Renewing your wedding vows is a very special occasion, and is frequently done on a milestone anniversary, such as a 20th or 50th anniversary, or after the couple has experienced a “rough patch” and wants to reaffirm their commitment to one another. Whatever your reason for celebrating, if you’re unsure where to begin, check out our guide on how to renew your wedding vows:
1. Know When It’s Right
Renew when it seems right to you. If you had a small courthouse ceremony the first time, go for something big and bold this time. Perhaps you both came out the other side of a major crisis, such as one involving careers and illness, and want to celebrate your solidarity as a couple. There’s no wrong decision here, rather you’ll know when it’s the best time to renew!
2. Know What NOT to Do
As important as it is to know when it’s right, it’s also important to know what not to do when renewing vows. For example, it’s generally not appropriate to have a registry and a bridal shower, as you’ve already done those things. The same is true for a bachelorette party, though you can still opt to enjoy a night out with your girlfriends. It’s also a good idea for you and your husband to host the ceremony instead of your parents.
3. Decide Whether to “Go Big” Or Not
Whether you choose to have a big blowout or an intimate ceremony with close friends and family is entirely up to you. Make the decision with your spouse before you start planning.
4. Finalize a Budget
Once you’ve decided what type of ceremony you want, it’s time to finalize your budget. Food and alcohol are usually the biggest costs, so take that into consideration when picking venues and the like. A big backyard celebration is a way to cut costs and allows you to spend more on cocktails and food.
5. Create the Guest List
The guest list is directly related to your budget, something to keep in mind when deciding who to invite. Because this isn’t a legal ceremony, you don’t need witnesses, nor do you need a bridal party. You can still opt to have friends and family stand with you if you wish.
6. Pick a Venue
Planning a large celebration? Start making preparations six months to a year in advance, especially if many of your guests have to travel. Pick a venue large enough to accommodate everyone, or go for a destination wedding, such as one on a beach, if you’d rather make it a vow renewal/second honeymoon.
7. Don’t Forget the Details
Once the guest list and venue have been selected, it’s time to think about music, flowers, the cake, invitations, favors and more. Decide if you need someone to officiate, and whether you want a tiered cake. Some of the same favors or decorations you had at your first wedding are also nice touches.
8. Choose Attire
Some go for a traditional wedding dress, while others pick beautiful party dresses. The veil is optional as well; if your hubby is in the military, he can wear his uniform. You may also want to give each other gifts, such as rings and cufflinks.
Host your own party or have your children do so, and make it clear you’re having a vow renewal ceremony. Send invitations at least two months in advance, as this gives guests enough time to respond and make travel arrangements. Whoever is hosting the event, make this clear on the invite as well.
10. Write the Vows
Some couples say their original vows, while others prefer to write their own. Do whatever you want, and if writing your own think about why you love your spouse and your hopes for the future.
11. Have the Ceremony
This isn’t a regular ceremony, so you can do what you want! Walk down the aisle alone, walk with assorted family members, don’t walk…whatever you want. Exchange your actual wedding rings again, exchange new rings and have them engraved…again, it’s whatever you want!
12. Hold the Reception
Celebrate in a hall, home or other venue that fits the number of guests. Enjoy the first dance with your hubby to your favorite song, and skip the father-daughter dance. Also skip the cake cutting, garter toss and bouquet toss. Toasts are still very much appropriate, so have fun with those. Whatever else, just remember it’s your special day!