Vow Renewal

I often say that one of the best things about my job is hearing from all of you and having the opportunity to answer your questions. The other day, when lovely BG reader, Brittney, e-mailed me a number of questions about how to plan her vow renewal, I thought, “hmmm, why don’t I just speak with Brittney directly” (a whole lot quicker and a lot more personal than writing detailed answers!). Besides, I do love one-on-one conversations and believe me, I learn just as much from you! I’m always so impressed with how considerate you are of your guests’ needs and expectations.

Brittney has been married for 3 1/2 years and is planning the type of celebration that she and her husband never had when they wed. They are now the happy and proud parents of two adorable little boys and eager to recognize their five-year anniversary with a vow renewal before all their family and friends. (To learn more about Brittney’s story, check out her blog at myadventuresinmommyhood.blogspot.com.) Because their families are on the west coast and east coast she wanted to know if she could send save-the-dates now (yes) and follow up to see who might be able to attend. Having never planned a wedding before, Brittney is eager to get it right and wants to make sure her guests are fully informed. (I suggested she set up a website listing hotel, airline, itinerary, location attractions, etc.)

After speaking with Brittney for some time and discussing her ceremony, reception, processional and theme ideas, I realized that vow renewals are the perfect way to honor your commitment to one another. After all, as Brittney says, “I love my husband even more now.” So, think about having your own vow renewal one day. Many of you will no doubt have families of your own and you may be living in another town or city. But isn’t renewing your vows a fantastic way to celebrate your love and marriage? And, if anyone should be planning a vow renewal like Brittney, here are some pointers for you:

  1. Anyone can preside over a vow renewal. It’s not a legal ceremony so you don’t need a clergy member or judge to preside. If the clergy member who performed your wedding is available, ask him or her to preside. Other options: a close friend, relative or one of your children, or the best man or maid of honor from your wedding.
  2. The ceremony can be customized to your personal specifications and you can choose your readings and musical selections. You can write new vows on your current feelings and years together or simply restate your original wedding vows and exchange rings.
  3. You can wear your original wedding gown (kudos if it still fits!) and ask your husband to wear the same style tuxedo he wore on your wedding day or choose a floor-length evening gown in white, ivory, platinum or any pastel color, a cocktail dress or beautiful dinner suit. If the venue is more casual like a beach or backyard, then you can dress accordingly (sundress or long, flowing skirt and top for you and khaki or gray pants and a blazer for your husband). Don’t wear a gown with a train (unless it’s your original) and no veil (opt for a jeweled or flowered hair comb, fresh flowers or jeweled hair pins).
  4. Ask your children to be in the bridal party, do readings, write a letter or poem, sing or play an instrument and give them special gifts to commemorate the day.
  5. Do not register for gifts. A vow renewal is a time to gather family and friends to celebrate the ongoing love and commitment that you and your husband share. It’s not an occasion for gift giving, although some of your guests may opt to bring one.

Posted by Diane at 12:55 p.m.