Renewing your wedding vows—also known as a recommitment ceremony—is a meaningful and romantic way to acknowledge your commitment to your partner, at any point in time. Some might want to mark getting over a rough patch in life together, or others to simply celebrate many years spent together (25 being the most popular anniversary to renew vows). Renewing your vows can be done just between the two of you, with a small group (immediate family, best friends), or as a bigger bash with anyone and everyone you’d like to include.
Romance means something different to everyone and because vow renewals aren’t legally binding, there’s no right or wrong way to renew your vows. The key to a successful renewal is creativity, light-heartedness, and personal touches. Here are just a few suggestions to get your romantic creativity flowing.
The comfort of your own home
Renewing your vows in your own home lends itself best to family affairs. Invite the kids, your extended family, and friends back into the place that’s been your home base for so many years. It’s the place where the real stuff of your relationship has lived, isn’t it? Romance isn’t always white dresses, fancy halls, or exotic destinations; more often it can be cozy, domestic, and familiar. If you’re looking for something low-key, affordable, and homey, this is a great option that many might not first consider.
At the first place you met (or something just as memorable)
Think really hard. Where was it? School? At work? A coffee shop? The drive-in theatre? If there’s a location in memory that’s particularly sentimental to you, that will work too. Movie theatres, coffee shops, or restaurants can often be rented out privately for groups and there’s something kind of over-the-top about exchanging vows on the steps of buildings, in football fields, or other public spaces. Scan your memory, find its “theme” (our first date at that Italian place, when we lived in New York, the co-ed soccer team we played on together, etcetera), and run with it. This can make for a really meaningful private ceremony, or a fun event that your guests will be totally impressed you came up with.
Escape to the cottage for the weekend
If you want a fun summer renewal party that everyone is happy to be at, the cottage is a safe bet. Take a trip up to the family cottage for a weekend, enjoy the beautiful setting, and plan a ceremony that recognizes the fact that you’re all together in a place that is beautiful, natural, and a home away from home. Not a cottage owner? Rent one. It will be just as fun and your guests will thank you for the escape. A cottage wedding can work well for private renewals as well; like a destination wedding, it offers a built in second honeymoon.
Hop on a plane, (or train, or automobile)
This is a great, easy to plan option for solo renewal ceremonies as many vacation destinations offer wedding officiation, and if you’re on your own, the costs (and your time) are entirely in your hands. But, they can also be reasonably done for small groups if that’s what you’re seeking. Because this is isn’t your first time around, you can be a little more “untraditional” if you’d like (there’s no one to impress here). Love the city and want to head to Chicago and renew in front of the Bean? If you plan to invite guests, this is an affordable North American destination that can be a great trip for a family or group of friends. More of a tropical vacation type? If you can afford it, treat your adult kids to a vacation while they struggle to pay back their student loans and plan a trip that celebrates your union with them.
City parks, waterfronts, churches, or historic sites and buildings make for picturesque settings for renewal ceremonies (or any wedding, for that matter). Many city parks have private areas that can be rented for temporary use, and make a great green space for a picnic or BBQ party. Many, cities, like Toronto, offer historic buildings up for rent for events, and are beautiful spaces to renew your vows in, and make a nice alternative to a church, if that’s a tradition you’d like to stay away from. There’s no right or wrong way to do a renewal ceremony, so just know there are lots of options out there, all of them as romantic as you make them.
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