Little girls grow up dreaming about their perfect wedding. Teens and young adult read bridal magazines and daydream of the day when they will walk down the aisle to marry the man of their dreams. Women of all ages enjoy the romance and beauty of a wedding. Sometimes, however, that storybook, fairy tale wedding didn’t happen. Some couples wed in a civil ceremony or something didn’t go according to plan. Maybe the photographer made a major mistake, one of the groomsmen didn’t show up, a bridesmaid threw a jealous fit or a family member made a scene. Sometimes couples getting married can’t afford the wedding they would like and sometimes couples feel closer after a few years of marriage.
Renewing wedding vows has become an important part of our culture. And there many diverse reasons why couples may choose to renew their vows.
One reason is that the first wedding, as indicated, wasn’t perfect so they want to recreate the dream wedding that became a nightmare.
Another reason is that couples didn’t have a formal wedding the first time around. Or, for some, faith may be an issue. Some Catholic couples who opted for a wedding outside their faith find that in a few years that they wish to have a Church blessed ceremony. Or, some Catholics may have been previously married or have a spouse who was divorced and can’t have a true church wedding until an annulment of the earlier vows has been approved.
Some couples choose an anniversary or a milestone to renew their wedding vows. Whether it’s the first, fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth or Golden 50th Anniversary, couples often decide to renew their vows and celebrate their love on their anniversary. Others may choose to renew their vows after the birth or a child or after triumphing over one of life’s many obstacles. Some survivors – whether from a tragic accident or a disease like cancer – want to renew their vows to celebrate their second chance at life. Military couples may want to renew vows after one of the spouses returns home from a long deployment or renew vows to have the kind of wedding they wanted but didn’t have the first time.
The renewal of wedding vows sometimes happens so that a family member absent at the first ceremony can be on hand as well.
Once a couple has decided that they want to renew their wedding vows, the choices of how to do this can be almost endless. A renewal of vows can be as elaborate as any wedding. Brides can opt for a full white gown and veil, grooms for tuxedos, and a church ceremony with attendants and reception following. By the same token, receptions can be just as elaborate as the couple wants with a full multi-tiered cake, a formal dinner, a live band, dancing, and even a honeymoon.
Or the renewal of vows can be a more simple ceremony, a quiet exchange of vows before close family and friends. A simple ceremony can be held at home, in a beautiful park, or even in a church. Many couples choose a beach as the perfect romantic locations, others choose a wedding chapel or other special location.
Some couples renew their vows alone with no witnesses; others include their children and immediate family members.
Although many couples do not get additional or different wedding rings, this can be done especially if simple rings were exchanged the first time. Or, the groom can give his renewed bride an eternity ring or other special ring to commemorate the occasion.
Flowers can be as beautiful and elaborate as any large scale wedding or brides can carry a single long stemmed rose.
Renewing wedding vows doesn’t require another marriage license but it does take the same amount of pre-planning as a first time wedding. Whether formal or casual, couples still must choose the clothing to wear, the site of the wedding, attendants (if any), make decisions about flowers, cakes, and meals, and much more.
Religious couples may also want to include their pastor or rabbi in the planning process, especially if his or her services are requested for the renewal of the vows.
Make reservations for a special location well in advance of the special day. Choosing a date for the renewal of vows is another important step of the process. Although many couples choose their original anniversary date to renew vows, others select another date for sentimental or practical reasons.
Some couples want to renew their vows and have their second wedding in another season. Maybe the bride and groom who had a winter wedding would like an outdoor spring or summer ceremony in a rose garden. Couples who wed on a hot, humid day may wish to plan a Christmas wedding with poinsettias and holiday colors.
Couples who want to invite extended family may want to plan the renewal of vows around a holiday like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the Fourth of July to make it easier to guests to attend, especially those who must travel to attend the ceremony.
Couples with children often like to allow their kids to be part of the wedding ceremony as well.
Renewing wedding vows can be a one time recelebration of love or a tradition that happens each year on the anniversary or at intervals such as every five years.
Couples who renew their wedding vows often feel closer, bind together in a more permanent way, and often experience lower divorce rates.
When it’s wedding season, ask your spouse if he or she would like to renew those all important wedding vows and celebrate your love all over again!