Many couples choose to embrace these changes and reaffirm their love for one another by way of wedding vow renewal during a second wedding ceremony. A wedding vow renewal ceremony is also common in cases where the couple eloped or were married at a remote location, and wish to have a second ceremony where they can include friends and family.
Wedding vow renewal offers many wonderful benefits for married couples. It is a time for them to reflect upon the meaning of their relationship and the bonds of love not only for each other but for those gathered to share in their celebration. It is also a way to include children and grandchildren ceremonially in your union. A couple might choose a wedding vow renewal ceremony to celebrate a significant anniversary, such as the tenth or twenty-fifth.
Aside from a few simple guidelines, there is no right or wrong way to conduct the ceremony to renew your wedding vows, as long as it is a reflection of who you really are and what your union means to you. It can be as formal or casual as you wish, reflect your original ceremony or be its own distinct celebration.
Wedding vow renewals are considered to be more a spiritual occasion than an official one, and are most often conducted by clergy. However, it is still appropriate for another official such as a judge or a ship's captain to perform the ceremony. The renewal of vows can take place in any setting imaginable, from a church to a vacation destination to the couple's home, and the event is often hosted by the couple themselves. The couple does not register for gifts and guests do not bring them unless the event follows an elopement or civil ceremony, or marks a silver or golden anniversary.
Since the couple is "man and wife" and not "bride and groom", a few details of the ceremony are different. The father of the wife does not give her away, but he may escort her down the aisle and place her hand in that of her husband. The wife usually does not wear a veil, unless she is wearing her original gown and veil, but it is considered appropriate (but not necessary) at any age for her to wear white.
In a wedding vow renewal ceremony there is not usually the traditional wedding party (i.e. bridesmaids or groomsmen) but the couple may ask their original wedding party to stand up with them if they so choose. More often than not, it is the couple's children and grandchildren or other significant family members or friends from relationships developed over the course of the marriage who stand up with them as they take their renewed vows.
Couples renewing their wedding vows often choose to write their own, making them more meaningful and personal, and relevant to the unique nature of their relationship. Basic guidelines for writing renewal vows are simple. Reflect on your years together, through the good times and bad, and think of the ways in which your spouse has come through for you and how you have overcome obstacles together. When writing down these thoughts, try to include specific memories and the emotions they hold for you. Follow this with your hopes for the future and how you will continue to grow and change together in the years ahead.
Renewing your vows is a deeply meaningful way to renew and refresh the bonds of love within a marriage, and to share that love with others in your life together. Above all else, a wedding vow renewal ceremony should be an expression of the unique joy of your life together.