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  • Writer's pictureElaine Cormack

What Happens at a Vow Renewal Ceremony? Top tips for Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremonies

Updated: May 26


A vow renewal is a celebratory ceremony during which a married couple reaffirm their commitment to one another. They are especially popular on milestone anniversaries (10, 25, or 50 years), but there's no rule that says you must wait to have one. Whether you've been married for a year, a decade, half a century or longer, a vow renewal is a heartfelt way to celebrate your love and reaffirm the promises you made to each other when you first said, "I do."

If you are thinking about planning your own vow renewal ceremony, I can help you create a joyous celebration of your marriage.


Why would you renew your wedding vows? 

I guess the alternative question might be, ‘Why not’?

A vow renewal is a time to draw breath and acknowledge the deep sense of belonging, survival identity, and togetherness.

Our lives change. We change. The world changes. Time, life, love, and loss give us a perspective that we simply cannot know when we set off on our relationship adventure.

Vow renewal celebrations are the outward expression of our survival, gratitude, patience, our adventures, and growth as individuals, and as a couple.

The motivations behind such celebrations vary greatly, reflecting the unique desires of each couple. Some couples opt to mark the occasion surrounded by loved ones, while others seek an intimate moment to reaffirm their bond privately.

You might find yourself longing for a larger gathering if your original wedding was small or you eloped. Alternatively, you may be inspired to renew your vows after overcoming challenges such as illness or infidelity.

A desire to recapture the romance of your wedding day may prompt you to plan a surprise renewal ceremony for your partner.

Renewing your vows can also serve as a poignant farewell, a way of saying goodbye. For more information, have a look at my blog about  living funerals.


Ten top tips for vow renewals


1. Let Your Love Story Shine

Your celebrant will tell your story at the ceremony, but it’s up to you how much personal stuff you want to share with your guests.

Some couples renew their wedding vows because they had experienced health worries, and their vow renewal is simply a celebration of life itself. And so, their ceremonies are a benchmark, signifying hope and excitement for the future. For other couples a vow renewal ceremony is the perfect way to commemorate a big anniversary. It’s your story, and that’s important.


2. Find your Dream Destination

At home, in your garden, at a favourite place with lots of memories, on the beach, in a wood, at a party, on holiday, at your favourite hotel? A sunset sail, a dinner cruise, or a winery? The choice is yours.

You might choose the location for sentimental or practical reasons.

Work out what’s best for you. There are no rules when it comes to renewing your vows, so do things your way.



Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

3. Choose your special circle

Who would you like to be there with you to mark this occasion?

Perhaps you’d like the same guests who attended your wedding, or you may have different people in your life now who are important to you. Perhaps people who have been there for you both through the years.

It might be just the two of you, or the two of you and your children.



4. Who would you like to be involved in your vow renewal?

Is there someone who has been there for you both through the years who you would like to acknowledge and include? You could acknowledge them with a special reading.

Perhaps you have children or grandchildren and would like them to take part in some way.


5. Write your perfect vows

Do you want to renew your original vows, or, knowing what you know of one another now, do you want to write new ones?  It can be fun to write them together and then take a line each, adding some humorous touches. This is an opportunity for both of you to really think about how you feel about your relationship, especially if the last time you exchanged vows was a long time ago.

Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony
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6. Choose symbolic acts

Would you like to exchange rings again? Will you have new rings? Or perhaps you’d like to re-dedicate your original rings instead. I love the idea of engraving your new rings with a special saying or phrase, like the date of your vow renewal or a meaningful quotation.

Think about whether a handfasting could be part of your celebration. If you have children, they could do the binding, or you could have yours and your children’s hands bound together as a symbol of who you are as a family and all you have shared.

We can talk about other symbols such as lighting a unity candle, sand-blending, or sharing a quaich (a two-handled loving cup). I will be happy to help you choose something meaningful to you and to write the ceremony in a way that fits with your day.



7. Make it uniquely yours

Your vow renewal ceremony doesn’t need to be a rerun of your wedding; this is something entirely different, so make it unique, personal, and memorable.

Whatever you want, I can bring it alive for you by writing a ceremony that is entirely about you and your commitment to one another, acknowledging the hurdles, celebrating the triumphs!


Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

8. Add some flair with a theme

Choose a theme to add extra fun and meaning to your wedding vow renewal – it could be a colour, a film, a decade, a style, or it could be linked to the time of year. You could theme your celebration around a special anniversary traditional gift, like silver for 25. Encourage your guests to really get involved. Have fun with it!



9. Celebrate your wedding anniversary

Many couples combine their vow renewal ceremony with a significant wedding anniversary, such as 10, 25, or 50 years.

Traditionally, there are wedding gifts attributed to each anniversary, such as paper, china, crystal, silver, and gold. These could form part of the theme for your ceremony. It can be a wonderful way to honour your relationship, celebrating the happiness you’ve enjoyed and the challenges you’ve faced over the years.

10. Surprise your sweetheart: arrange a surprise vow renewal ceremony

If you want to thank your spouse for their love, support, dedication, and help through the years, why not plan a surprise vow renewal ceremony? Your celebrant will be able to help you make it a memorable event.

This can be a wonderful surprise, but isn’t for everyone, so be certain that it’s the right option for your loved one before you take the leap!


Read More

  • Poems and reading for a vow renewal ceremony

  • Why use a celebrant for a renewal of vows ceremony?




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