What’s with Vow Renewals?

Aug 28, 2023
Civil celebrant and couple at a Vow Renewal

People ask me what sort of ceremonies I conduct. The answer is straightforward. I mainly “do” – ie put together and lead – weddings, funerals, handfastings, namings and vow renewals. There are others too, but they are less frequent.

“What’s a vow renewal and why have one?” is not an uncommon question.

I’d like to try and answer that in this blog, if I may.

Why Have a Vow Renewal at all?

A vow renewal is what the name suggests, ie a renewing of vows (usually marriage vows). This can be because a lot of time has elapsed since the original sharing of vows. Promises made then may not be so relevant now.

It may be that there have been some tumultuous changes in the partner’s lives. Children could be on the scene now; recovery from serious illness or financial disaster may prompt the desire to renew vows. It can even be to mark the end of infidelity!

It may accompany the marking of a special anniversary (especially one ending in -5 or -0).

What does a Vow Renewal involve?

Unlike a wedding, say, there are no strings attached to this ceremony. You don’t need a registrar; you can hold it wherever you want (in reason!); and you can have the ceremony that you want (equally, within reason!). The tone is up to you. Participation is open to whoever you want to join in. You can choose readings (and readers). You can incorporate ritual (a unity ceremony is popular), and again, your celebrant can make suggestions for you.

The bottom line, though, is that there will be a declaration of your vows in there somewhere. You can – but don’t have to – write these yourself. (Your celebrant will help you.)

Remember, you can choose the venue – indoors or out. It can be in nature, in a hotel, by a canal – wherever you are allowed to go. You can incorporate humour into the proceedings. You can make it as religious (or not) as you want and as formal as you like.

Enjoyment should almost be guaranteed.

Maybe you can see why I love Vow Renewals and am convinced that they have a place among our life-cycle events.

I’d be happy to speak more about this, if you want to contact me.

photo: mckinley_rodgers.com