A successful marriage requires falling in love may times, always with the same person.
~ Mignon McLaughlin
A vow renewal is a way of saying, “Yes, I am still committed to you and want to continue living and loving as a married couple. It’s a way of saying to your spouse that after all these years – You’re still the one!
When & Why to Renew
Some couples may decide to renew to mark a milestone. I’ve done renewals for 5 years, 15, 20, 30 and 60. You’ll know when the time is right. Some may decide to renew after a particular difficult health episode or health scare as a way of saying, we’re come through this together and now let’s celebrate, not only the recovery but us!
Another reason to renew might be that you were disappointed in your wedding. Perhaps you were too stressed to enjoy the day or you were fulfilling your parents dreams and not yours. Another reason to renew might be that you have come back together as couple after an infidelity and want a fresh start. Or perhaps one spouse is in the military and is about to deploy; it’s a wonderful way to share a really special memory with your partner that he/she can carry with them to a far-away country.
There are many reasons to pledge your love again, and your renewal can be exactly what you want it to be. It can be as intimate as just the two of you (and a reason for a vacation) or you can have a huge celebration where you can invite your current friends, the ones you’ve made during your marriage vs. the ones you went to high school or college with. Look at all the celebrities who renew their vows; it often appears like the renewal is just a reason to throw a really big party. Nothing wrong with that.
Sometimes people renew as a way to set an example for their children and have the children included in the renewal ceremony.
So, when to hold the renewal? Your choice! Perhaps on the same day as you were originally married or perhaps on Valentine’s Day, the date of the proposal or the anniversary of when you met. Your day – your choice! There are no parents breathing down your neck!
Preparing for Your Vow Renewal
A few questions to ask yourselves: Why do we want to renew our vows? Are we both onboard? Do we want It to be intimate or to include guests, if guests how many? What is the budget? Will you have it home or away? If it’s just the two of you, you could plan to take a special vacation. Or will you include your kids, family and friends? What is budget; can you afford it, can your guests afford to travel? Will you have it catered, have a band, what will you wear? Will you have a wedding cake? Who will officiate (renewals are not legal so you’re not required to have a licensed officiant, but It’s good to have a professional to guide you through the structure, someone who thinks on their feet and is comfortable with public speaking. Will you write your own vows? Are there sentimental rituals you’d like to add to your ceremony? Take the time to reflect on what has changed since your wedding day, what you love the most about your spouse, what you have learned about yourself during your marriage, etc. All these are fun elements an officiant and an event planner (if you choose to go big) can assist you with.
Vow renewals are such a special way to open a new chapter, gain a new perspective, and at the same time settle into another decade with the man or woman whom you chose once and are choosing again.
As the author, John Updike said, “We are most alive when we’re in love.”
For more information you might want to check out this book: The Complete Guide to Vow Renewals by Breslow and Bain