While on vacation, we visited a Polynesian cultural center and learned about traditional Fiji weddings. The customs were complex, but the vows were very simple…the bride and groom promise to never leave one another. That’s it. Wedding vows, from a celtic hand-fasting to an lengthy wedding mass, are essentially saying the same thing. I promise to stay with you.
Recently we printed a vow renewal invitation for customers who chose to publicly renew their vows since they chose a simple civil ceremony years ago. This time they chose a church ceremony to stand up in front of their child, parents, friends and family and repeat their vows. It was a special gift to the bride from the groom to have the ceremony they had wanted. A celebration of love and family followed.
Your plans may include any traditions and ceremonies you wish, and special symbolism and messages unique to your relationship. After years together, this set of vows celebrates your history as a couple, the support and love you have shared and the future together.
Attire for your vow renewal ceremony can be as formal and public as you wish. Your vow renewal could be a private rite… just the two of you holding hands and stating your vows to each other on the beach. A small casual event may include a garden or chapel ceremony officiated by a family member or friend, followed by a luncheon gathering. A formal event may include a larger church service, formal attire, a photographer and a dinner dance. Unlike the traditional first marriage which often caters to the needs of the extended family, the canvas is blank. This event is yours to make it exactly as you wish.
Some ideas to include your history and personalities in your ceremony:
- Write personal messages to each other that include a description of how you have grown together as a couple. These can be included within the vows or used for a toast during the celebration.
- Include a thank you to the people who mentored or supported your marriage.
- If you are having a vacation vow renewal, consider some of the local wedding customs to add meaning and color to your service.
- Incorporate some cultural traditions your ancestors used to celebrate marriages, like a traditional folk dance, costume or music.
- Make a ceremony of presenting your parents, or other relatives or friends, with a gift in thanks for their support of your marriage.
- At the start of your ceremony, light a candle for each of your parents, or have your children light them.
- During the exchange of vows, invite other couples to stand and repeat their vows to each other as well.
- For the relatives just beginning their adult life, share short stories of how you weathered the good times and the bad, or a brief list of “why I would marry you all over again.”
If you are planning a vow renewal, perhaps to coincide with a milestone wedding anniversary, you may want to read our vow renewal planning article.