The When, Why, and How of Renewing Your Vows

 
by Jennifer Cram (25/11/2019)  |  Categories:  | Vow Renewals |
Joined hands wearing wedding rings and
                          the words We Still DoWe Still Do are three little words which, in many senses, are even more powerful that those two little words I Do.  In one of the shortest sentences possible, We Still Do sends a powerful message that the journey you set out on so hopefully on your wedding day, continues. That along the way you have become a team. And that your individual commitment, both to one another, and to your marriage, is still strong. Much to celebrate.

There is a growing trend for couples to renew (reaffirm) their wedding vows. More and more couples are doing it, and they aren't waiting for the traditional milestone Silver or Golden wedding anniversaries because there are many more good reasons to renew your vows.

Why Renew Your Vows?

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There are many reasons why you might choose to renew your vows
  • To celebrate the success of your marriage
    Celebrating the success (or longevity) of your marriage is the "traditional" reason for have a Renewal of Vows Ceremony. The traditional milestone years are 25 and 50 years of marriage, but couples are increasingly choosing to celebrate at 10, 15, or 20 years
  • To have a white wedding "do-over"
    Where you have married legally overseas or in a very small or basic ceremony without all the trimmings of the big white wedding, you might choose to have what I call a white wedding do-overin order to include family and friends who weren't at your legal marriage ceremony and have a bigger, more traditional white wedding with all the bells and whistles.
  • To have the wedding you wanted, rather than the one you actually had
    There are all sorts of reasons why the wedding you had may not have been the wedding you wanted
    • It was a different time, so your wedding reflected the customs and expectations of the time
    • Other people made all the decisions
    • You had a standard ceremony (whether religous or registry office) and now want to do your own thing
      Whatever that might be - making personal promises, including other people in the ceremony, and so on.
    • Yours is a mixed marriage (culturally or religiously) so you had to compromise by getting married in a Registry Office without any opportunity to include customs and traditions from both sides
      A Renewal of Vows ceremony will allow you to incorporate rituals, traditions, and customs from both sides.
    • Even though your ceremony was largely what you wanted, a significant person was missing and you want to include them
      One Renewal of Vows I officiated what arranged in order that the bride's father could walk her down the aisle, something he had been unable to do because he wasn't able to travel to Australia during the period in which she was required to marry as a condition of her visa.
  • As a gesture of healing and a celebration of survival
    Let's face it. Marriages hit rocky patches, for whatever reason. When you've worked together to get through a rocky patch, and come out the other side with a strong determination to remain married, formally reaffirming your vows can make that determination even stronger.
  • As a mechanism for embracing the changes you have gone through over the years
    People grow. As individuals, and as a couple, you are at a different stage of life now. Your priorities may have changed, and so your original vows may not reflect everything you are now committed to, or the goals you have for your marriage. Renewing your vows allows you to reaffirm your commitment to your marriage, but also make new vows that embrace the changes you've gone through and your current vision for your life together.
  • Just because
    What can be more romantic than two people, now mature in their love, shouting that out to the world by renewing their vows?

When to Renew Your Vows

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I'm seeing more and more discussion about when you can renew your vows. The answer is, whenever you want to. There are no rules. So let's look at some milestones
  • A significant anniversary
    The usual ones are 25 (Silver) and 50 (Gold). In addition, a few other significant anniversaries are represented by highly symbolic precious metals or gems. 30 (Pearl), 40 (Ruby), 45 (Sapphire), 55 (Turquoise), 60, (Diamond) 70 (Platinum)
  • Any anniversary
    Renewing vows on the 10th anniversary is becoming quite common. And there is absolutely no reason no to choose any wedding anniversary.
  • Monthiversary
    While friends and family would start to think you were a bit bonkers if you organised a formal party and ceremony every month on the same date as your wedding, I definitely encourage you reading them together every month, and quietly affirming that you still do. Adds a whole lot of romance to date night.

If you are planning a white wedding do-over, to celebrate with friends and family who were not present at your overseas or small, private marriage ceremony, any suitable date is perfectly fine. The sooner, the better so that your news isn't terribly old news.

How to Renew Your Vows

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There are numerous ways to renew your vows - entirely up to you which suits you best
  • Formal ceremony led by a professional celebrant
    Such a ceremony would be organised ahead of time, well prepared, and officiated on the day by a professional with experience of making relevant suggestions about what to include to reflect who you are, gathering information from you, and crafting and delivering the ceremony on the day.
  • Formal ceremony led by a friend
    A renewal of vows is not a legal ceremony. So legally, anyone can lead it. Of course, not everyone is capable of putting together a great ceremony, or of managing the multiple aspects of the ceremony, so I suggest you read my blog post Friend or Professional Celebrant? Everything you need to consider when deciding who will conduct your wedding ceremony before you commit to this type of ceremony. But there is a middle ground - talk to me about my Ceremony Ghostwriting and Coaching Service. I will write the ceremony in consultation with you and your friend, and coach your friend on how to deliver it on the day.
  • A semi-formal ceremony you lead yourselves
    Yes, totally doable! If you would like some help in crafting the ceremony, my DIY service (I write the ceremony for you, but don't attend on the day) may be just what you're looking for.
  • informal "spontaneous" renewal of vows without a ceremony as such
    Many couples have a party or barbeque on their anniversary, celebrating with family and friends. What better time to actually reaffirm your vows (or make new ones) in an informal by highly romantic moment?
  • A private ceremony with just the two of you and me, as your celebrant, present
  • A private moment in which you just re-read your vows to one another
    Something you can do regularly!
And PS, because you are already (successfully) married, you none of the pre-wedding superstitions apply!

Jenny xxx Let's talk soon about how you can
                    have the best ceremony ever