Renewing Your Vows
Relationships can change over time, and so can the nature of the commitment you make to your partner. Renewing wedding vows is becoming an increasingly popular way for couples to celebrate the evolution of their marriage and reiterate their dedication to one another. Here are some things to think about when considering renewing your marriage vows and how to maximize that experience.
More Than a Party
Many couples approaching their wedding are so excited about the actual event and overwhelmed with optimism for the future that the marital experience becomes more about the spectacle than really focusing on the commitment they are making. Once the wedding photos are in frames, real life sets in and the couple has to work together to build a foundation for their future. Years after the ceremony, some couples feel that they never really understood the weight of the marriage experience when first taking their vows and decide to renew those vows as a celebration of their partnership and a declaration of their continued commitment for the years to come. Whether you want to relive the emotion of your wedding or recreate it with a larger focus on your commitment, renewing your vows is a powerful way to say “I still do” and “always will.”
The Commitment Conversation
The Institute recently released a guidebook called The Commitment Conversation that helps couples discuss important issues about their partnership and make decisions about their future together. Originally intended for couples approaching the alter, we’ve found a large interest for the book from people who have been married for years. These couples have actually experienced the challenges of marriage and maintaining their own identities while navigating life together and are often more receptive to tools and experiences that will help reinvigorate and strengthen their lives together. When renewing your vows, also take time to have open and candid conversations about your marriage, the things that work so well, the things you’d like to improve, and your dreams for the future. A tool like The Commitment Conversation can make these conversations even more productive.
More Than Words
Renewal ceremonies have no legal significance and you can decide whether you want someone, like a minister, to administer the vows or if you’d prefer to handle the exchange yourself. Take the time to customize your vows and make them personal and appropriate for your situation. While no actual marriage license is involved in this process, you can capture the vows in writing and have them framed as a reminder of your commitment and a souvenir of your special day. Remember that the ceremony is important, but it is the thought and love behind your words that are most powerful and lasting.
Customize Your Ceremony
When planning your initial wedding, you may have been focused on color schemes and floral arrangements that best accented the décor you had chosen. When planning your renewal ceremony, realize your history with your spouse provides the perfect palette for creating a unique event. Here are some quick ideas for making your renewal ceremony personal and special:
- Decorate the event with pictures and mementos of your marriage thus far. You can even encourage your married guests to bring souvenirs from their life together and display these as part of the décor. Focus on personalizing the event to make the most of the moment.
- Many couples like to return to the locale of their original wedding or reception as a way of remembering the past and celebrating the future. Remember to use a good mix of the old and the new like dancing both to the song you played at your original reception and adding a new favorite.
- Some couples forego the big event and make the renewal experience more intimate. You can visit your favorite vacation destination and renew your vows in private. Many hotels and resorts have packages customized for couples wanting to renew their vows.
- Whether your renewal ceremony is a private event, a small gathering or a major production, remember that the true meaning of the day isn’t in the splendor, but in the details of your marriage and the joy of forging ahead together.