What is a vow renewal? Why do people do vow renewals?
They're as the name says really... they're a great thing to do to reaffirm the commitments you and your spouse made on your wedding day. They're especially popular to do on milestone anniversaries (e.g. 10/20/50 years) but really you could do them whenever you like. If you've just come through a tough period in your marriage then a vow renewal can be a great way to recommit to your partner and signify (to each other and others) that you're committed no matter what.
Where can you do a vow renewal?
As a vow renewal doesn't have any legal basis, you're free to do it wherever you like! You don't need a specific venue or even a legal presence, so be creative! If you like the outdoors, take your nearest and dearest on a hike up a mountain and renew your vows on the top. Or do it on the beach, in the forest or even in your back garden.
Who can officiate at a vow renewal?
In short, anyone! There isn't any need to have a legal officiant or a religious representative, so you could get a friend to officiate (or do it so informally that you don't need anyone). If you're having a reasonably formal celebration, then it's a nice idea to have someone oversee proceedings and co-ordinate it all.
What to wear for a vow renewal?
There are many fewer traditions in place for vow renewals as they're a relatively new concept... as such, you can be as creative as you like with your attire. If it's your style and you're on the beach, then why not wear a boho-chic dress or go barefoot in a suit? Or if it's a more formal event, then use it as an opportunity to wear a glamourous gown or top hat and tails! Whatever you choose to wear, make sure it 'fits' you as a couple. You're free from the constraints of a more traditional wedding setting, so make the most of it!
How much does a vow renewal cost?
As you may have already realised, this is completely up to you... you could spend thousands on a grand soirée or have an intimate day with a few friends and family in an informal setting. It's nice to put on some food and drink, but even that's optional - you could do a bring-and-share if you prefer and if you'd like to keep costs down. If you're wanting to hire a venue then that can be expensive... although many places don't charge as much for a party (which is effectively what a vow renewal would be) as they do for a wedding!
How to plan a vow renewal?
The structure of a vow renewal ceremony is also entirely changeable to suit you... as a general guideline it follows roughly the same structure as a wedding celebration. Things usually start with an intro from the compère, perhaps followed by some readings or poems (a nice way to get children or nieces/nephews involved). That's then often followed by the renewal of your vows and then (entirely optionally) speeches. A vow renewal ceremony is a great opportunity to reflect on your shared history from a different perspective than when you were starting out on your marriage journey. If you're doing a meal then, just as with a wedding, you could intersperse speaking parts of the day with food, drinks or snacks.
However you choose to do your vow renewal ceremony, remember above all that it's a celebration of the huge privilege it's been to share life with your spouse and a statement of your commitment to each other going forward. Make it unique to you two, make it memorable, make it fun and above all celebrate your life together!