re-taking the vows

booboomoomooJuly 25, 2004

Hi All -

Ideas needed here please :) I have been married to my absolute best friend for over 7 years. We are from England but live in the States now. I would love to retake our vows on, say, our 10th anniversary, back at home in-front of guests. Do you think 10 yrs is too early to do this - should I just put this idea on the back-burner and wait for 15 or 20 years (waaaaaaaaaay off yet). I am starting to think about it now because of the distance involved and costs associated with it.

Also - how do you plan something like this - does the "bride" wear a wedding dress, or is that cheesy? Or just a simple white shift-dress or something?

Thanks for any ideas,


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Your tenth anniversary is a great time to renew your vows. I always encourage people not to put things off because you never know what life will send your way and you may not be able to do it for your 15th or 20th anniversary.

A vow renewal ceremony is symbolic, not legal, so you have great flexability in what you do. A grandfather, uncle, or friend can perform the ceremony. It doesn't have to be a judge or minister. You can make it as formal or as casual as you want. Some of my clients choose to have a big family picnic, then stand up and renew their vows. Others prefer a more formal ceremony followed by a more elaborate reception with music and dancing.

You can wear a white dress, but a traditional wedding gown is inappropriate when you have been married for a number of years. If the ceremony is casual, you can wear pants. If it is formal, you might choose a formal gown, or anything in between. Think about your ideas of the type of celebration that you would like to have with your guests, then go for it.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 1:36AM
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I think ten years is not too soon--though I'd think anything sooner would be. Personally, I wouldn't go for a "bridal" outfit an all the wedding-type rigmarole, but have a lovely ceremony and a great anniversary party.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 1:40PM
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Thanks for the input! I am thinking a nice suitor dress, and flowers to make it look a little more than a normal outfit.
I just adore my hubby, and would love to marry him all over again.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 1:54PM
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My DH and I renewed our vows on our first anniversary - mainly because our first wedding was so quickly planned (24 hours) that it just made sense to do it all again! LOL! I'd do it EVERY year if I could get away with it. I understand about being married to your very best friend. I am too!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 11:52PM
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When I was first married, I thought it would be wonderful to get married each year on our anniversary in a different state. My husband thought it was insane. But we compromised.

Original wedding was in my parents backyard, by JP on Aug 5.

Later that year, my first son was born. Our parish priest wouldn't baptise him unless we had a church wedding. So we renewed our vows that Aug 4, to keep it easier to remember.

When our 20 year was coming up, we went down to City Hall in Manhattan and did it again. Cute incident--we handed our license application under the bullet-proof glass to the clerk. She glanced at it and said, "You both have the same last name." My husband doesn't miss a beat and says, "She's my sister." The clerk says, "Okay," and passes it back to us with the official stamp on it. This was Aug. 7.

Our next "wedding" will be Aug 6. I want to get married in Las Vegas in an Elvis chapel.

I'm easily entertained.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 7:29AM
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Dian, are you saying that you applied for another marriage license, even though you were already married? And they issued it? Didn't the application ask if you were married, or some such thing?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 10:59AM
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We didn't get a new license when we renewed our vows. But we were in the same town, so maybe that makes a difference?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 11:17AM
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Getting another license is not necessary in any state, though some states will issue a certificate of renewal just as a keepsake. I am surprised that the county clerk didn't catch the application and void it (or perhaps she did, and you therefore lost the cost of the application fee).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 3:20PM
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In my opinion -- and that's all it is -- vow renewal ceremonies (the public kind, with guests) make sense if for some reason there was a very tiny real wedding, and you want the fun of all the trimmings, or if they want a religious ceremony after having a civil one -- some reason like that.

But when I am invited to what is really just a second big or traditional wedding for a couple that already had one, I have to admit that I wonder what it is they are trying to prove, and why: were they having some trouble that they have now worked through? Did they separate and then come back together? Why are they taking the same vows again -- did they break the first vows, or is something wrong with those vows? Do they just need a lot of attention that they think they can get by dressing up as a bride and groom for a second time? Are they hoping for gifts?

Now, I know that none of these reasons is yours. You want to do this as a romantic and fun statement of how GOOD things are. I only wrote the above because it's true that when I get such an invitation, that's what I wonder, especially after only 10 years (for a 50th anniversary celebration, it would be quite a different thing). So IF you think that there is a chance that some of your family and friends might see it that way, too, and IF you care about that, just keep it in mind when you make your plans. For example, if you wore a wedding gown at your wedding, I'd skip it this time (maybe if you still have that one? But I wouldn't buy another one if I were doing this). Ditto attendants, etc.

An alternative would be for you and your wonderful husband to have a fabulous 10th anniversary party. Nothing wrong with wearing a gorgeous white party dress and flowers, and nothing wrong with publicly making a romantic statement or toast to each other that would pretty much do the same thing as vows. Not to mention -- nothing wrong with another honeymoon! And then it would be really romantic for you and your husband to make vows to each other privately.

Just my 2 cents. I'm sure whatever you do will be lovely. Have fun, and congratulations on your wonderful marriage!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 3:40PM
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Hmmm - an interesting point, and certainly not a "feeling" I would wish people to have. Something to think about, anyway...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 9:14PM
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A commitment ceremony is fine, but I think it should be a private affair without all the big hooplah. I, too, would be wondering, what are they trying to prove. Once you've had your wedding, you've had your wedding. Instead, why not hold a low key anniversary party at your house after the ceremony? I have heard of these ceremonies, but would find it bizarre to be invited to one. An alternative would be to go away, (just the two of you) and do it at an island - one of those all inclusive places or something like that.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 11:43PM
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Sorry, Booboomoomoo,
Not to hijack your thread, but to answer some questions--the Manhattan judge caught the two same last names immediately and said, "This is not legal, just a souvenir."

Nowhere one the application did it ask if either of us was already married. Interesting, huh?

All my "ceremonies" were private (except I had two witnesses for church) and I wore a nice light-colored dress.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 3:46PM
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dian57 - no problame at all, all this stuff is interesting and things for me to bare in mind :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 8:46PM
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