How to Do a Vow Renewal on a Budget

Looking to plan a vow renewal on a budget? Find out how with this helpful guide.

By Maggy Lehmicke

Vow Renewal on a Budget
Photo by Samantha Rice Photography

When it comes to holding a budget vow renewal, many of the same tips and tricks apply that would with a wedding. Narrowing down your guest list, cutting back on wedding stationery, and tackling some small DIY projects are often the most common pieces of advice. However, vow renewals come with a very different set of expectations than weddings, so there’s a lot of room for creativity.

If you’ve got a vision for a beautiful event, but are struggling to find ways to cut costs, below are some of our top pieces of advice on how to plan a vow renewal on a budget.

Don’t Treat It like a Second Wedding

Zola - How to Have a Budget Vow Renewal Photo Credit // Laura Hollander Photography

For one primary reason: it isn’t one. This doesn’t mean that it’s any less special or less memorable–it simply means that it’s an entirely different celebration and should be treated as such. The word “wedding” is immediately associated with higher costs, so be clear about the purpose of your celebration from the get-go. There’s also less expectation surrounding wedding vow renewals, which gives you the opportunity to really do it your way–including keeping it cost-friendly.

When planning a renewal ceremony, keep in the back of your mind what would make the day most special to you and your partner. If you want to spend the money to hold the ceremony at a distillery, but DIY everything else, then go for it. Embrace the sense of freedom that you might not have experienced the first time around.

Source Locally

This is one of the easiest ways to save money. Not only are local vendors more sustainable, but they’re also less likely to charge you an arm and a leg for details such as delivery fees when putting together a vow renewal celebration. If you look for florists and rental companies that are hyperlocal, chances are that they’re not only going to be less expensive, but they’re going to be more flexible than those located elsewhere.

However, keep in mind that the more remote your wedding venue, the more money you’re likely to spend on vendors. If you’re planning an island vow renewal, for example, delivery costs are likely to be high, and local vendors might hike their prices if they’re the only option on the island. If you live in a tiny town or don’t have a lot of vendors and creatives in your area, Etsy is a great alternative for sourcing things such as wedding decor and accessories, while allowing you to still support small businesses.

Make It a Potluck

The argument against potlucks for weddings may still exist, but this isn’t a wedding, is it? If you’d prefer to get a food truck or do something a little bit more traditional, that’s always an option. But, inviting your guests to bring their favorite dish and indulge potluck-style is one of the easiest ways to bring costs down. Just make sure that you’re clear with everyone about expectations and have a system or spreadsheet to track what everyone is planning to bring. This is also something that you can assign out to a friend and/or family member to take care of so that you can keep stress levels low.

Keep It Intimate

As one of the most common recommendations in the book, there is nothing more cost-friendly than choosing an intimate affair over a massive celebration. Aside from the obvious savings, there are additional benefits to keeping your numbers down, including the natural rise in the cost per-person. Even on a budget, a smaller party means that you’re able to spend more money on each attendee, and it allows for some creative ideas, including fun favors and more elaborate place settings for your vow renewal celebration.

Host It at Home

There is unlikely to be a venue that is as budget-friendly as your own home (and no better way to commemorate the life that you’ve built together as a married couple). Just make sure that you’re realistic about the attendee capacity and the amount of work that it would require. If your house doesn’t have a backyard, or is too quaint for the event size that you’re imagining, then take the party to a public park. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure that you’re adhering to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines in your area and plan accordingly.

Avoid Rentals Altogether

If you’re planning a hefty-sized get-together, this can be a tough one, but for those organizing more intimate gatherings, avoiding rentals isn’t totally out of the question. If you’re hosting the vow renewal at home, the many pieces of furniture and décor that you have sitting around the house can be great alternatives to rentals. Mirrors, rugs, ottomans, candlesticks, and glassware are all common pieces that are easy to repurpose. Just ask your guests to each bring a lawn chair and you’ve got your bases covered.

Consider DIYing Some Elements

Zola - How to Have a Budget Vow Renewal Photo Credit // Samantha Rice Photography

Invitations, florals, and décor alone can easily cost a couple thousand dollars. Make sure that you prioritize what’s most important for you to have done professionally and what might be a fun project leading up to the big day. This also goes for your loved ones who you know are willing to lend a hand. If you’ve got a friend with a talent for creating bouquets, or a relative who’s adopted calligraphy as their quarantine hobby, don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

Purchase, Instead of Rent

Despite the obvious, it can actually be much cheaper to purchase items such as table linens and table décor instead of renting them for your vow renewal celebration. Just make sure that you’re actually going to use them again or have somewhere to re-sell them so that they don’t go to waste. Décor items such as rugs, candlesticks, and runners are all popular picks to reuse down the road. You can even repurpose décor and florals as gifts to your attendees or loved ones who helped you coordinate the big day.

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