Vow Renewal 101

Second Time Around

If you've got it, flaunt it! Celebrate your enduring love for one another with a vow renewal ceremony.
photo by Corbin Gurkin

Staying together deserves a celebration too.

Why save all the splashy, no-holds-barred wedding celebrations for the newly betrothed? When half of all marriages end in divorce, shouldn’t the committed couples that survive the wear-and-tear of a partnership deserve a heartfelt party too?

So, if you and your partner are candidates for a well-earned recommitment ceremony, read on for the “whys” demystified for this too-rare event!

Why Do It Again?

There are pretty much four good reasons for a do-over:

  • You want to commemorate a huge decadal anniversary in a big way.
  • Your original wedding wasn’t as dreamy as you wanted (whether due to a mishap like a hurricane, you were young and it was your parents’ to-do or you didn’t have the hefty budget then that you have now).
  • You eloped the first time and now you want to gather your friends and family.
  • You’ve survived some tests to your marriage—from sickness to a long-distance military deployment—and it’s time to re-affirm your love.

Why It Is More Relaxed

Since a vow renewal doesn’t have to be recognized by your religious or civil authorities, the sky’s the limit on who can marry you and where you can do it. Ask your oldest child to act as officiant—you don’t need a legally legit officiant to sign off on a marriage license. Do it on a desolate tropical island—the country’s rules on visitor weddings won’t apply to you.

Why It Is Hassle-Free

You can skip the bachelor or bachelorette parties this time (you’re not single anymore, remember?). And you don’t need to go out and choose a gift registry either; that is reserved for first-timers who need to accumulate the basics to build a home…that you already inhabit. You also don’t need to pick attendants because their official role is as witnesses and there’s nothing official about a vow renewal.

Why Not Let Someone Else Host?

While you and your fiancé hosted your first wedding, a nice touch to a vow renewal is to have a close friend, or even a child if old enough, host the celebration. Since you don’t have to do your ceremony in a traditional place of worship, you are free to marry anywhere your host suggests.

Why You Skip Some Rituals And Repeat Others

When Colin Cowie recently planned the vow renewal ceremony for celebrity actress Holly Robinson Peete and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, he made sure some traditions of their first wedding resurfaced at the renewal ceremony—and others, like involving their four children in the ceremony—were brand new.

Some rituals to skip on the do-over event include the father-daughter or mother-son dance and the toss of the bouquet or garter. However, continuing the tradition of the married couple’s first dance, especially to the music used the first time around, is a nice touch.

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