Tips For Renewing Your Vows


A vow renewal is a chance for a couple to renew the vows that they made to each other when they first got married. It can be a way to commemorate a love that has deepened or matured between the couple or can be used as a symbol of a rekindled marriage after a period of difficulty. A vow renewal ceremony is not meant to be a second wedding. Instead, it can be a more intimate affair with close friends and family. 

Why Should I Renew My Vows?

  • Your marriage was small when you first married because you didn’t have the money for a big wedding. Now that you’re older and have more money, you want to celebrate your union. 
  • Your marriage has been through a rough patch or a temporary separation. You’ve reconciled your differences and your relationship is stronger. You want to celebrate your restored love. 
  • You’re celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary, such as 20, 30, or 50 years of marriage. 
  • To mark overcoming a major obstacle together, such as a serious illness, time apart due to military leave, or the birth of a new child. Celebrate a major event. 

Vow Renewal Tips

A vow renewal ceremony can be as big or as small as you like. You could have a big celebration with a hundred guests, or have a small, intimate ceremony with your family. Whichever you choose, your ceremony is a personal experience and should be celebrated.

Follow these tips to plan your second special day!

Should I treat my vow renewal as a second wedding?

A vow renewal is not a second wedding, but you can use wedding tools like this free wedding budget calculator to help plan.

Instead of worrying about putting on a big event to impress guests, remember that a vow renewal is meant to be a more personal celebration with friends and family. 

How should a vow renewal be proposed?

A marriage proposal is a life-changing event, so there is a lot of pressure on delivering the perfect proposal.

Now that you and your spouse are already married, the pressure is off, so you can have more fun with a vow renewal proposal. You could make reservations at your favorite restaurant and ask the chef to write your proposal on the dessert. Put a note in their bag or pocket so they’re surprised when they find.

The options are endless, so why not get creative. 

Should the vow renewal dress be white?

If your wife wants to wear a white dress, they should feel free, but most people prefer not to wear something like looks like a wedding dress. A vow renewal is not a second wedding.

An elegant gown or dress is the most fitting for the occasion. 

Can we have bachelor or bachelorette parties?

Of course! A bachelor or bachelorette party for a vow renewal is a great way to catch up with friends you might have less time to see now. Plan a night out or a dinner with friends, or perhaps choose brunch or a spa day. 

Do we need a bouquet?

Just because a vow renewal isn’t a wedding, that doesn’t mean your wife can’t have a bouquet if they want one.

When choosing a bouquet for the renewal, instead of opting for an elaborate and expensive style, you could choose something simple but fun. Your wife could pair classic wedding flowers, like peonies and roses, with something fun like poppies, or wildflowers.

Whiecer you decide, feel free to throw out traditional styles and choose something that shows personality and style. 

Should we have a bridal party?

A vow renewal is more casual than a wedding, so you don’t need a wedding party.

As you’re already married, you might want to avoid putting a burden on your friends and family into making more plans, especially if they came to your actual wedding. 

Where should the vow renewal ceremony be held?

A vow renewal ceremony can be held anywhere you like, like your church, a banquet hall, at home, or in a family garden.

There are no rules here, so make the experience personal by choosing a venue that is meaningful to you and your wife. 

What happens in a vow renewal ceremony?

During a vow renewal ceremony, vows will be exchanged.

It can be an opportunity for a couple to reflect on their relationship and all the things they have accomplished together in their relationship so far. You could exchange the same vows you did at your wedding, or prepare new ones. Rings are also usually exchanged during the ceremony. 

Do we need to have a ceremony to renew our vows?

A vow renewal doesn’t have to include a ceremony and reception.

It can be a good opportunity to take a trip together instead. Is there somewhere that you and your spouse have always wanted to go to, but have never been able to go to? Your vow renewal could be a good chance to create memories together and tick somewhere off your travel wishlist. 

Should we have a reception?

A reception might be a must for you.

The reception can be the most fun part of a vow renewal and is where you can really celebrate. Your vow renewal reception could be something intimate like a dinner party at your home with some close friends and family, or something bigger like a party.

During your reception, you could do fun things like sharing your old wedding album with guests, or show a slideshow of photos of you and your spouse throughout the years. 

Who should we invite?

A vow renewal is usually meant to be a more casual affair, but you should feel free to invite anyone that you want.

If you want something initiate, keep your guest list to a minimum to avoid the ceremony getting out of hand and becoming a bigger affair than you want. Keep the event low-key and intimate.

Your time should be spent enjoying the company of your family and your closest friends, instead of worrying about planning a huge party.

Should we exchange our old wedding rings or new ones?

You could choose either option for a vow renewal. If you want to exchange your old wedding rings, a lot of people like to have them engraved with a message or a meaningful quote to mark the occasion. 

Who can officiate the vow renewal?

A vow renewal has no legal implications, so anyone can officiate your ceremony.

You could ask a minister, a friend, a relative, or one of your children to be your officiant. You could also choose to hire a vow renewal officiant or celebrant to lead your ceremony. It’s up to you. 

Can we have a cake?

Yes, you can! A cake is entirely appropriate for a vow renewal, although you might not want a wedding-style cake. A small anniversary style cake might be more appropriate than a multi-tiered wedding cake. 

Who should escort the bride down the aisle?

Instead of having one of your be escorted down the aisle, it’s more common in a vow renewal for the couple to walk in from opposite sides of the room and meet in the middle.

You could also walk in together, or walk down the aisle with your children. 

Should we have traditional dances for the reception? 

At most weddings, the couple will have a first dance and may choose to have other dances like a father-daughter dance. As you’ve already been married for a while, these dances might seem out of place at your vow renewal reception.

Instead, perhaps you could invite all the married couples to join you on the dancefloor for a dance. 

Should we have a gift registry?

A vow renewal is not usually an event where gifts are given.

Gifts are given at a wedding as they are meant to help the couple to transition into a new life together. At a vow renewal, the couple already has a well-established life together, so guests aren’t usually expected to bring gifts.

Don’t have a gift registry and instead concentrate on having a fun event, celebrating with your loved ones. If someone does choose to bring a gift, that’s just a bonus.

Dos And Don’ts

  • Do format your vow renewal invitation like a wedding invitation.
  • Don’t list a host’s name on the invitation.
  • Do celebrate simply, with close friends and family. 
  • Don’t go too extravagant and plan like you’re getting married for the first time. 
  • Do have your wife wear an elegant gown in any color she likes, even in white. 
  • Don’t wear a wedding dress or a very formal suit. 
  • Do invite your original wedding party to stand up for you in an informal way.
  • Don’t have a formal wedding party. 
  • Do choose a small bouquet that contains some of your favorite flowers. 
  • Don’t spend a lot of money on the bouquet. 
  • Do invite close friends and immediate family members.
  • Don’t invite distant friends or family that you haven’t spoken to for a long time. 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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