This is your ultimate guide to vow renewals. What are they? What happens at a vow renewal? When can you have them? All these frequently asked questions and more have been answered by wedding expert and Recommended Supplier, Love Celebrants! No, a vow renewal isn’t just the thing that happens at the end of every season of Married At First Sight. It’s a ceremony that celebrates your enduring love, the changes it’s been through and how it has lasted.

The ultimate guide to your renewing your wedding vows

At a vow renewal, couples will write their vows to each other. In my opinion, this is the most exciting part of the ceremony. These should be genuine, and loving but with added humour. You want to have joy but emotion. We’re humans and not perfect and won’t always be what we need to be in a relationship or marriage. Admit that to yourself and your loved ones!

Kathryn Wilson, Love Celebrants

What is a vow renewal?

A vow renewal is an optional ceremony that some married couples choose to partake in from anywhere from a year to decades after their initial wedding. It’s a celebratory day where the couple affirm their commitment to each other. Any reason for a party, eh? The couple will work alongside a wedding celebrant to discuss their marriage. The celebrant would then build a script to showcase their marriage based on questions like, why are you celebrating? What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to your wedding day? You can have a vow renewal anywhere. Some couples have done in this in their own back garden, a cliff edge, a tropical beach setting or even their local park. The only rules are the ones you create!

Are there any legal requirements for a vow renewal? 

No! A vow renewal ceremony is completely symbolic. You don't need a marriage license (since you've already done that bit) and the officiant or celebrant conducting your ceremony doesn't need to be registered. You have total free reign! This means, there are also no restrictions on the number of times you can renew your vows.

What happens at a vow renewal?

Typically a vow renewal ceremony is similar to a wedding in that you’ll usually be surrounded by all of the most important people in your life (unless, of course, you’re keeping things intimate). Many couples choose to hire a celebrant for their vow renewal ceremony, to make the occasion feel more formal and more like a wedding. During the ceremony, you could repeat the same marriage vows you made to each other at your wedding, or you could opt to make new ones that make sense to your life together now. It ends with a kiss and then the party starts!

How long should you wait to do a vow renewal?

You shouldn’t! You should celebrate your love at every opportunity. Couples decide to have a vow renewal for multiple reasons including for any anniversaries (especially the big numbers like 1st, 10th, 25th etc.). Other reasons, might be if the couple has been through difficulties and come out the other side stronger than ever and want to celebrate how their love has endured hard times. Some couples also want to celebrate their successes in work and life by having those who mean the most to them present. So there is no set or recommended time, it's just whenever feels right for your love story. 

What do you say when renewing your vows?

Recommended Supplier, Love Celebrants, has all the advice on writing your wedding vows. “I ensure that couples I work with understand the promises they want to renew. Perhaps at the first wedding you overpromised, and said the wrong things that weren’t fully from the heart. Now that time has passed, maybe you should be promising some things for the future of your family. Leave behind promises that don’t have real meaning. What does it mean to ‘honour’ your vows? What does it mean to love someone completely? Do some work together in discussing what these things mean to you after several years of marriage. This is a great idea for a date night with a bottle of wine! Do you promise to leave the bins out because your partner hates doing it? You can make it lighthearted as this isn’t your first rodeo!" 

What are the benefits of a vow renewal?

The main benefit of a vow renewal is that you get to reminisce on all the reasons you first got together and reflect on how your love has grown with you as people. The process of working with a celebrant means you will find ways to reminisce on your journey of marriage so far, what you’ve learned and what you’d both like to see for your future lives together. 

Kids and pets 

Another reason why couples choose to renew their vows is if they’ve had children or adopted pets who weren’t there for the original wedding. A vow renewal is a beautiful way of ensuring that your children feel important and will give them something to look back on when they’re older knowing they had a special role in your day. Recommended Supplier, Love Celebrants, suggests one way of involving children in your ceremony could be with a ritual called sand blending. This is where you put colourful sand into a jar. Each colour of sand can represent a child or parent. These are then blended to make a representation of the family. Some beautiful words would then be said to refer to the fact that the length of time it would take to separate these particles of sand would be how long it would take for the family to ever be apart.

Are your pets your whole life? Make sure you have them as part of the day. Perhaps you could have doggy ring bearers! We’ve got a whole article with advice on including your pets at weddings!  

How long is a vow renewal ceremony?

Again, because there are no legal requirements for a vow renewal, you can decide how long or how short your ceremony should be. If your vows are extensive, you decide to include a few wedding readings from loved ones and you have a blessing performed by the celebrant, you can expect your ceremony to be longer. Typically, 20 to 30 minutes is the prime length for wedding vow renewals. 

We asked expert celebrant, Kathryn Wilson, for her top tips on wedding vow renewals 

Have you decided to have a vow renewal ceremony? For more information on planning your own vow renewal speak with our lovely Recommended Supplier, Love Celebrants. Need some tips on writing your wedding vows? Say no more. Here is our advice on writing your wedding vows.

Leah Blundell

Written by Leah Blundell

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