10 Tips for Planning Your Vow Renewal

A woman wearing a white lace dress and holding her vows on a sheet of paper for her vow renewal.

Vow renewals are a great way to celebrate a milestone anniversary or to simply celebrate love and commitment to your spouse. Whether your vow renewal ceremony is going to be intimate and private or extravagant and inclusive, there are a lot of great tips out there to simplify the planning process and to make yours a success.

1. Avoid Treating it Like a Second Wedding

A vow renewal is not necessarily meant to be a second wedding. For that reason, it shouldn’t be treated as such. With that being said, don’t wear a traditional wedding dress (although it’s OK to wear white) and know that you don’t have to invite every person you invited to your actual wedding. You also don’t have to have to have things like a band or DJ there to entertain your guests like you would at a normal wedding.

2. Get Creative on the Location

A vow renewal ceremony set up on the dock of a beach.

The location of your vow renewal is something you can really have fun with while planning. Consider traditional venues like event spaces, hotels, or restaurants in addition to more unique spots—like wineries, parks, beaches, or even a private residence.

3. Go Paperless

In the interest of conserving trees and saving money, consider going with electronic invitations rather than printed stationery at your vow renewal. This is an appropriate measure given the fact that vow renewals are typically not as formal as weddings. There are so many options for stylish online invitations these days, such as Paperless Post.

4. Write Your Own Vows

Plan to recite your own vows for this renewal to make it even more personal and special. If you wrote your own vows for your original wedding ceremony, consider giving them an update to reflect what’s changed and also what’s stayed the same between you since you first tied the knot.

5. Consider New Bling

A woman wearing a diamond ring.

Part of a vow renewal ceremony typically involves a ring exchange, much like a normal wedding ceremony. For this, you can exchange your original wedding rings if you so choose, or you can get new rings. This is the perfect chance to add new, meaningful jewelry pieces to your collection if that’s something you’re interested in.

6. Hire a Photographer

If it’s in the budget, hire a photographer to document your vow renewal. This is bound to be a special event in your life, and you’ll want the photographs from that day to always remember it. You don’t necessarily have to hire a full wedding photography package; a couple hours should do the trick!

7. Forgo the Wedding Party

Skip bridesmaids and groomsmen for this event. Since it’s not the same as a first wedding, this is an unnecessary expense to your friends and family and will likely be more trouble than it’s worth. Keep the focus on the two of you for this special renewal.

8. Decorate with Flowers

A vow renewal ceremony decorated with a floral arch.

Even though this isn’t a wedding per se, you can still include flowers on the big day. Feel free to carry a bouquet and decorate with flowers to add extra beauty to your vow renewal.

9. Discourage Gifts from Guests

Again, since this isn’t a first wedding, you’ll want to let your guests know that gifts are not necessary for this event and that their attendance is enough. Feel free to note this on your invitation. That also means that you won’t have a registry to accompany your vow renewal.

10. Celebrate with Sweets

A small cake decorated with gold leaf and surrounded by candles.

You may be wondering whether you should have a real wedding cake at your vow renewal, and the answer to that is probably not. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have something sweet to celebrate with. Go with a smaller cake that is reminiscent of your wedding cake for the occasion. If a cake isn’t your thing, feel free to be creative and instead do cupcakes, donuts, ice cream—whatever floats your boat!

Planning a vow renewal should be exciting and fun. Above all, remember that the event should be what you as a couple want it to be.

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