Writing your own wedding vows can be a lovely way to share your feelings about your partner on your wedding day and kick off your life as a newly married couple.
But many couples that have been married for some time decide that, while they loved their vows the first time around, after years (or decades!) of marriage, they have more to say—and as such, decide to have a vow renewal ceremony.
A wedding vow renewal ceremony can be a reaffirmation for couples of all the reasons they got and stayed married. But what, exactly, should you say? Or, in other words, where do you start when it comes to wedding vow renewal wording? We’re here to help! (Just like with wedding planning, it’s always easier with a little bit of guidance along the way.) Let’s take a look at a few vow renewal ideas to help you gather your thoughts and put them into words.
First things first. Before we jump into the vow renewal ideas, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, a renewal of vows is.
A vow renewal is a ceremony where a couple makes a recommitment to their marriage—and, just like on their wedding day, shares vows and promises to their partner for the years ahead.
Couples may decide to host a vow renewal for a number of reasons. For example, some couples choose to renew their vows to celebrate an important wedding anniversary (like 10 years of marriage) while others opt for a vow renewal ceremony because they went with an elopement for their wedding and want to recite a version of their wedding vows in front of their wedding party, family members, and loved ones. Some may renew their vows to celebrate a particularly happy time in their marriage—while others do a vow renewal after a hard, rocky, or challenging time.
Some vow renewals are more formal events that resemble actual weddings (for example, couples may send out vow renewal invitations for a destination vow renewal) while others are more casual affairs—but what they all have in common is the married couple exchanging renewing their vows and reaffirming their commitment to their partnership.
Now that you understand what a vow renewal is, let’s jump into the tips to help you write your new vows:
Don’t know where to start when choosing the right vow renewal wording? If you’re a list maker, start off by writing down all the things that seem most relevant to your marriage. This can be anything from favorite memories and inside jokes to what you love most about your partner and your relationship as a whole. Consider this as a way to “outline” what you most want to come across.
Whether you choose to be funny, sentimental, or serious with your wedding renewal ceremony, the language that you choose in your vow renewals helps set the tone for the whole day. This also means considering how you want your guests to feel. As husband and wife, consider what makes your relationship unique and how you want to celebrate your special day.
Are you celebrating 10 years together? Or did you just get through a really hard time, like an illness or test of fidelity? No matter the circumstances, it’s a good idea to acknowledge why you’re choosing to renew your vows at this particular moment and what that means for your future together as husband and wife.
Though you don’t want to repeat yourself, it’s always worth revisiting your original wedding vows and reaffirming what you still find to be true. This also may mean acknowledging which vows you’ve broken. This is entirely up to the couple, but since some choose to renew their vows after a particularly stressful or tumultuous time, mentioning broken vows is a way to re-establish your commitment and transition into a new phase of your relationship as a married couple.
One thing that you couldn’t do at your wedding that you should consider at your vow renewal is mentioning what you appreciate most about your marriage. How has your life changed for the better as a married couple? Is it different from what you expected? What did marriage teach you about true love? Every marriage is different, but these are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself as you start writing your marriage vows.
This doesn’t necessarily mean reciting your marital problems—instead, it’s an opportunity to share how your partner has challenged and pushed you over the years. Maybe you mention how their constant drive to be better has led you to reach for the stars. Or, make a lighthearted joke about how their easy going personality has taught you to be more patient. After all, showing how you’ve grown together as a couple is a great way to acknowledge the success of your union.
As expected, it’s fairly standard at a vow renewal to not only revisit your original vows, but also establish new ones. While your initial vows may have been more straight-forward, the process may be a little more complex the second time around. If you run into some writer’s block, reflect on your values and shared goals as a couple, as they’re sure to help guide you in deciding what promises are most important to make.
This might sound cliché, but what matters most is that everything you’re saying is true to you and to your relationship. If neither of you are writers—but you both love music—maybe you decide to recite a line from one of your favorite songs. Or maybe you have the initial members of your bridal party briefly share what they love most about you as a couple. Not everything needs to be original as long as it’s authentic and heartfelt.
While you want your wedding vows to be unique for your renewal ceremony, a little inspiration never hurt! Here is some sample wording to consider for your vow renewal ceremony:
“When we got married ten years ago, I never could’ve imagined the place we’d be now—stronger than ever and just as in love as the day we said our initial vows. I stand before you today not only to reaffirm those promises we made ten years ago, but also to share new promises for our continued future together.”
“Like many, our marriage has been full of ups and downs. We’ve broken vows and our commitments to each other have been tested, but I stand here knowing that we’ve come out the other side as better people and a stronger couple.”
“From the day we first met, I knew you were going to be important to me, but I never knew how much. As we’ve grown and changed over the years, our relationship has grown and changed with us. I made those vows to you 20 years ago as the love of my life, but I’m sharing these vows with you today as my best friend, partner in crime and lifelong companion.”
“Years ago, we pledged to care for one another in sickness and in health. We might have had little idea of the emotional rollercoaster that was on the horizon, but after many nights away from home in the hospital, I’ve never been more happy to stand before you today with new promises to uphold for as long as we both shall live.