A Renewal of Vows Ceremony is an opportunity for a couple to renew their vows that they made to each other when they first got married, either your original ones or an updated version. It isn’t meant to be a second wedding – more a way to celebrate a love that has deepened or matured between a couple.

Why should you renew your wedding vows?

There are lots of reasons why a couple might consider celebrating their marriage for a second time, but simply put, a vow renewal is a lovely way of celebrating your marriage all over again.

Significant milestones, such as a wedding anniversary are a great time for renewing vows. There are also many other personal reasons too. For example, you and your partner may have had children since your wedding and want to include them in your second ceremony.

For about a third of couples, renewing their vows coincides with a milestone anniversary, and about a quarter feel this is as an opportunity to have the wedding they always dreamed of but perhaps couldn’t afford the first time around.

There are so many reasons why a couple may want to renew their vows. Perhaps you’ve managed some milestone years together – could be five, ten, twenty or thirty years together – and feel you’ve achieved a lot together.  Together you may feel that it would be lovely to acknowledge that in company with your friends and relatives.

Perhaps your marriage has been under pressure lately because of bad news, illness or money struggles, but you’ve weathered the storms and come out the other side and want to celebrate with family and friends by reaffirming your love for each other.

The reasons why couples choose to renew their vows are many and varied but the one thing they have in common is that couples want to show the strength of their love and commitment to each other.

How soon can you renew your wedding vows?

A vow renewal can take place literally anytime after your actual wedding— but for most couples there is a reason such as a major anniversary or a major life event such as triumphing over adversity such as illness that prompts the decision to renew their vows.

How much does it cost to renew your wedding vows?

This depends on who will be leading the ceremony.  A fee for a celebrant will be around £200-£250 and will include working with you to write the script, write the vows and craft the service, provide certificates and a copy of all the content of the ceremony.  After that it will depend on venue and catering costs for example.  A ceremony done in the garden or your home where you have a bring and share meal will obviously be much less expensive than hiring a venue and paying for the food and drink and entertainment for all your guests.  The choice is yours, the ceremony can be tailored to most budgets.

What happens in a vow renewal ceremony?

There are no legalities involved in a vow renewal ceremony, so you can celebrate the occasion in any format you wish.  The ceremony can be religious, part-religious or non-religious. It can be held indoors or outdoors – there is no real limitation as long as you have permission from your venue for whatever you decide to do.

Many couples choose to hire a celebrant for their vow renewal ceremony, to make the occasion more formal. During the ceremony you could repeat the marriage vows you made to each other at your wedding, or you could opt to make new ones if you’re renewing vows many years later.

The ceremony itself can include music, readings, poetry or the exchange of gifts or flowers. Children of the couple are often involved in the ceremony too. A celebrant will be able to offer support and guidance on the drafting of vows and will provide examples.

There can be a re-dedication of rings. Some couples may get new wedding rings for the occasion. Ceremonies can also involve a symbolic ritual known as ring-warming or ring blessing, where the rings are passed around and blessed by family and friends.

You may want to walk down the aisle, where there are no rules as to who should walk you down the aisle.  You could have your children walk you down the aisle, or you could walk down the aisle together.

Where can you hold a vow renewal ceremony?

As the vow renewal ceremony does not involve a legal process you can celebrate the occasion wherever you want. The ceremony can be religious, part-religious or non-religious. It can be held indoors or outdoors – there is no real limitation as long as you have permission from your venue for whatever you decide to do.

Who should you invite to your vow renewal ceremony?

The bonus of a vow renewal ceremony is that there is less pressure than when you were married on who to invite and you’re free to invite who you wish. In fact, some people don’t invite anyone else – it’s just for themselves.  This isn’t a wedding, so you can invite whoever you want to share the occasion with you.

There are no rules or conventions about who should and should not be invited, it really does depend on the couple themselves. You can have a few guests no guests at all, it’s entirely up to you.  If you’ve had children since you married, the likelihood is that you’ll want them to be involved. 

What to wear for your vow renewal ceremony?

There is no set dress code for renewing vows  – the occasion is yours to personalise as you wish and this extends to what to wear. You could wear formal clothes, evening dresses and suits, or even what you wore to your wedding. It’s also acceptable to go casual too. Just make sure you mention your dress code expectations to your invited guests.  If your wedding was on a tight budget and you didn’t get to have the dress of your dreams, now in a vow renewal ceremony this could be the perfect chance to wear that wedding dress you’ve always dreamed of.  The choice is entirely yours.

Overall, renewing vows is a chance to create the celebration you and your partner have always desired, without unwanted pressure or the need to please anyone but yourselves.

A vow renewal ceremony lets you have the people you love and choose around you.  You are not restricted by legalities, traditions or rituals like you are with a wedding, so with renewing vows you can plan everything just the way you want it.

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Valerie Marshall, Independent Celebrant

Providing Wedding, Naming, Renewal of Vows and Funeral Ceremonies.