How to Plan a Vow Renewal Ceremony

A Step-By-Step Guide

If your friends and family could not all be there for your wedding or you simply want to again pledge your commitment to one another (perhaps for an anniversary), you should consider having a vow renewal ceremony. It can be as modest or as elaborate as you and your husband or wife would like. Here’s how to plan a vow renewal ceremony.

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Pick a Date

Bride and groom during wedding ceremony
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Much like your wedding, you have to decide when to host the vow renewal. An anniversary or a date that is special to the two of you would be a nice touch. If you’re planning to invite guests, choose a date when they will be able to attend. A vow renewal in the middle of the week, for example, might garner many “no” responses because most people work then.

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Choose a Site

You could return to the place where you were originally married. That won’t work, however, if you’re hosting a vow renewal for those who couldn’t attend your destination wedding. In that case, you could replicate the site closer to home. If neither of those ideas works for you, you could pick a place that is meaningful to the two of you – the park where you picnic on Sundays, the restaurant where you had your first date, the church you attend together.

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Get a Copy of Your Vows

If you didn’t save a copy of your vows, then you should track down one. You could watch your wedding video to get the exact words. But don’t feel limited to the words you said at your wedding. You could add to these vows to include sentiments and promises born since you’ve been married or you can just repeat the original vows you took.

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Find an Officiant

The priest, rabbi, clergyman, or another officiant who married you the first time around could be available. If not, you could find someone else to do it by contacting a nearby church, synagogue, or other house of worship. For a civil service, you could contact the local government to find a judge or other qualified official in your city or town. Those who are looking to host a more laid-back and intimate vow renewal can ask a friend or relative to offer a brief introduction followed by the two of you simply repeating your vows.

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Invite Guests – or Not

You could invite friends, relatives, and co-workers as you would for a big wedding. Or you and your husband or wife can renew your vows together, just the two of you. Some couples actually do this every year on their anniversary. It’s a sweet way to remember what your wedding day actually meant and to remind yourself of the promises you must keep.​

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Celebrate – Alone or With a Crowd

A vow renewal, just like a wedding, is determined by the couple. If the two of you want to follow your vow renewal with dinner for two at your favorite restaurant, then you should do that. If you’d like to book a banquet hall and a D.J. and dance the night away with family and friends, then you should do that. The important thing is to remember why you renewed your vows: To show your continued commitment to one another and to share your love again. Truly, once is never enough.