Redo Your I Do

Trending Now: Vow Renewals

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Vow renewal ceremonies are as hot as ever. The opportunity to wear a fabulous dress again, share good food and drink with your nearest and dearest—minus the stress of the unknown. Why not?

When Ashley and Tom exchanged their vows on October 6, 2011 in the garden at their Minnesota home, it wasn’t the first time. Ten years prior, the couple had taken the leap as husband and wife at a grander venue, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

While their vow renewal celebration was certainly a dialed down version of their first wedding, it wasn’t too shabby either. For one, Ashley, now a floral designer in her own right, has quite a green thumb. More importantly, their re-commitment ceremony rivaled their first wedding’s sincerity and hopeful declarations of love.

Some experts suggest that a re-commitment ceremony may be a good way to remember why you married in the first place, especially after a bout of tough times.

Just like running the last mile of a marathon, it can be hard to fathom when you’re in the throes of wedding planning that you’d ever want to go through the process again. But the fact is, even in the face of celebrity re-commitment couples going bust (Seal and Heidi Klum and J.Lo and Marc Anthony, to name a few), vow renewal ceremonies are more popular than ever.

From Hollywood star couples, like Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, to regular people like Ashley and Tom Fox, vow renewals are going strong. “Life has brought us good and bad challenges,” says Ashley, a mother of two, ages five and four. “Now we know we can make it through.”

Some experts suggest that a re-commitment ceremony may be a good way to remember why you married in the first place, especially after a bout of tough times. Marriage is an institution that goes through a lot of testing. Nearly half of them fail. So, celebrating publicly that it is time for a remembrance can be just the kind of tune-up a lot of marriages need.

Second, some do-overs are planned when the first one was so labor-intensive, so splashy and hectic, that a couple may have forgotten why they got married. When a couple doesn’t have to get caught up with the how it’s all going to get done, the toned-down, more casual affair of a vow renewal can bring love, all freshened up, to the foreground.

Certainly, redo weddings are a great excuse to travel. Since these ceremonies are not legally binding (civil and religious institutions don’t have to recognize these events, so there are no rules to abide by), the second time around you can take leave to any tropical locale you desire. Ashley and Tom, for example, toyed briefly with going to Tortola, where they honeymooned a decade before. Caribbean resorts (like Beaches) even offer packages as low as $500 to plan your re-ceremony.

When done closer to home, most couples that do a recommitment have elements that draw on their first wedding. For example, a close friend may now act as the officiant. For Ashley and Tom, it was their wedding’s best man, now godfather to their daughter, who served as the master of ceremonies. Other examples include using cake cutters or Champagne glasses from their original wedding.

Then there is always the introduction of what came out of their years of marriage to include in the redo ceremony. Holly and Rodney Peete had all four of their children involved in a candle-lighting ritual they performed at their February 13, 2012 event.

No matter what is chosen, it’s no surprise this trend is as strong as ever. After all, the event just may strengthen the sanctity of marriage more than the original nuptials. Says Ashley, “Our first wedding, we said we loved each other and would be there through thick and thin, but this time around when we said the vows, we knew what they really meant.”

--Erinn Bucklan

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