How to Do a Renewal of Vows Anniversary Program

Written by laurie dickinson
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How to Do a Renewal of Vows Anniversary Program
A toast to the couple and their family and friends should be part of the ceremony. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A renewal of wedding vows ceremony is different from a wedding ceremony in many ways. For instance, there is no bachelor/hen party, no bridesmaids, and no father-of-the-bride walking the bride down the aisle. For most people, a renewal of wedding vows is a time when a couple that has been married for several years reaffirms their love and marriage through a ceremony. It may be a part of an anniversary celebration, or it may be that a couple wants a ceremony before friends and family in later years because they originally eloped. Whatever the reason, planning is essential.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • guest list
  • invitations
  • event location
  • food and beverage list
  • formal attire

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  1. 1

    Compile a guest list. Guests at renewal ceremonies include family, friends, and members of the original wedding party. Decide whether you want to have a large gathering or an intimate group of friends and family. Sometimes children will officiate these events. Appropriate wording for invitations would be:

    The honour of your presence

    is requested at the reaffirmation [or "renewal"]

    of the wedding vows of

    Mr. and Mrs. [your name]


    The children of

    Mr. and Mrs. [your name]

    request the honor of your presence

    at the reaffirmation [or "renewal"] ceremony

    of their parents.

  2. 2

    Decide on a place where the ceremony will be held. For those who have been married for many years, this might be your own landscaped backyard or that of a friend or family member. Rent a church fellowship hall or meeting hall in your community. You could even reserve a meeting room or courtyard at a restaurant or hotel. Wherever you choose, make sure it comfortably accommodates all the people you plan to invite.

    How to Do a Renewal of Vows Anniversary Program
    A renewal or reaffirmation of vows can be done at any age. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Plan your food and beverage menu. Now that you have decided on the number of people to invite, and the place where the ceremony will be held, decide what you want to serve at the reception. If the ceremony is in the evening and at a hotel or restaurant, you might want to have a seated formal dinner with an open bar. If the ceremony is at home, hors d'oeuvres might be served at a buffet or served by a wait staff. If this is also your anniversary date, an anniversary cake is a nice way to top off the ceremony. You might just choose to have a coffee, cake and punch reception. Remember to have champagne and/or sparkling cider available, so you can perform toasts to each other and other guests.

  4. 4

    Choose what you will wear. Make this a special event that you will remember with something you bought especially for this occasion. While this is different than your original wedding, this is a time to dress and shine. For women, a cocktail dress or formal evening gown is appropriate. For men, a dress suit is a good choice. If you are wearing a suit you already own, buy a special tie to mark the occasion.

    How to Do a Renewal of Vows Anniversary Program
    Dress formally for the ceremony. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Write meaningful vows. Unlike wedding ceremonies, there are no traditional vows to follow. It is important to write your own vows that reflect your love and commitment to a future together. You might want to include words used in your original wedding ceremony to reflect your past commitments. It is also appropriate to have someone officiate. Since this is not a legal ceremony, it does not have to be a pastor or notary. You can have your best man from your wedding or a dear friend or family member officiate, or, you can perform the ceremony yourselves.

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