Renewing Your Wedding Vows

renewing vowsTo recapture your wedding day or celebrate a special anniversary by renewing your vows can be romantic, magical, exciting and fun to do. You can renew your vows whenever you want and there is no limit on how many times you do so. 

Being married for only one or twenty-five years, renewing your vows is a gesture of love and commitment to your partner.  The ‘Record of Ceremony’ document that you will be given afterwards can not be used as proof of identification and the ceremony itself is not legally binding.  Your original wedding certificate will not be altered to show the renewal of vows ceremony took place.

You may have been married abroad and want to celebrate with family and friends who were unable to be with you during your wedding day.  It may even be that you have been through a period where your relationship had suffered and you both now want to make a fresh start by renewing your vows to each other, or you could have eloped and had no chance of sharing your happy day with your loved ones.

It could be that you never had that dream wedding you always wanted for a number of reasons or you may just be a person who loved your wedding day so much that you want to relive it again and again. No matter what the reason is, there does not have to be one!

Register Office or a Church

The ceremony can be held at a number of locations and does not have to be in your place of residence.  You can use any Register Office or wedding venues that are licensed to hold civil marriages and can accommodate you.  Any public building such as the local village hall to a romantic castle can be used but are subject to a Celebrant being available and willing to hold the renewal of marriages vows.

Renewing your vows or having your rings blessed in church is not a marriage service, more of a religious ceremony and a ‘service of ‘blessing’.  You will not be asked to sign the wedding register; however, the service can be recorded in the church register.  Discuss with your vicar and you may find he is willing to hold the service in a way that is very similar to a wedding.

Ceremony at your Home

renew vows handsIf you want to hold your ceremony in your own home there will be an added charge of approximately £30 for the Celebrant to visit your home.  He/she will visit you before the day to discuss the location of where you want the service to be held. 

A table is a good idea for the placing of gifts as well as paperwork and a jug of water and if you are holding it outside, provide paperweights to stop any gusts of wind playing havoc with any papers.

The Celebrant will provide you with the maximum number of guests that can be accommodated to ensure a successful ceremony. The number will be dictated by the maximum that the inside room can hold as bad weather may mean the ceremony being held indoors. Other guests can of course arrive after the actual ceremony.

It is also a good idea to have any family pets removed while the ceremony is taking place to ensure they do not disturb any guests or the Celebrant.

You will need to double check your insurance policy covers third party liability for any of your guests while they are visiting your home.

If you have a garden pond, ensure this is made safe for young children or even guests who may get carried away while celebrating.

The Renewal of Marriage Vows can take from 15 to 30 minutes and depends on the amount of options chosen and any readings you have.

You may even want to conduct the ceremony yourselves where you can act independently with your special occasion being created how and where you want. A close friend or even your children can take the place of a celebrant if you go down this road. You can even make your own ‘wedding certificate’ for a keepsake.

Program of Elements

The standard elements of the ceremony can run along the lines of:

  • Welcome
  • Reading
  • Renewal of vows
  • Signing of the certificate
  • Closing words

Additional Elements can be added to make the occasion more special and totally unique to you. 

  • Acknowledgement of the achievements of your life together
  • Re-dedication of rings previously given to each other
  • Giving of new rings
  • Giving of gifts
  • Music
  • Previous wedding guests saying a few words
  • Further readings or speeches by guests
  • The Acknowledgement of your children

You marriage certificate will be required as proof before the ceremony of renewing your vows can be booked and the average price of the ceremony can be from £150 onwards.  Weekend fees may be slightly higher in some areas.

Renewing Vows - Outfits

renew vows beachYour renewal of vows can be a small or lavish day with full wedding attire; you could even wear your wedding dress again.

If it is something elegant and classy you are looking for, a two piece suit or dress and jacket can be finished off by a floppy hat, flowers in your hair or a fascinator. 

A small bunch of flowers or a small bible with a hanging ribbon can be carried. If you do not want to carry flowers, have a wrist corsage.

Men can wear one of their everyday suits or hire a tuxedo and although nothing is set in stone, smart clothing should at least be worn by everybody to celebrate the renewing of your vows.

After the Vow Renewal Ceremony

You may end your day with a quiet meal with a few members of your family or just the two of you.  A holiday can be taken as a second honeymoon or even your first if you did not have one before.

You may want to hold a full blown wedding reception with a sit down meal, a photographer, cake and speeches.  Your imagination and memory can be used to recreate your first wedding day. 

Have your wedding cake and food replicated with the same colour theme or you can change it completely.  Go for different colours, have a themed reception that relates to you both. 

If you are recreating your day there is no reason why you can not have the same bridesmaids and best man, repeat the original speeches and have the exact same top table if possible.

Have a video of your original wedding day playing in the background.  If it was some years ago, your guests will take delight in discussing how they used to look.

Put up photographs that have been taken during the course of your marriage of you both and any children you may have.
Your music can be identical to your first wedding, if you remember them that is! Or your choice could be music that has been important to you throughout your marriage.

Renewing Vows - Gifts

Giving of gifts when renewing your vows may be frowned upon by some.  It could be pointed out in any written invitations you may send out or by word of mouth that you do not wish to receive gifts. It would then be up to your guests to decide if they do wish to come with a small gift. It's not the presents from your family and friends you want, but their presence.

Only Those Married in Church Could Renew Vows

Up until recently it was only those couples that had been previously married in a church or religious ceremony that had the right to have their vows renewed.

Brought about by a national review through a Government White Paper on strengthening families, renewing vows can now be taken by any couple who are legally married, regardless of where they were originally wed.

Other Couples who have Renewed their Vows

Famous people such as David and Victoria Beckham celebrated their love for each other by renewing their vows last year.  Their day was not the high society lavish affair they had on their wedding day.  David stunned Victoria by organising the intimate ceremony himself at their home Beckingham Palace and only told her on the day itself.  The day was spent with just a few friends and family members.

After battling and winning against colon cancer, Sharon Osborne ‘remarried’ husband Ozzy after 20 years of marriage.  They held a lavish party on New Year’s Eve in the Beverly Hills Hotel with hundreds of guests attending.

The Duchess of Cornwall took the Prince of Wales back to where they spent their honeymoon and first wedding anniversary in Birkhall, Scotland recently and this would be the perfect venue for them if they decided to renew their wedding vows in later life.

In a nutshell the difference between a renewal and a first wedding is simply that the wedding is a legal ceremony where a register is signed and your marriage is recorded.  When you renew your vows the marriage is not recorded therefore it is a non-legal ceremony conducted to reaffirm commitments you made to each other at the beginning of your marriage.

Going back to a place where you spent happy memories with each other, where you were married or even had your honeymoon would be one of the ideal locations to hold your ceremony. To re-live your wedding day once again showing your love and life long commitment to each other in front of your family and friends can make for another one of those truly happy and unforgettable days in your life.