Planning a vow renewal ceremony can raise several questions about etiquette and proper conduct. At idostill.com, we understand the importance of creating a meaningful and memorable celebration. Whether you’re wondering about having a wedding cake, a bridal shower, or how to involve your honor attendant, we have the answers you need. Here is a comprehensive guide to vow renewal etiquette that covers the before, during, and after phases of the ceremony and reception.
Vow Renewals are Not Second Weddings
It’s important to remember that a vow renewal ceremony is not a second wedding. Unless you and your spouse have divorced and are remarrying, a vow renewal is an opportunity to reaffirm your marriage vows and love for each other. It can also be a chance to have your marriage blessed by the church.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties are traditionally seen as the “last night out as a single person” events. However, since you are already a married couple, the concept of these parties loses its relevance. Therefore, it is best to skip these celebrations for your vow renewal.
Shower with Love, Not Gifts
Typically, bridal showers are occasions where friends and family shower the bride with gifts to help start her married life. However, since you are already married and have a home set up, it is more appropriate to request that your friends and family shower you with love and support rather than gifts.
Resist the Urge to Register
While a vow renewal is a celebratory occasion, it is generally not viewed as a gift-giving situation. Mentioning or requesting gifts can shift the focus away from the ceremony of love. It is acceptable to include wording such as “no gifts please” in your vow renewal invitations. However, if you are hosting the event in honor of an anniversary, some guests may choose to give you anniversary gifts. Remember to be gracious and send timely thank you notes for any gifts received.
Plan as the Hostess with the Mostess
A vow renewal or reaffirmation ceremony is an event that you are hosting for yourselves. Unlike your previous educational pursuits or your wedding, parents are typically not involved in the finances of a vow renewal. Take charge of the planning process and ensure everything reflects your vision for the day.
Let Your Vow Renewal Be Different
As you enter a new stage in your life and love, it’s fitting for your vow renewal or reaffirmation ceremony to be different from your wedding day. While incorporating some traditions from your wedding can be a nice touch, use this opportunity to create new ones that reflect the growth and evolution of your relationship.
Attendants Become Attendees
Although you may want to invite attendants from your original wedding to your reaffirmation ceremony, they do not necessarily need to function in an official capacity. In most cases, they can simply attend the celebration as guests rather than having specific roles.
Give Away Your Love, Not the Bride
In the context of a vow renewal ceremony, the traditional act of giving away the bride by her father is not necessary. Since you and your spouse are already married, there is no need for public approval or support. Instead, consider alternative entrance options, such as walking the aisle together or having the wife walk alone. You may also choose to enter the ceremony from the sides of the room, walking toward each other and the altar.
Bouquets of Love
Flowers are a perfect addition to any celebration, including a vow renewal ceremony. Create a bouquet that reflects your love and appreciation for one another.
Deciding whether to exchange new rings or continue wearing your original wedding rings during the ceremony is a personal choice. Discuss this sensitive matter with your spouse and determine what feels right for both of you.
After the Vow Renewal Ceremony (Reception or Party)
The party that follows the vow renewal ceremony often raises questions about the appropriate approach. While it can resemble a wedding reception, there should be notable differences to distinguish it as a vow renewal celebration.
Use a Receiving Line for Large Gatherings
To ensure that all your guests feel acknowledged, consider forming a receiving line, especially for larger gatherings. This allows you to introduce your children or other family members to your guests, emphasizing the role of the host.
Modify Traditional Reception Dances
Some traditional reception dances may not feel appropriate for a vow renewal celebration. Consider skipping dances like the father/daughter dance, as it assumes the wife is being handed off to her new husband. However, you can still have a couple’s first dance to symbolize the start of a new phase in your life together. You may also create your own unique dances, such as inviting couples married for ten years or more to join you on the dance floor.
An Anniversary-Type Cake
For the reaffirmation cake, it is suitable to have an “anniversary” type cake, which may resemble the couple’s wedding cake, including the topper. Keep in mind that the design and decorations should reflect the nature of the occasion.
Raise a Toast
Toasts are a wonderful way to celebrate the couple during their vow renewal ceremony. However, unlike wedding receptions where toasts focus on the couple finding each other, vow renewal toasts should highlight the couple’s continued love and commitment. Remember that there is no best man toast, as there is no best man in this context, as the wife has already married her best man.
Create New Traditions
Consider creating your own unique traditions instead of following customary practices that may not align with your vision for the vow renewal celebration. For example, you can invent a new tradition to replace the garter and bouquet toss.
While planning your vow renewal ceremony, keep in mind the purpose of the event and the opinions of your guests. By carefully considering etiquette and using your good judgment, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable celebration for yourself and your loved ones. Cherish this opportunity to reaffirm your love and create an affair to remember.