Renewing Your Vows

Renewing Your Vows, by Sandra Berry, Los Cabos Magazine – Issue #12.

You’ve decided to renew your wedding vows on your 25th anniversary. After you get over the initial euphoria, have called all your friends and family with the good news, and started thinking about all there is to do, the realization of the work involved in planning the occasion sets in. If you really think about it, planning a celebration that includes the reaffirmation of your wedding vows is similar to planning a wedding. Start early. There are details, details, details—such as finding the right caterer, deciding on a menu, choosing the cake and how you want it decorated—and that’s just the caterer. You also have to find an engraver for the invitations, a florist for flowers, musicians, a minister, etc., etc., etc.

Following are a few suggestions to help you handle all the work involved in the planning process.

Start planning as soon as possible (even if your spouse doesn’t know about it yet—he will eventually.) In my case, as the big day approached, I decided he would agree to the ceremony if it included the surprise that his best man from our original wedding would be flying in from Canada. Sure enough, he was delighted that we were renewing our vows.

Thanks to the internet, ordering invitations, printed napkins, personalized balloons—even a tuxedo for the dog––is just a click away. If you’re lucky, a good friend comes to the rescue with an offer to help with the decorations.

As for protocol, unlike a formal wedding, there is very little tradition to this event, so you can plan your renewal ceremony exactly as you want it. Have your sons and daughters as attendants and gather all the grandkids around. Some couples choose to duplicate their original wedding service as much as possible. Invite as many of the members of the original wedding party as you can find. Some women who never got to wear the long, white gown and veil the first time, decide to go for it at a renewal of vows ceremony.

As you plan your ceremony, be sure to find someone to whom you can delegate all the last–minute details. That way, when the big day arrives, you can take some time for yourself. Book a manicure, pedicure and facial, if possible, in addition to getting your hair done. Take my advice on this one. On the day of my own renewal ceremony, an hour before the guests were due to arrive, I was running around in a panic trying to find somewhere for someone to fill balloons for the reception. Also in my case, everything went off like clockwork thanks to the caterer. She even helped me get into my dress.

Once our guests were all seated, my husband appeared in his white tux looking every bit as handsome as he did all those years before. We exchanged vows—this time using words we ourselves had written. Our minister then surprised us by asking us to put away our written notes and to “say what was in (our) hearts.” What a special moment! All the aggravation we’d gone through planning the ceremony evaporated right then.

I felt like a blushing bride when the minister said, “You may kiss your wife.” It was a beautiful ceremony, and I am so happy we decided to follow through with it. We reaffirmed our love for each other and shared that moment with those dear to us. After the ceremony, I noticed some of our guests holding hands, so maybe we started something.

Maybe I might plan another again in ten years. I don’t think I can wait another 25.—Sandra Berry