When you’re planning to celebrate your 25th year of marriage, renewing your vows – also called a reaffirmation ceremony – might be in the plans. But when you’d like to say “I Still Do!” what kind of ceremony comes to mind? Are you more apt to have a small gathering of family and friends? Would you use a church or other building of faith? Do you picture yourself standing on the beach? Whether you’re looking at a large number of guests or an intimate ceremony to remind yourselves of what was promised all those years ago, here are tips for a 25th anniversary wedding renewal:
WHY RENEW YOUR VOWS
The 25th anniversary, also your silver wedding anniversary, is a milestone in your marriage. Commemorating the time in your lives together and looking to the future is important to many couples. Some also decide to renew their vows because they couldn’t afford a big wedding when they got married, didn’t have all their family or friends present at the original ceremony, or want to include new family members (grandchildren, perhaps), who weren’t around to witness the wedding.
WHO HOSTS THE RENEWAL?
Many couples celebrating a 25th anniversary and marriage renewal believe it is the job of their children to host the renewal. However, it has become much more traditional for the married couple to host their own ceremony, at a time and location of their choosing. This way they can also help plan the guest list, which will allow them to include any family and friends that may otherwise be accidentally excluded.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
A 25th anniversary renewal should celebrate the fact that a couple has actually spent 25 years together. Thus the location should have sentimental meaning to them, and truly be a destination of their choosing. Whether that’s a church, their home, a cruise ship, a beach, a public park, mountaintop or anywhere that brings up fond memories, the location should be the one detail not left to someone else’s imagination.
Keep in mind that a wedding vow renewal is not a legally binding ceremony like the wedding was. Anyone of the husband and wife’s choosing can ‘officiate’ the ceremony, including a child, close relative or friend. But if they feel more comfortable with a judge or clergyperson, that’s certainly an option too.
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Don’t enforce a dress code. There’s no rule that dictates the bride has to wear a dress and the groom has to wear a tux. In fact, many vow renewals are less formal occasions than the original wedding. Attendants are also unnecessary, but if any original bridesmaids or groomsmen are present at the renewal, it would be nice to ask them to stand up informally. Many couples with children choose their kids as the ‘wedding party’ and to walk them down the aisle. And last but not least, it is not customary to register or request gifts at a wedding renewal. At this point in the marriage, the presence of guests should be gift enough, though the couple may ask guests to donate to a charity of one’s choice if so desired.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the reaffirmation of wedding vows. Everyone has their own opinions and ways of doing things, but the 25th anniversary should, above all, celebrate the love between two people as they bridge the past with the future.
Do you have questions about planning a wedding renewal? Contact us to see how we can help!