How to Write Vows for Your Renewal Ceremony

A woman writing on a notepad outside next to a bike.

If you’ve decided to renew your marriage vows, there will be a lot of things to consider. Nothing is more important, however, than the vows themselves. While you don’t need to write your own vows, most people do. After all, a vow renewal ceremony is something you chose to do for a specific reason, so you’ll definitely want to put some thought into what you plan to say!

Unless you’re renewing your vows in an impromptu fashion, it’s a good idea to start writing them a few weeks before the ceremony. It can help to start a journal where you can jot down ideas that pop into your head. The earlier you start to think about them, the easier it will be to write your vows later.

Can I Reuse My Original Wedding Vows?

A bride and groom holding hands during their wedding vows.

Absolutely. However, it is a good idea to make a few edits to them. Depending on how long you have been married, there have surely been many moments of good and bad. Why not spend a moment and mention a few key points? In addition, a vow renewal ceremony is a good time to reflect on your relationship and celebrate a bright future going forward. If you’re still in love with your spouse after all this time (which, if you’re renewing your vows, we hope you are!), tell them exactly why.

What Should I Say in My Vows?

In general, you should make a statement about your spouse, and a separate statement about your relationship. Remind one another why you love each other. Reminisce about what makes your relationship so amazing. And like with your wedding vows, end them with a promise to maintain your loving marriage.

Don’t hesitate to mention positive moments that stick out to you. Perhaps you’ve traveled a lot, survived through sickness, or had children. Any highlights from your marriage, big or small, are fair game. You can also quote a song, movie, or story, especially if the source is something meaningful to both of you. Other things you may say will depend on your reason for holding a renewal ceremony. Is it just to commemorate a milestone anniversary, or have you and your spouse recently overcome a difficult time?

How Can I Address a Dark Moment?

A husband hugging his wife as she looks out the window in a dark moment.

If you and your spouse have had to deal with an unpleasant period, you don’t necessarily have to mention it. However, in some situations, you’ll feel it’s necessary to acknowledge the hard history. In that case, try to steer away from too much negativity. Instead, focus on your future together. This should be a positive occasion.

For example, instead of mentioning infidelity, say something like, “Even though we haven’t upheld every promise we made on our wedding day, we remained together and I will continue to love you for the rest of my life.”

Should We Write Vows Together or Separately?

Either option can work, so it’s up to you. If you want your words to be a surprise, by all means write them in private. However, to assure you and your spouse are on the same page, it can help to decide on a few guidelines. At the very least, decide on how many words, paragraphs, or sentences the vows should be.

You can also decide on a basic structure for the vows. For example, you may decide that the vows should have a paragraph about the other person, a paragraph on the relationship, a mention of your favorite memory together, and a conclusion with a promise or two.

If you do write the vows together, start off your brainstorming with a date night down memory lane. Reread your old vows, look at your wedding photos and videos, and talk about everything that’s happened during your time together—the good and the bad. You can also look up sample renewal vows for inspiration. This can be a good idea even if you choose to write them separately.

Sample Renewal Vows

A groom holding a piece of paper with his vows on it as he holds his bride's hand.

“My beloved _____. We have spent a magical 10 years together, and with each one, I seem to love you more and more.

You are my happiness and my support. Whether I need the motivation to keep going or a shoulder to cry on, you always know exactly what I need and you don’t hesitate to make that extra effort to make me feel better.

Since we got married, we have shared endless incredible moments together from our spontaneous move abroad, the birth of our children, and even that silly Thanksgiving dinner last year. I look forward to creating more memories with you.

Even though we’ve had our fair share of fights, I feel that they only made us stronger. Neither one of us has been perfect, but I notice we always work through our difficulties and inspire each other to be better in the end.

No matter what life may bring us, I promise to love and cherish you until the end of time.”

Still struggling? Ask a friend or family member to help you out. If you choose to have an officiant, they can give you some guidance as well. And of course, if you choose to, you can hire a professional to write them for you. There are a number of resources available online, or you can ask for a referral from a wedding-planning service.

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