A vow renewal ceremony can be a meaningful, touching, revivifying ceremony for you and your children, family and friends. As a married couple, it is a time to pause and reflect on where you have been and where you are going. It is also a wonderful example to set for your children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a more beautiful scene than children watching their parents joining hands and hearts as they affirm the magnitude and strength of their enduring love? What greater life/love lesson? In this world where divorce seems to be the norm, a couple managing to stay together through thick and thin is cause for celebration! If you and your spouse have made it to a significant anniversary, or you just want to have a "do-over" wedding, why not consider a vow renewal ceremony? The Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect location for your vow renewal ceremony. What better way to celebrate the union you share than to reaffirm your commitment in such beautiful surroundings? Please visit our Smoky Mountain Ceremony Venues page for more information on the various venues we have available.
Reasons for Vow Renewal
You want to celebrate your 5-year, 10-year, 25-year etc. wedding anniversary
- You only got married legally before, and now want to marry religiously
- You only got married religiously before, and now want to marry legally
- Your first wedding had some element of disaster, and you want a do-over
- You didn't have much money for your first wedding, and you want a more elaborate wedding
- You got married with only a few people present, and you'd like to say wedding vows in front of lots of family and friends
- You've had some rocky times in your relationship, and would now like to reaffirm your commitment to one another
- You think it would be romantic
How to Renew Vows
First StepsJust as with any wedding planning, you should begin by figuring out what style of ceremony/reception you'd like, deciding a budget, picking a date and finding a venue. Some couples who are older will have much more money than when they wed the first time; others whose parents helped the first time will have far less. The good news is that vow renewals are generally cheaper than first weddings, and with less rules on what "should" be done, you can really concentrate on the elements that are important to you.
How Elaborate Should It Be?The answer to this question lies in your own reason for wanting a vow renewal ceremony. Many people chose to renew their vows because they were so caught up in the planning and the partying of their first wedding, they felt the focus of the day was taken off of the ceremony. Therefore, most vow renewals tend to be intimate celebrations, with only close family and friends present, and a lunch afterwards at a nice restaurant. Others who didn't have much money for their first wedding have very lavish ceremonies and parties afterwards.
Even if you want a big and expensive celebration, there are still a few things to avoid:
Don't have attendants. If you have children, you can give them a special role in the ceremony, but there is no need to designate them as bridesmaids or groomsmen. You may wish to invite your original bridal party and recognize them during the ceremony.
- Don't register for gifts. This is not the time to upgrade the china. Wedding gifts are to help a newly-married couple set up their household together.
- Don't throw bachelor or bachelorette parties. This is an obvious one – you aren't bachelors or bachelorettes!
LocationMany couples host their own renewals, and some have their children do the honors. Here's a trend we really like: The couple's closest friends, perhaps the original Maid of Honor and Best Man, host the event. And don't feel like you have to find a secular event hall or outdoor space to hold the ceremony -- many traditional halls of worship make wonderful, meaningful venues. Since a vow renewal is not a legally binding ceremony, you can have whomever you want to officiate -- a clergyperson, a close friend, a relative, or even your children
Who OfficiatesSince presumably you have already done the legal marriage, this ceremony will not be legally binding. Therefore, you can ask a judge or clergy member to officiate, but you can also ask a friend or an adult child to lead the ceremony. For a simple vow renewal, you don't necessarily need an officiant at all.
- Involve any children the two of you may have in the ceremony
- It is customary for the husband to escort his wife down the aisle
- Recreate your original bouquet and/or wedding cake
- Display your first wedding photograph
- Display photographs of your first wedding specially framed on reception tables and allow guests to take them home as favors
Once the vows are spoken, the rings are swapped, and the happy couple makes their way back down the aisle, it's time to party. Anything goes with this fete, from an intimate family barbecue to a large, sit-down affair as lavish as any traditional wedding reception. Plan for dancing, a cake, and lots of toasts. Bring your original wedding album to share with your guests (if you just eloped recently, bring some recent shots), as well as family photos taken throughout the years of your marriage. Be sure to hire a photographer to capture the event on film -- in 20 more years you may want to renew your renewal.
While the rules pertaining to vow renewals or reaffirmations are pretty flexible, good judgement and common sense are always expected. There is no set time requirement to wait out before renewing vows, it may done after 2 years or 32 years.
Typically, however, after a mere two years of marriage, a vow renewal would be kept somewhat private, personal and low key - no big fanfare. The exception is in the case where the couple did not have a 'real' wedding when they married originally. If they eloped or married with just a handful of friends present at the justice of the peace, without the traditional wedding festivites, today it is considered acceptable for them to combine a vow renewal with the type of celebration they did not have originally. And, yes, that may include attendants and many of the other elements one sees in weddings.
However, if a couple did have the traditional wedding when they married, anything more than the simplest renewal now is highly out of the ordinary, and one could certainly argue, also in poor taste.
Call me today to schedule your vow renewal ceremony. What better place to reaffirm your vows and love for each other than the beautiful Smoky Mountains? Call me today to reserve your renewal date. I'll customize a renewal package to meet your needs.