Why renew your vows?
You may be approaching a significant milestone in your marriage – perhaps your silver (25 years) or even your golden (50 years) anniversary. Or, you may simply wish to mark your renewed commitment to your spouse regardless of how long you have been married. Some couples decide to renew their vows after one of them overcomes a serious illness or following difficult times in their relationship.
Where should you hold the ceremony?
This is not a second wedding, so be mindful of this when you pick a site. Consider selecting somewhere that holds sentimental value for you both and is accessible for guests. Some venues will provide a souvenir certificate for you as a record of the day. You may have to show your marriage certificate at some venues to confirm that you’re married.
What should the invitation say?
Invitations should state that the event is a ‘renewal of wedding vows’ or a ‘reaffirmation of wedding vows’ of the couple. You don’t need to put hosts’ names at the top. Alternatively, if your children are hosting the event, they’ll need to use wording along the lines of, ‘The children of Jane and John Smith request the honour of your presence at the renewal of vows ceremony of their parents.’
As a renewal of vows is a symbolic ceremony, rather than a legal one, anyone can officiate. You might want your children, a relative or friends to lead the ceremony – or you can opt for a member of the clergy if you are religious. Some people choose to use professional celebrants, who are trained to ensure you have the best possible day – they’ll run through your choices so that the day is tailored to your wishes.
How much will it cost?
This depends on where you hold your ceremony and whether you throw a celebration for your nearest and dearest. Some couples also have a second honeymoon. The over-50s spend roughly £1,000 renewing their vows in front of their loved ones. Unless you are prepared to host a huge party, keep the ceremony and reception reasonably intimate, inviting family and friends, rather than work colleagues.
Do you walk down the aisle?
You can walk down the aisle together or be escorted by your children or grandchildren. Some couples choose to walk towards one another from different sides of the room, rather than down a central aisle. Carry a bouquet – but keep rather than throw it once the service is over. Attendants, such as ushers and a maid of honour are not necessary.
What should you wear?
Be as glamorous, smart and elegant as you like. Women may choose to adorn their hair with flowers or a hat. Men might opt for a suit, perhaps with cufflinks or a watch from their spouse.
What happens during the ceremony?
You can write your own vows for the ceremony or choose to follow a script. Focus on the future and avoid references to negative events from the past. Also, you could have your wedding rings blessed, or re-dedicated, rather than buying new ones, although it might be an opportunity to upgrade your wedding band. Another option is to add an engraving to your wedding bands to signify the renewal of vows. If you wish, your original best man or maid of honour could officiate and children or grandchildren can perform readings during the ceremony. Pick music that you both love.
Should you have a reception?
Having a party after the ceremony comes down to personal choice. You might want to provide a cake, drinks, formal dinner and dancing, or have something more informal at home. The reception is a chance for you to toast each other – and your loved ones – and to reflect on happy times and on the positive influence your guests have had on you over the years. Take your wedding album along and some photographs of your life together so that people can look back on your time so far.
Do you ask for gifts?
Gifts – and gift lists – are not usual practice at wedding vow renewals but you could suggest that guests donate to a preferred charity if they insist on making a gesture.
Find out the secret to a lasting relationship.