Wedding Vow Renewal

It is so sweet to celebrate a wedding but how much sweeter is the celebration of a lasting marriage? Whether you’ve just returned from eloping or you’re about to celebrate your 25th year of marriage, renewing your vows might be on the brain.

Some couples decide to renew their vows to finally have the big wedding celebration they couldn’t afford when they first got married. Maybe you recently went through a traumatic time together or you’ve made it to 50 years together and you want the world to know that you’d do it all over again if you could.

Marriage is a commitment that couples make to one another as they begin a life together. For many couples that is celebrating a number of years as man and wife the renewing of their marriage vows is something that commemorates their love and devotion as a couple.

Some couples seem to savor the thought of doing regular vow renewals while others like to do it once at the wedding only. 

Renewals can be informal affairs – the two of you with an officiant or they can be far more detailed with invitations, a wedding processional, gift registry, etc. Sometimes children host a renewal of vows for their parents. All in all, each renewal is as different as each couple.

While it may seem with you do everything by email or text message today printed invitations of some kind would still be in order. On the other hand, if you’re having a very casual vow renewal, then you can go ahead email your close family and friends if you really want to. I say take pride in your vow renewal and send out invitations that communicate the style of your event to guests. E-mail is not acceptable for communications that require conveying style, RSVP, or limiting who can come.

The first step towards maximizing your budget is deciding which aspects of the event matter to you most so you can allocate your dollars appropriately. If dancing the night away is critical to you, but you are less concerned about flowers, cut back on flowers and put more money toward entertainment.  If food is your top priority, trim your floral budget and put more toward catering. The farther out you can select a date, the better.  Ideally, you should set the date out at least a year. This will prevent you from paying surcharges for making reservations last minute. You may be able to negotiate discounts with venues and vendors since they won’t be as busy. Steer clear of spring and summer. The less people competing for venues and vendors, the greater your chances are to negotiate. Consider holding your vow renewal in the wedding off season from October to March. You should also try to also avoid the winter holiday season from late November through New Year’s.

You might choose to have an intimate reaffirmation, inviting just close family and friends who’ve known you through the years. Or it can be a blowout party for your extended family and circle of friends. The quickest, easiest way to control your budget is to limit the size of the event since the biggest costs are food and alcohol. First of all, you need not invite anyone with whom you haven’t spent time in the last five years.  You’re not obligated to invite everyone you work with. Single guests who aren’t in a serious relationship can be invited without a guest. 

Employ the skills of your family and friends as you plan your vow renewal to keep costs under control. Your neighbor may be willing to play chauffeur for the day in his classic car. Your close friend may be a great photographer and another may have a laptop full of music and a sound system. If you really need to save money on entertainment, you might consider renting speakers and a microphone to plug into a high-quality stereo so you can play your own playlists. 

If you’re flexible about the “where,” you can save a lot on your location. Your church may be the optional location, as the location fee should be minimal if any at all. Frequently, city-owned locations are available for a surprisingly low fee including gardens or historic buildings. The party can be any style, from a casual backyard barbeque to an intimate family dinner to a cocktail party or dinner as large and complex as a traditional wedding reception. There can be dancing, a cake — the works. You might bring along your original wedding album for guests to take a trip down memory lane as well as family photos through the years of your marriage. At some point during the celebration, the two of you can thank family members and special friends for what they’ve contributed to your marriage over the years.

You can wear any color and style of dress you like for your vow renewal. If you really want white, check the women’s evening wear section of a department store. You might even find that the perfect gown in the bridesmaids or mother of the bride section of the bridal store.  The most important thing is to find a dress that makes you feel and look amazing. Skip the veil, but wear a hat or flowers in your hair if you’d like.

If you’re the groom, you might wear your original tuxedo or suit updated with a new tie or vest.

A wedding party is unnecessary for a vow renewal, but you might choose to invite your original bridesmaids and groomsmen to stand up for you informally, for sentimental reasons. Many couples also involve their children and grandchildren, perhaps being escorted down the aisle by them.

You’ll exchange vows, recalling what you said when you were first married. This is an opportunity for both of you to really think about how you feel about your relationship, if the last time you exchanged vows was decades ago. Unfortunately, a vow renewal is not the time to upgrade your new kitchen or china collection. Skip the gifts and don’t hold a shower there’s no need. As the saying goes, the presence of your guests is their present.

There is something valuable to this tradition. There is something cementing about publicly committing to your loved one in front of your family and friends.

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