While many vow renewal ceremonies are similar in order to a wedding, chances are it’s been a few years since you first walked down the aisle, so we’ve put together a quick explanation of how the ceremony typically goes. Now keep in mind, since this is a vow renewal and not a wedding, you don’t have to put your ceremony together this way, particularly if you won’t be using a member of the clergy or a judge to officiate.
Obviously, your vow renewal ceremony is the most important piece of your vow renewal! Like wedding ceremonies, vow renewal ceremonies tend to differ based on whether the ceremony is religious or civil; the order of service can also vary from religion to religion. Overall, vow renewal ceremonies are made up of the same critical parts – each with its own purpose and meaning.
Fundamental Parts of the Vow Renewal Ceremony
Processional – The processional is the start of the vow renewal ceremony. Any attendants and you and your spouse (if desired) will walk down the isle to music. If you are planning a formal vow renewal ceremony, first both sets of parents should be seated, then attendants walk down the aisle, with the matron or maid of honor at the end of the group followed by the flower girl and ring bearer (if used). Finally, you (or you and your spouse) walk down the aisle.
Immediately following the processional, the officiant welcomes the guests to the ceremony. This greeting can be as simple as a short thank you to the guests for coming or as more involved with a reading or a brief history of your marriage.
Exchange of Vows
The vows are the emotionally part of the vow renewal ceremony. This is where you and your spouse will reflect upon your years together and make or renew promises to each other about the life you’ll lead in the years to come. Couples often choose to write their own vows to express the uniqueness of their relationship, history, and marriage. You can also opt to use common wedding vows.
Exchange of Rings/Gift (Optional)
Following the vows, you may wish to exchange new rings or another gift. This is a great time to upgrade your ring or add an anniversary band!
Since you are already husband and wife, the officiant typically speaks a few more words about the sanctity of marriage and your renewed commitment to each other. This is also when the officiant says “You may now kiss.”
The recessional is the exact opposite of the processional. You and your spouse will exit down the aisle together first, followed by the rest of the attendants and your parents. The recessional marks the finish of the vow renewal ceremony.
Remember, these are the basic parts of the vow renewal ceremony order of service. You can add enhancements anywhere in the ceremony you like and arrange things to your preference. The day and ceremony about the two of you expressing your love for each other, do what feels right and then celebrate with friends and family!