Rules for Renewing Wedding Vows For 10th Anniversary

Weddings can be a highly emotional time for families, and when you mix all of that emotion with varying personalities, things can quickly get out of hand. Instead of stressing, let us help you diffuse the situation.

It’s your wedding. It’s your soon-to-be partner’s wedding. It’s not your family member’s big day. So what do you do?

10th Anniversary

Readers Ask

What are the rules when planning a 10th-anniversary vow renewal?

“My wife and I are soon approaching our 10 year anniversary. Our wedding was a spontaneous thing and was done at the Justice of the Peace with my Mother and Grandmother there as witnesses. Now after 7 years of marriage and 5 kids later we want the formality that our wedding didn’t have.

I found A LOT of good information concerning “Renewing of Vows” on this site and have brought to light a lot of the questions we both have.

We plan on a formal renewal. She will be wearing a white dinner dress and I will be wearing a tuxedo. I love the idea of having our oldest son, 11 when we have the ceremony, (in suit) escort my wife and our daughter, 14 when we have the ceremony, (summer dress) escort me to our Pastor.

He is where we both go into “Parts Unknown”.

Anniversary cake will be a must. She would like a tiered cake, but would this be appropriate considering this isn’t an actual wedding? What would be the guidelines here?

The reception we will want to keep simple. Finger foods with cake. Nothing fancy here. In fact, we will probably handle the cooking ourselves and have family help with setting it up. What we are having issues with is the activities. Neither of us has attended a renewal so our only draw on this subject is actual weddings. The 1st dance, the music, and the gifts. What functions would be in line with a renewal? We both have the understanding that this is a no-gift affair and want our guests to dress comfortably. The formality is strictly for us.

Would a professional photographer be appropriate? We had the idea of giving disposable cameras with paid for developing per each family. We expect to have around 100 people including children.

So many ideas…”

Our Answer

There are very few rules when it comes to vow renewals, besides the fact that you shouldn’t be treating it like a wedding itself.

Instead of a reception, think of this as a party. You’re creating a celebration of love for you and your wife, as well as family and friends to take part of. Nix the traditional wedding dances and make up some of your own. Maybe add a father/daughter and mother/son dance – but with your own kids instead.

When it comes to the food, do whatever you’d like! As long as it’s tasty, the guests will enjoy it. And as far as your cake goes, just because it has tiers doesn’t make it a wedding cake. Although, if you stick with a sheet design, there will be less comparison.

Do what you’d like and what feels right, personalize the day as much as you can. Use common sense and most of all enjoy yourself.

Other Expert Answers

The Spruce

“Even if you want a big and expensive celebration, there are still a few things you should avoid:

  • Don’t have attendants. If you have children, you can give them a special role in the ceremony, but there is no need to designate them as bridesmaids or groomsmen. You may wish to invite your original bridal party and recognize them during the ceremony.
  • Don’t register for gifts. This is not the time to upgrade the china. Wedding gifts are to help a newly-married couple set up their household together.
  • Don’t throw bachelor or bachelorette parties. This is an obvious one — you aren’t bachelors or bachelorettes any longer!” – The Spruce


“ …a vow renewal is not a second wedding. Instead of focusing on putting on a grand affair that’s meant to impress your guests, a vow renewal is meant to be a much more personal celebration that’s to be celebrated with friends and family.

Feel free to wear a white dress, but avoid wearing one that looks like a wedding dress. Remember, a vow renewal is not a second wedding. Instead, opt for an elegant gown or dress that’s fitting for the occasion.

If you choose to exchange your old wedding rings, a common practice is to get them engraved either with a special message or a meaningful quote.

A cake is still appropriate for a vow renewal, but a wedding-style cake should be avoided. Instead, opt for a smaller anniversary-style cake instead of a large multi-tiered masterpiece.” – FTD

Reader’s Digest

Do have a special dance together.

Do you and your spouse have a significant song that you love? Make it a point to do a special dance with each other. Use a song that reminds you of your first date, the day you first laid eyes on each other, or another defining moment. You don’t have to do anything complicated or take dance lessons; just do a slow dance, and feel each other’s love. Guests always enjoy watching this, and it looks lovely in photos and videos.

Do hire a photographer.

You’ve taken the time to implement your vow renewal ideas, so now it’s time to think about hiring the appropriate vendors to document this important day. Anna Guziak, a wedding and portrait photographer in Chicago, Illinois, has this to say about the value of hiring a professional photographer to capture your precious moments:

I think it’s a great idea to hire a photographer who can document your celebration, capture real emotions as they happen, and photograph your family and friends having fun and celebrating your love with you. It’s a great way to preserve the memories of this special day,” she says.
Wary of having people follow you around all day? “Don’t pay too much attention to the photographer,” Guziak says. “Enjoy the event and let him or her capture the day exactly the way it unfolds with many meaningful movements.” – Reader’s Digest

Other Helpful Resources