Wedding Vow Renewals: When, Why, & How

Renewing wedding vows can be a meaningful, touching, and revivifying ceremony for you and your children, family, and friends. As a married couple, it is a time to pause and reflect on where you have been and where you are going.

It is also a wonderful example to set for your children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a more beautiful scene than children watching their parents joining hands and hearts as they affirm the magnitude and strength of their enduring love? What greater life/love lesson?

But when it comes to planning a vow renewal, the process can get a bit stressful. Instead of letting the worries get the best of you, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions concerning this kind of celebration below. From when to what music, we’ve got you covered.

When Should We Have A Vow Renewal?

Significant anniversaries are especially appropriate times for renewing your commitment and love. Some couples choose to renew their vows after a particularly difficult crisis in their lives, say, for example, the overcoming of a serious illness or a period of estrangement. They want to make it new again!

Others simply want to reaffirm the tremendous love that has matured and deepened with the passing of years. But the vow renewal is not wedding or wedding do-over so don’t de-value the day you and your spouse were first joined in marriage. That was a special day no matter where or how it took place.

A reaffirmation can take place literally anytime after the actual wedding — the next day or 30 years later. If you have a special anniversary (think 10+ years) that’s always a great round number for a vow renewal.

What is the Actual Vow Renewal Process?

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies can be as creative and personal as you want them to be. Your ceremony should be less formal than a wedding – more casual and fun. It can completely reflect the two of you.

Where to Renew Your Vows

The renewal of vows ceremony can be conducted in churches, chapels, temples, banquet facilities, on yachts, out of doors or in the privacy of a couple’s home – with a room full of guests or in an intimate setting with just the couple. Consider reaffirming your vows in some far off, exotic destination! The couples themselves host the celebration because it is so very personal. It is a decision that only you as a couple can make. There is no shotgun renewal of vows!

These Vows Are Your Own

At its most basic, you are exchanging your vows again. You will likely write them on your own this time and you will have some emotional stories to tell about your life together. This is the most important part of the ceremony. Like a wedding, you will exchange rings and if you have children, involvement as a family is a possibility. Children can do readings, and you can have music playing, just as you would at a wedding ceremony.

Reasons for Renewal

The three main reasons for renewing vows that we have heard of are celebrating an anniversary or formalizing an elopement, with less often getting together after a long break. Some couples decide to renew their vows to finally have the big wedding celebration they didn’t have the first time around. Ultimate if and when you want to reaffirm your commitment to each other is a personal decision and can be done whenever you feel like doing it.

Who Renews the Vows?

Vow renewals are usually conducted by clergy since they are generally more spiritual and not official in nature. However, if you have a warm-hearted friend who is a judge or a ship’s captain—that could work nicely as well. Unlike weddings, no legal paperwork is needed for a renewal of vows.

Who Hosts the Event?

This one is really between the kids and parents. Sometimes kids will host a vow renewal for their parents, other times parents will do a destination vow renewal and invite family and friends. You can renew your vows in a house of worship, at home, on the beach, in a pretty garden or park, on a mountaintop, or on a cruise — basically, anywhere that has sentimental meaning for both of you.

Do We Need A Reception?

This is the fun part of a vow renewal event. The party can be any style, from a casual backyard barbeque to an intimate family dinner to a cocktail party or dinner as large and complex as a traditional wedding reception. There can be dancing, a cake — the works.

What Should We Wear?

This is not a wedding. We get asked all of the time by readers and we’re sorry to say that you are not a bride so you won’t get to wear a wedding dress. In saying that, a vow renewal ceremony can be as formal or informal as you want, so you have lots of options.

Select something that matches the type of event you’re hosting. Also, don’t forget to choose something appropriate for your age, venue and the fact that you are already a wife. Remember, renewing your vows should be all about the ceremony, vows and the feelings between you and your husband and is not a wedding do-over. Make that your focus.

Our Wearable Favorites

We have covered our favorite vow renewal dresses in many posts on this site and the more time we spent checking our Pinterest and other websites the more we find amazing bridal collections and some amazing dresses for vow renewals:

Wedding Dress for Vow Renewal For Our 30th Anniversary | Can I Wear a Real Wedding Dress for Vow Renewal | Go Sexy With A Short White Cocktail Dress for Your Vow Renewal Dress | Colorful, Bright & Fun Dresses for Your Vow Renewal | Fun Vow Renewal Dresses from Ann Taylor | More Dresses for Vow Renewals

What About the Invitations?

Vow renewal ceremonies range from elaborate and formal to casual and informal. As a result, there are plenty of options when it comes to vow renewal invitations.

A common question involving vow renewal invitations involves who they should be sent to. Since vow renewal ceremonies are typically much smaller gatherings, invitations are normally sent only to close friends and family members of the couple. Individual invitations do not need to be sent to everyone in attendance, as a single invitation would be sufficient when including all the members of a church or civic group.

Furthermore, how to word vow renewal invitations is often one of the most stressful parts of planning the vow renewal. It doesn’t have to be, however! Your invites are communicating the necessary info to your friends and loved ones. The invitation must include the names of the hosts at the top of the invite, and feature the name of the husband and wife, names of the hosts, ceremony date, day of week, time and location. The wording on your invitation should correspond with the formality and style of your vow renewal ceremony. From formal to casual, the wording should reflect the formality and tone you’d like to set.

Example Vow Renewal Invitation

The pleasure of your company is requested at the vow renewal ceremony of John and Debbie Smith Highgrove Christian Church Cincinnati, Ohio on Friday the fourth of April at 7:00 pm Reception immediately following Casual attire-gifts not required RSVP by 26 February 2014

For more examples on vow renewal, visit our top picks:

See More Vow Renewal Examples | Online Wedding Invitations | Wording Vow Renewal Invitations | Save The Date Cards for Vow Renewal | How To Word A Vow Renewal Program | Vow Renewals: A Sample Ceremony Script | Ideas for Vow Renewal Invitations | Top Wedding Invitations Online | Ultimate Guide to Wedding Invitations

What Music Should We Use?

Walk down the aisle to classical music and walk out to your wedding song.

Special songs can make your vow renewal ceremony all the more special and deliver a subtle message to your guests at the same time. Reflect on your married time together or look back to your original wedding day for song ideas and inspiration for your vow renewal ceremony. Here are some of Team Wedding’s best anniversary songs that would make great vow renewal songs for a ceremony.

Vow Renewal Songs Articles to Check Out

25th Anniversary Vow Renewal Songs | The Ultimate List of Songs for Vow Renewal | Favorite Walk Down The Aisle Songs | Wedding Reception Music | Wedding Ceremony Music | Popular Wedding Songs | Wedding Music Posts | Top Music Vendors| Top Music Sites | Plan Your Ceremony Music.

What Should the Vows Be in a Vow Renewal?

Renewing your wedding vows is a joyous, wonderful event. After all, you’ve made it through 5, 10, 25, 30 or more years together, which is certainly worth observing! Sure, those years probably included some rough patches, however, your overcame them and are still very much in love. Rededicating your lives to one another with a vow renewal is a beautiful way to celebrate this!

So, what the heck do you want to say to each other at your vow renewal ceremony? Your relationship is likely quite different now than it was on your wedding day, and while there’s nothing wrong with saying the same vows you did the first time, you might want to consider something a bit more personal. Remember, this ceremony doesn’t really feature rules, so use the renewal as a chance to tell your spouse how much he or she means to you in front of everyone you both love.

Examples And Sample Vows For A Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

  • “My beloved __________________, you are my biggest supporter, my confidant and my best friend. ___ years ago we made a pledge before everyone we love to stay committed to one another and to love one another for the rest of our lives. Today my heart rejoices and sings as we celebrate that promise, which has only gotten stronger as we’ve made our way down’s life’s crazy highway together. I am so grateful I met you. You are still the best part of my day. You still have the power to surprise me with how much you care. You still make me laugh until my sides hurt. My biggest desire is that we will still be celebrating these things in another 10 years. My life is complete and secure because of you, through good times and the bad. Thank you for being the one. I vow to always be by your side as a devoted husband/wife and will continue to give you the very best of me. I love you so much…and I always will.”
  • “My special __________________, it was ___ years ago that we committed to love to one another. We have been through so much together – laughter and tears, joy and sorrow – and through all of it, I can honestly say, things have only gotten better. Today, I want to pledge my undying love to you again. I promise to be there for you always, and I will forever think you are perfect–you are my perfect person! I am here as your supporter, your confidant, and your best friend. I love you and I couldn’t be happier that we get to continue this journey together.”
  • “__________________, in the past I have taken you for granted, and I have done things I am not proud of. And I’ve been wrong–a lot. Yet through it all, I have loved you so much. I am here today to renew my commitment to you, our special love, and our journey together. I vow that you will always be my number one priority from this day forward. I promise to be there for you no matter what. I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy. This is my promise and my vow, my darling sweetheart.”

A couple can end their vows with a poem:

  • “The world, for me, and all the world can hold is circled in your arms, for me, there lies within the lights and shadows of your eyes the only beauty that is never old.”

A minister may state the following “Declaration of Intent” before the couple takes the standard wedding vows:

  • “When you first joined hands and hearts 40 years ago, you did not know where life would take you. You promised to love, honor and cherish one another through all things. Life has surely brought you both wonderful blessings and difficult tribulations. Therefore, you have fulfilled your promise. And God is smiling! So, as you come here today to reaffirm your wedding vows and as you reflect back over all the years as husband and wife, do you now reaffirm the vows you took 40 years ago? If so, repeat after me.

Tips For Writing Your Own Vows

Try the following to help you with the writing of your personalized wedding vows:

  • Go through a book of wedding vows and jot down all the words and phrases you like on a piece of paper.
  • Answer these questions:
    • How do I love my wife/husband? How has our love grown over the years?
    • How has my husband/wife made me a better person?
    • For what am I most grateful to my wife/husband? What is my pledge to him/her for the future
  • Quote famous authors of love poems or books

Equipped with the research and their answers, a couple is often better able to express what is in their heart. Remember that love brings even the most reticent tongue to verse! Some of the most beautiful vows I have heard come from those who have never written before. Also, in answering these questions, you are creating a precious document. How often do we take the time to complete such an exercise? You will cherish these words for the rest of your lives—and perhaps can even pass it along to your children one day.

Here are some more examples of sample vows you can use:

  • “Once before, I have stood with you before family and friends; once again, I take your hand as my partner. (Name), I take you this day, and for all days, as my (husband/wife).”
  • “I am proud to marry you on this day. I promise to wipe away your tears with my laughter and your pain with my caring and compassion. We will wipe clean the old canvases of our lives and let God, with His amazing artistic talent, fill them with new colors, harmony, and beauty. I give myself to you completely, and I promise to love you always, from this day forth.”
  • “I believe in this marriage more strongly than ever. (Name), it is with joy born of experience and trust that I commit myself once again to be your (husband/wife).”
  • “I, (name), give to you, (name), a new promise, and yet not so new; a new (husband/wife), and yet not so new; and a new affirmation of love from the heart that has loved you for (__) years and will love you for as many more as God allows.”
  • Today, after (number ) years of marriage, I ask you to continue to take me as your husband (wife). You have stood by my side through sorrow and joy, triumph and defeat, sickness and health, and for this I am so grateful. I thank God for the gift of you. I thank you. My promise to you is perhaps best spoken through the words of Wilferd Arlan Peterson: “Across the years I’ll walk with you, in a deep green forest, on shores of sand, and when our time on earth is through in heaven too, you will have my hand.” I love you, (name).
  • (Name), I have always loved you and will always love you. You are part of me, the best part of me. With you by my side, I have grown so much. We have evolved and transformed together. We have endured together, laughed and cried together. We raised a beautiful family together. Beloved, please take my hand. With you as my partner, the best is yet to be. For this I pray.
  • (Name), you are my heart, my best friend, my life. Today before family and friends, I renew my commitment to you. I promise to love and cherish you, respect you and grow with you for all the days of our lives. This is my solemn vow.
  • The word renaissance means rebirth; today we celebrate the rebirth of our commitment before loving family and friends. (Wife’s name), with full confidence in the solid anchor of our love, I take you, once again, as my husband. (Husband’s name), with full confidence in the solid anchor of our love, I take you, once again, as my wife.
  • Emily Bronte once wrote, “…he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…” This is how I feel. I am blessed to be your wife. It is an honor to call you my husband. Today before our children (and grandchildren), I proudly renew my marriage vow to you. My love for you has deepened beyond anything I could have imagined. May it continue to shine as a beacon light in this world and the next.
  • (Name), the best thing I ever did was to marry you. I didn’t always deserve you, but I always loved you. My vow to you, before God, is to do better, be better. I want to be the best husband (wife) I can be for you, for me, for us. I will do my best. This is my promise to you for the rest of my life.
  • Perhaps the only thing truer than one’s first love is to recommit to that love before family and friends. (Name), you were and are my love for life; I take you, once again, as my (husband/wife)

If There Are New Rings To Exchange

Many couples want to keep the rings they exchanged when they married. But, for those who would like to exchange new rings here are some vows you might say to one another while you exchange the new rings:

  • “Do you, (Husband) continue to take (Wife) as your loving wife? Will you continue to love her, honor her, comfort and treasure her, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live? Do you, (Wife) continue to take (Husband) as your loving husband? Will you continue to love him, honor him, comfort and treasure him, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?”

As the husband and wife exchange new rings:

  • “Husband/Wife, I give you this ring as a token of our abiding love and recommitment to one another.”
  • “We have lived and loved as we promised long ago in the presence of God, and our past and future are a circle unbroken, much like these rings, with which we renew our pledge to one another of never-ending devotion.”

Vows for Reaffirming with your original wedding rings:

  • “Husband and wife, your original wedding rings are outward symbols of your commitment to each other. The never-ending circle of your rings symbolizes your never-ending love for each other.”

Husband/Wife hold hands, touch the other’s ring and say:

  • “From this day forward, I reaffirm my love for you, and this ring is a symbol of that love.”

What Steps Can I Follow While Planning?

Start Somewhere: Choose your must-have themes early because with a vow renewal you have lots of choices. Are you going to have something religious, in a church or on a beach? Do you both love nature, maybe a garden vow renewal ceremony makes sense.

Setting the Date: Just like a wedding, you’re probably inviting friends and family, so you’ll want to give them some notice. Choose your date for the vow renewal ceremony. Many couples choose their anniversary or the date of their engagement, which is meaningful.

Find an officiant (or not): Unlike your wedding, there’s no need for legal paperwork so you don’t need an official clergy-person. The ceremony doesn’t technically require anything so you don’t need an officiant at all. Despite that, we think it is worth having somebody so maybe consider a friend or family member officiate. Another option is to hire an officiant the same way you would with a regular wedding.

Writing Vows? Discuss It: Talk to each other about what you are going to do with the vows. Will you read your original vows or will you write your own personal vows. Check out how to Get Started Writing Your Vows.

Pick A Place: Although places of worship are very popular choices for vow renewal ceremonies, don’t feel limited to a church or similar setting. You can have your renewal in a beautiful garden, with a marquee for food and drinks, or on a beach, or even on a cruise.

Rings and Dress Codes: This one is easy, you can do whatever you want. The vow renewal ceremony is your day so you can do what is comfortable and matches the formality of the vow renewal day. Consider purchasing new rings to wear along with or in place of your original weddings bands. For women, this could mean a diamond eternity ring, while men might prefer a thicker or thinner band in an alternate metal.

Who’s Invited: Reaffirmation ceremonies should be small. Keep it to less than 50 people, with close friends and family.

Wedding-Like Stuff: Cake, Colors, Flowers, and Favors. Yes, it is like a wedding. Lots of details and lots of things to organize.

Additional Resources for Planning Anniversary Vow Renewal

Rules for Renewing Wedding Vows For 10th Anniversary | Having A Wedding Anniversary? Renew Your Vows & Say “I Do” Again | 11 25th Anniversary Vow Renewal Ideas. Go On, You Both Deserve It | 3 Easy Steps For Personalizing Your Wedding Ceremony | Is It Your 25th Wedding Anniversary? Here Are Some Tips for Renewing Your Vows | The Ultimate Tips List for a 25th Anniversary Wedding Renewal