’ve crafted.
Indeed, the only piece of etiquette in a marriage vows renewal celebration is to stipulate a no-gifts policy. Should your guests (or grandmother) insist, ask them to donate to a charity that has some meaning to you and your spouse.
Should We Exchange Rings?
Exchanging new or updated rings is a profound, momentous gesture. Rings are emblematic of plenty: love, affection, devotion, and unity. They’re outward symbols of your abiding commitment to each other—and whether new or improved, they enhance the entire meaning behind a vows renewal ceremony. Yet, this too is at your discretion. If you’re planning on renewing your vows on your wedding anniversary, consider an updated ring with one of the wedding anniversary gemstones. If you don’t want a ring to reflect that, you could choose one of the traditional anniversary gifts by year.
12FIFTEEN: Showcasing Your Recommitment With Sparkle and Class
12FIFTEEN Diamonds understands the significance of exchanging rings—and the importance of merging excellence with unparalleled beauty and high ethical standards. To this end, we use lab-grown diamonds—the sustainable and principled solution to earth-mined diamonds.
Our expansive collection of eternity and anniversary rings is ideal for vows renewal ceremonies. With sustainable jewelry options ranging from 14k, 18k, and platinum to stackable or stand-alone bands, our handcrafted, lab created diamond rings epitomize marriage: They’re built to dazzle, delight, and last.
CNN. More than 500 couples got mock-married at Lincoln Center’s ‘Celebrate Love’ event. https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/16/us/lincoln-center-covid-rewedding-trnd/index.html
The New York Times. I Do, Part Two: Why Couples Decide to Renew Their Vows.