Whether you’ve been married for three years or 30, the act of renewing your wedding vows with your partner is a ceremonial celebration that signifies a new beginning or a recommitment to the vows you took together. Beyond that, the vow renewal ceremony often gives couples the opportunity to create the wedding they wished they’d had the first time around but were unable to.
One of the best aspects of planning a vow renewal ceremony is that anything goes. If you don’t want to renew your vows in a church, you don’t have to. If you want a big reception, you’re welcome to plan one. While planning your vow renewal ceremony, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider.
Do Take the Opportunity to Make Your Vow Renewal Ceremony Exactly How You Want It
Suppose you were very young when you and your spouse married and there wasn’t enough money to incorporate all of your wishes into your special day. Now, you’re older and more financially settled. Don’t pass up the chance to do things the way you want to for your vow renewal. Many couples choose to exchange a new set of rings during their ceremony, while others choose a destination and combine the ceremony with a vacation among family and friends.
Whatever your vision is for your ceremony, let that vision guide you as you begin organizing the details for your ceremony. Many couples find that having an event planner is a great way to ensure that no detail is forgotten.
Don’t Have a Parent Walk You Down the Aisle (Unless You Want Them To)
Vow renewals don’t play by the same set of rules as weddings do. Weddings tend to be steeped in cultural traditions, such as the bride wearing white and her father walking her down the aisle. While some people include the father-daughter aisle walk as a feature of their ceremony, many couples who are renewing their vows choose to walk down the aisle together, or even approach each other from opposite sides of the room.
Another wedding expectation that isn’t necessary for a vow renewal is to have a wedding party. However, couples with children often choose to have their kids stand alongside them through the ceremony. One of the special things about vow renewal ceremonies is the freedom from traditions and the ability for couples to make their own statement.
Do Ask a Friend or Family Member to Officiate the Ceremony
While some couples view the renewal of vows as something private between the two of them, many others regard the marriage vow renewal as a reason to bring all of their family and friends together to celebrate. Regardless of how large or small your guest list is for your vow renewal, you will need someone to officiate the ceremony. Again, since you don’t have to follow wedding traditions, your officiant doesn’t have to be a minister, priest, or judge.
Couples often ask a trusted friend or beloved family member to officiate the ceremony. Others may even ask their adult children to be their officiants. It is important that you guide the person you ask to do this honor to understand exactly what their responsibilities are in order to give them the opportunity to prepare beforehand.
Don’t Worry About Booking the Church or Getting a License
When people get married in the U.S., they must first obtain a marriage license from their vital records office. They must have witnesses and an officiant to sign the license indicating that the marriage did occur. A marriage license is only available for those who are of legal age (or have parental consent if under 18) and are not married to someone else.
Marriage vow renewals are not official marriages, as the couple is already married to each other. Therefore, there is no need to get a new marriage license in order to renew your vows, and there are no tax implications for doing so. The purpose of the vow renewal is not to create a new union, but to celebrate or recommit to the union you already enjoy.
Likewise, most couples find that they do not have a lot of religious or cultural expectations placed on their vow renewal. If you don’t want to renew your vows in a church, you don’t have to. It’s completely up to you and your spouse.
Do Consider Windows on the Water in New Jersey for Your Venue
If you’re planning to renew your wedding vows and are looking for a unique and beautiful space to have your ceremony, consider Windows on the Water in New Jersey. Our 86-acre resort provides the perfect backdrop for a renewal ceremony by the lake. We have enough space for you to host all of your guests, and our event planners will work with you to bring your vision to life.
There are several wedding packages available to suit a variety of budgets and preferences. We also provide services, including a meal of your choice for your guests, and a dedicated staff determined to make sure that your and your guests’ needs are met. To tour Windows on the Water and learn more about the services we can provide for your vow renewal ceremony, call us at (609) 208-9475 or send us a message online.