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  • Cas Holmes

How to Create an Unforgettable Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony and don't forget to choose your outfits!

Updated: Jan 28

Ian and Maureen Holt from Burgess Hill married 53 years ago and renewed their vows with Father Christmas at the new grotto at South Downs Heritage Centre, Hassocks. Photo: Archie Tipple
Ian and Maureen Holt from Burgess Hill married 53 years ago and renewed their vows with Father Christmas at the new grotto at South Downs Heritage Centre, Hassocks. Photo: Archie Tipple

Thinking about renewing your wedding vows and wondering how to create a truly memorable ceremony? Maybe you have seen the vow renewals on the Married at First Sight Channel 4 reality show and wondered if this could be something for you. ( I mean renewing your wedding vows, not being part of the show!)

Jamie Oliver and his wife Jules recently celebrated 23 years of marriage and had a vow renewal ceremony in the Maldives.

Jamie said: "It was my wife’s idea, and I thought I’d go along with it. Saying the vows a second time around actually meant something more – you’ve earned it rather than just saying it, and I loved it.  It was actually a very nice thing to do, very romantic, and I ended up enjoying it more than anyone else."  

Read on and discover how to create your own unforgettable wedding vow renewal ceremony that celebrates your love and commitment and how a celebrant can help you make your perfect day come true.

Why couples choose a renewal of wedding vows

Renewing vows has become an increasingly popular trend among couples. Some couples renew their vows to celebrate a milestone anniversary, such as 10, 20, 50 or 60 years of marriage. Sometimes this can be a surprise present to their spouse at a birthday, Christmas or on the actual anniversary itself! It's a way to honour the years they have spent together, the obstacles they have overcome, and the love that has grown stronger.

Others may choose to renew their vows as a way to reaffirm their commitment to each other after facing a challenging period in their relationship. It can be during a time when one or both of the couple are unwell, and they wish to take this opportunity to have a wedding vow renewal, which they have been thinking about for some time.

Renewing vows can also be a way to include loved ones who were not present at the original wedding but also to remember and commemorate those who were there initially but are no longer with us. Perhaps you had a small, intimate wedding, and now you want to celebrate with all your friends and family. Or you may want to involve your children or grandchildren in the ceremony, making it a truly special and inclusive event for everyone.

No matter the reason, renewing vows is a beautiful way to celebrate the love and commitment that has withstood the test of time. It allows couples to reflect on their journey together, express gratitude for one another, and look forward to the future with renewed hope and energy.

Planning a renewal of vows ceremony

Planning a vow renewal ceremony requires careful thought and consideration. While it may seem similar to planning a wedding, there are some key differences to keep in mind. First and foremost, you have the advantage of experience. You know each other better now than you did on your wedding day, and you have a deeper understanding of what truly matters to both of you.

Start by deciding on the scale of your vow renewal ceremony. This will affect your budget. Do you want a small, intimate gathering with just you two, your close family and friends, or are you envisioning a larger celebration?

Consider what type of wedding vow renewal dress or suits you will wear, and will you be expecting wedding vow renewal presents? Will you be having a honeymoon afterwards, and if so, will you be taking family members with you?!

Choosing a meaningful location and think about how this affects your choice of outfits

The location and venue you choose for your vow renewal ceremony can enhance the overall experience. While some couples opt for a destination vow renewal (check out wedding vow renewal packages online or at your local travel agent), others prefer to keep it local. Think about places that hold special meaning to both of you, such as the beach where you had your first date, the park where you got engaged, or even your own, a friend’s or family’s garden, the local hall or church. Alternatively, consider having your wedding vow renewal abroad. There are many bespoke wedding vow renewal packages available. The world is your oyster!

For example, an American couple decided to renew their wedding vows in their nursing home in America. Another British couple chose Father Christmas to help them renew their marriage vows at a garden centre!

Celebrants who officiate at wedding ceremonies and vow renewals are flexible as to where and when they can be with you and will give you tips about how to make your day perfect. They will also dress up as Father Christmas if you ask nicely!

Your location for the renewal of wedding vows will also determine the outfits for the renewal of wedding vows. Do you want to use the ones you used for your original wedding? Or don't they fit anymore? Or would you like to choose different outfits for the renewal of wedding vows tr fit in with your new location and any colour scheme?

Also, don’t forget to think about who will take your photographs. A friend, family member, or an experienced local wedding photographer whose work you have seen at a wedding fair near you.

Selecting the perfect date and time

When choosing a date and time for your vow renewal ceremony, consider the season, weather, and any significant dates that hold meaning for you as a couple. If you're renewing your vows to celebrate a milestone anniversary, it may be meaningful to have the ceremony on or around the same date as your original wedding. If you have a particular time of year that holds special significance for you, such as the season you first met or the month you got engaged, consider incorporating that into your decision.

Think about the time of day that will create the desired atmosphere for your ceremony. A sunrise or sunset ceremony at the beach or on a mountain can add a touch of magic and romance, while a midday ceremony allows for a more casual and relaxed vibe. Consider the lighting, temperature, accessibility, and any other factors that may impact the overall experience for you and your guests.

Once you have decided, you can start thinking about choosing, designing, and sending out your wedding vow renewal invitations. There are so many online options now that you will be able to find what is perfect for you both.

Writing heartfelt vows for the ceremony

One of the most meaningful aspects of a vow renewal ceremony is the opportunity to express your love and commitment to each other through heartfelt vows. Take the time to reflect on your journey together and think about what you want to say to your partner. Consider the challenges you have faced, the growth and fun you have shared, and the love that has kept you strong.

“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another.” — Emma, Jane Austen

When writing your vows, be sure to speak from the heart. Avoid generic or cliché phrases and instead focus on the unique aspects of your relationship. Share specific memories, inside jokes, or qualities you admire in your partner. Be honest, vulnerable, and sincere in your words. It’s possible that when you were first married, you did not have the opportunity to write your own vows. This will make this time round beautifully touching. Remember, the goal is to create a moment that is both heartfelt and memorable for both you and your partner.

Don’t forget to ask your celebrant for support with your vows and to practice them aloud before the big day, but not to your spouse. Your wedding vows need to be a surprise!

Incorporating special touches and personalisation

To make your vow renewal ceremony truly unforgettable, consider incorporating special touches and personalisation. This is your chance to showcase your unique love story and celebrate it in a way that reflects your personality as a couple.

One idea is to involve your children or grandchildren in the ceremony. They can play a role, such as walking you down the aisle, reading a poem or a passage from a favourite book, performing a song or dance, and/ or playing an instrument. This not only adds a personal touch but also creates lasting memories for your entire family. Will you be having your pets with you during the ceremony? Think about how they will be involved and where they will be, and who will look after them.

A good celebrant is worth her weight in gold according to Carolyn the Celebrant

Ask your celebrant about including additional elements such as a sand ceremony, where family members, including children, pour different coloured sand into a bowl, or a rose ceremony, where family members place rose stems together, a ring warming ceremony, where your close family and friends bless your rings or create a wedding cocktail between the two of you. The ideas are endless. You may also wish to include any cultural or family transitions into your day to reflect your background and shared personal history.

Another way to personalise your ceremony involves close friends and family members. Ask them to share their favourite memories of you as a couple or have them write letters or messages that can be read during the ceremony. They can then be collected in a special container you keep at home to look at in the future. This creates a sense of community and reinforces the importance of the relationships you have built over the years.

Consider incorporating elements from your original wedding into your vow renewal ceremony. This could be your wedding song, readings, the same colours or flowers, or even the same cake flavours. This not only adds a nostalgic touch but also serves as a reminder of the journey you have been on together. Don’t forget to ask your celebrant about having a wedding vow renewal certificate made especially for the day

Conclusion: Celebrating love and commitment through a renewal of vows ceremony

Renewing your vows is a beautiful way to celebrate the love and commitment that has endured over the years. It allows you to reflect on your journey together, express your gratitude for one another, and look forward to the future with renewed hope and joy.

By carefully planning your vow renewal ceremony, choosing a meaningful location, writing heartfelt vows, and incorporating special touches, you can create an unforgettable celebration that reflects your unique love story.

Whether you're celebrating a milestone anniversary or simply want to reaffirm your love for each other, a vow renewal ceremony is a powerful and meaningful way to commemorate your journey together. So, bring your family and friends together to share in wedding vow renewal special moment. 

For more information on my celebrant wedding and renewal of vow services please see here Country Weddings & Vow Renewals | Rites of Way

Don't hesitate to contact me on 07305002858 and to discuss your ideas and how I can help you make your dreams come true.

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Carolyn the Celebrant at Rites of Way