Renewing Your Vows (again!)

Renewing Your Vows (again!)

Let me get one thing straight at once. My title is ambiguous. I’m not necessarily talking about renewing your vows a second or third time (although you’re welcome to). I actually mean that this is a continuation of last week’s blog which had the same title (but no “again”!).

Well, that’s cleared that up! Or, more likely, it has just muddied the waters …!

Anyway, last week’s blog covered why you should consider renewing your vows. Hopefully, it convinced you at least to think about it.

So this time, let’s look at how you may choose to mark it.

Dispelling some Fallacies

At first glance, you may assume that a vow renewal is something like a wedding ceremony. After all, they’re logically connected!

One massive difference between the two ceremonies is this: in order to renew your vows, you do NOT need a legal ceremony. This ceremony is purely optional, so the registrars do not come into it.

The second difference is that you do not have to do what anybody else wants! When you married, you probably had to take into account the wishes – even demands – of your parents. Or even of other people. You may have had to take on elements that you’d have preferred to omit. You may not really have agreed with the religious elements that were (or were not) included. The venue may not have been where you’d really have wanted to hold your ceremony. You may have had a less than free hand in choosing the guests.

And the list may go on.

What you must understand

Your vow renewal is YOUR big day. You organise it yourself. You pay for it. You can choose everything about it.

It can be a small affair. Or it can be bigger than your wedding. It can be wherever you like. I have celebrated a lovely vow renewal alongside a canal, because barging was the couple’s passion. Indoors, outdoors – it’s up to you.

You can choose how much you spend. It is entirely your call how much and what you offer your guests by way of refreshment, or entertainment.

Making the ceremony memorable

The final area of choice is the ceremony itself.

Hopefully, you will choose a civil celebrant like myself to work with! In that case, you have guidance and advice on tap. You work as a team, so you’ll have plenty of input. The end result is your dream ceremony.

You may choose to repeat your marriage vows. However, you may prefer to write new ones. (Your celebrant will be able to help you.) You may want your rings to be blessed.

You have the option of inviting friends and/or family members to participate. You can have as spiritual a ceremony as you choose. You may incorporate rituals of your choice. The tone can be informal, if that’s what you want. You approve all the readings before the big day.

Not forgetting that you will also have chosen the venue and the reception.

Now, doesn’t that sound attractive?

For any help with this ceremony, don’t hesitate to give Michael a call.



Renewing Your Vows

Renewing Your Vows

What’s the point of renewing your vows?

That’s a very fair question. After all, why go to the trouble of arranging a (potentially) major ceremony? And it’s not just the bother. What about all the expense?

So there has to be a justifying reason for holding such an event.

That’s what I want to look at in this blog. (Incidentally, another time we can look at how to mark it, once it’s decided on.)

The fact is that there are many reasons why you might choose to be renewing your vows.

An achievement

The fact that you have managed one year as a married couple is actually something to celebrate! And if you’ve managed more than that, then that’s even more laudable!

A lot of people go for an anniversary that ends in 5 or 0. And why not?

Declaring your love

It may sound soppy, when you see it written, but a public affirmation of your mutual love can be a very beautiful thing. Friends and family will love it; moreover, it should strengthen your relationship even more. So don’t knock it!

Out the tunnel

You may have had a sticky time of it. Perhaps you’ve endured either (or both!) of the following problems (or others): financial crises; health issues. The fact that you’ve overcome adversity and are still together does deserve to be marked.

There may have been fidelity concerns, or worse, but now they’re resolved. Renewing your vows would be a public statement of intent. (It could even be – but certainly doesn’t have to be – an opportunity for the guilty party to own up and even apologise publicly.)

Changed circumstances

Depending on how long ago you married, things may now be very different.

  • The vows you promised then may no longer be relevant. You can declare other vows that are more meaningful to you.
  • You may have children now. You can hold a ceremony that involves them. They can be given a role in the ceremony. Thus the family bond can be strengthened.
  • For whatever reason, you may not have enjoyed your wedding, and would welcome a second chance!

Thinking of friends/family

What if you married abroad? A number of friends or relations might well have been unable to attend. The good news is that you can invite them to a commitment ceremony/blessing nearer to home.

Thinking of yourself

You may simply like the idea of a good ceremony and party. A vow renewal would be a perfect excuse for that!

The vow renewals I have conducted have been motivated by a number of reasons. What might yours be?

Call me and let’s have a chat about it, and see how special we can make your day!

Renewing Your Vows

Renewing Your Vows

OK, I’m think Vow Renewals are a delight. But why, actually, should anyone even consider renewing their vows?

Well, I’m a civil celebrant, so  I have to conduct them and happen to love them. However, that response may not help you if you’re seeking justification!

I therefore suggest these (hopefully, more compelling!) reasons.

Why renew vows?

34% of marriages end in divorce and 33% of them end before 10 years, so there’s every reason to celebrate staying together. People often look at 10, 15, or other multiples of 5 years as good times to celebrate.

You don’t need to renew your marriage just because there’s a five or zero at the end of your anniversary. Renewing your vows can mark significant moments in your lives.  These could be the birth of a baby, or coming out the other side of a difficult marital patch or illness. Maybe family and friends missed the original wedding because it took place abroad.

What is a Vow Renewal ceremony?

Of course, the ceremony is a public declaration of love between two people. It can be in front of 200 people, or it can be a tiny, informal affair for just a handful of guests. The venue can be virtually anywhere and you have total control over how big – or small – any reception may be.

The Vow Renewal ceremonies I conduct tend to be modest, but very beautiful. There  may be religious content or not, or a mixture. When putting the ceremony together, I suggest readings and poems (and, where required, prayers) that are spiritual, meaningful and memorable. All are subject to the clients’ wishes.

Canalside VR


A focal point is usually the vows themselves.  These can be written by the couple, and are often very moving. I always offer guidance on writing these, as many people find the prospect daunting. If they prefer it, I can suggest vows for them.

Quite often, people want their rings blessed, which is another moving part of the ceremony.

Check list

You’ll need to consider the following when planning your Vow Renewal:

  • Venue: you don’t need to be restricted (except by budget and legality!). So you can have the ceremony in your garden, at the top of the London Eye, in a luxurious hotel, in a park or on a bridge. Or maybe at the place where you originally tied the knot.
  • Invitations: you can invite whoever you want to participate in the ceremony. Maybe you have children – why not ask them to take part? The size of the guest-list is entirely down to you.
  • Dress: again, up to you (although make sure you communicate your preferences to your celebrant and guests, to avoid potential embarrassment!)
  • Music: you may want to use the music that you heard at your wedding; you may want a relative (preferably with a great voice!) to do a solo; you may want to play a tune that means something very special to you both; you may want nothing – again, the choice is all yours.
  • Photographer: you’ll want to capture the moment for posterity, so give some thought to hiring a good photographer (see my dedicated blog )
  • Catering: even if you’re having a modest ceremony, some champagne (or equivalent) and a snack go will down well afterwards.
  • Other possibilities, like a reception, may be taken into consideration too.

The Beauty of Freedom

The joy of renewing your vows is that you have such freedom to arrange the ceremony as you want. You can tell the world that you love your spouse and your spouse loves you. You don’t have to wait fifty years – you can do it when you’re ready. You can spend as much or as little as you want. You can involve whoever you want. It’s such a happy event.

I hope I’ve managed to convince you!

I would love to help you. Just phone or e-mail me.


Why Vow Renewals?

We like – and need – rites of passage. These include baptism, confirmation,weddings, 21st birthdays, and (less popular!) death. They may also include Vow Renewals.

Vow renewals can seem irrelevant to you, unless you’re approaching a significant date or know of someone else who is. So what is the point of them?

Why consider a Vow Renewal?

  • You’ve got through a whole year of marriage. You’ve learned how to share, compromise and live together. Well done! Why not mark this achievement in some way?
  • You’ve managed five, ten, fifteen or twenty (you get the picture!) years together. Now that’s a real achievement! You could certainly recognise that in company with your friends and relatives.
  • Maybe your marriage has been rocky, but you’ve come out on the other side, and you want to re-commit publicly.
  • Maybe you married abroad, and would like to share the occasion with your friends over here.
  • Perhaps you have acquired a whole new set of friends and even relatives since marrying.
  • Maybe the vows you took have become irrelevant and need reformulating and restating.
  • You might even simply be looking for an excuse for a celebration!

These are just some reasons to consider having a public ceremony, or Vow Renewal.


You can have your ceremony wherever you choose (of course, you may need to get permission, etc.).

You can invite whoever you want and as many people as your budget allows.

You can include whatever you wish in the ceremony – readings, ritual, music, readers, etc. Your civil celebrant can advise and guide you. (Note that you will have the final say)

The tone of the ceremony (light-hearted, formal, etc.)  is up to you.

You can include whatever elements matter to you – eg ring blessing, rewritten vows, handfasting, for example.

It needn’t be an expensive ceremony: at a basic level, you will need to pay for the venue (if you’re booking one), the civil celebrant, refreshments (if you’re having any), a new set of clothes, possibly, and not much else.


I have officiated at venues as different as a Mayfair hotel and a Canal Centre. The Shard has been suggested as a venue, as has Waterloo Bridge and even at sea on the Queen Elizabeth. For a handfasting vow renewal, the inner circle at Stonehenge is an option. And so it goes on …

If you can think of anybody who might appreciate a ceremony of this kind, I’d love to chat to them about it.

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London, or, indeed, in Europe.