Photo by Jillian McQuerrey
How is a vow renewal ceremony different from a wedding?
The biggest difference is that you are already legally married. You don’t have to purchase a marriage license or hire a legal officiant (all states vary with officiant requirements). It takes the legalities out of it which leaves more room for fun!
What are some sweet touches that you can put in a vow renewal ceremony?
Vow renewals are so personalized. It is a celebration of your life together which means you have a lot of personal touches to share. They can also become a celebration of the family you created together. Many couples include their children in their vow renewal ceremonies. Other sweet touches to incorporate are past weddings photos, repurposing your original cake topper/champagne flutes, including your pets, inviting your original wedding party to attend, video montage of your life together, wearing your original veil or dress and recreating your original bouquet.
Some renewals are an opportunity for a total wedding do over. Tastes have changed, styles have changed, etc…
What is inappropriate? Can you ask for gifts? Is a destination vow renewal appropriate?
Etiquette has changed over the years with weddings and events. It is no longer taboo to expect/asks for gifts especially if you are spoiling your guests with an epic party and delightful dinner. I personally love the art of gift giving as it doesn’t have to be expensive- but it should be thoughtful and personal.
I would think most guests would want to express their gratitude for being included and giving a gift would be a natural gesture. I think the difficult question is what do you get from the couple who has everything?
Gift registries may feel a bit taboo but offering options to guests not only benefits the couple, but also the gift giver. Finding the perfect gift can be stressful so I really appreciate a gift registry- it takes the guessing out of gifting.
Some couples truly do not want gifts. Rather than saying “no gifts please,” offer up your favorite charity. Again, most guests will want to bring a gift even if you say, “no gifts.” For destination renewals, the couple may share that traveling on their behalf is a gift enough.
Vow renewals can be quite simple to quite extravagant and it is up to the couple to communicate their expectations to their guests. For destination events, a full itinerary of activities, out of pocket costs, and expectations on attire should be shared with all guests prior to traveling. Many destination renewals include much more than the “wedding day” so communication is key to a successful renewal.
What about an officiant? It’s not legally binding so can you just get anyone?
A legal officiant is not required for a vow renewal but choosing the right person to “officiate” your renewal is critical. I have many clients share with me that their “friends” are going to perform their ceremony because they “speak in front of crowds all the time.” Public speaking skills are helpful, but it doesn’t mean they can deliver a personalized vow renewal that reflects your life together. It can take time to perfect your renewal script so ensure you choose the right person to deliver your love story.
Should you hire a planner for your vow renewal ceremony?
Just like planning a wedding, planning your vow renewal can become stressful and overwhelming- there are a lot of moving parts. Always hire qualified vendors and if your budget allows, consider hiring a wedding planner. Planners will likely save you time, money and will keep the planning on track. On the day of, they will ensure your renewal goes off without a hitch.