Vow renewal ceremonies and the process of recommitting yourself to your partner are trends that have been growing in popularity over the last several years. If you've been considering renewing your commitment to your spouse, we have some expert advice to help make the process easier.
To learn more, we turned to Cynthia Martyn, principal of wedding planning and design firm Cynthia Martyn Events Inc. She shares some of the dos and don'ts when it comes to renewing your vows, along with some tips about what to consider before you say "I do."
1. Think about why you want to renew your vows
Couples renew their wedding vows for many reasons. "Some of the reasons that I hear are to celebrate a milestone, whether it's 10, 20 or 50 years together," says Martyn. "A vow renewal can also be an affirmation following a rough patch. If your marriage has been on shaky ground, but you have come back together, a vow renewal is a wonderful way to demonstrate that recommitment to each other."
A vow renewal ceremony is a meaningful and symbolic event in a couple's relationship, not only because it's the perfect way to recommit to each other, but because it's also an opportunity to bring together all the friends and family who have stood by you throughout the years in a celebration of your love. "Life is busy, and occasions like these bring people together, something which is hard to do in our fast-paced lifestyles."
2. Consider costs and planning
What you spend on your ceremony depends entirely on what you want to include. A vow renewal ceremony can cost as little as $200 or upwards of $5,000, depending on the number of people involved and how detailed you would like your special day to be, says Martyn.
Luckily, they don't take as much time to plan as your initial wedding -- often only a few weeks are needed to plan even a large affair, she explains. Talk with your spouse about how much you want to spend and how big or small you want the event to be before beginning the planning process.
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3. Toss rules aside
One of the main things Martyn emphasizes is that you don't have to make your renewal ceremony a replica of your first time down the aisle. "Think of a vow renewal as a really great excuse to host a party with your closest family and friends," she says. There are no rules. You don't have to have another wedding dress or another wedding cake if you don't want to.
"Only include the elements that you love. Maybe that's really great food or an amazing band to entertain guests. Don't get caught up in what you 'think' a vow renewal is," Martyn advises. "Keep it simple and personal to your own style. That can be as small or elaborate as you want it to be."
4. Make it meaningful
The key to a meaningful vow renewal ceremony is to find a way to make it work for you and your relationship. "Vow renewals are about the couple recommitting to each other, and you don't necessarily need an audience for that," says Martyn. "I think what is really special for a lot of couples is to have a vow renewal on a very small basis. You don't have to have a whole large gathering of people like you did the first time."
Martyn also suggests investing in a symbolic reminder of the event, such as new, custom-designed rings or having your original wedding photo retouched and reframed and brought to the ceremony with you.
5. Think outside the box
For a more unique approach, Martyn suggests being spontaneous. "If you're travelling on vacation and you feel it's the perfect setting for a vow renewal, find someone who can perform your ceremony that day for an impromptu and touching highlight of your trip." She also points out that there is no need for an official ceremony at all. Instead, consider taking on a life challenge, such as skydiving or a climbing a mountain together, as a way of bonding and strengthening your connection without the formalities of a ceremony.
One of the best parts of renewing your vows is that the pressure is off this time around. You won't have all the anxiety and nervousness you experienced the first time you walked down the aisle, and this is the perfect opportunity to spend a day with the one you love and all the people you both care about.
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