How to Plan a Wedding Renewal of Vows Ceremony

Some couples choose to renew their vows to commemorate a milestone anniversary, reaffirm their vows after a rough patch in their marriage or to have their dream wedding if they couldn't the first time around. Planning a renewal of vows wedding ceremony is similar to planning a wedding. There are differences, of course, since you are actually legally married already. Plan the ceremony with all of the details that are important to you and your partner.

Set a date for your renewal ceremony. This is typically your anniversary date or another meaningful date to you, such as the date of your first date or the date you met. If you eloped or got married away from home, the renewal ceremony could be as soon as you return home.

Secure a location for the ceremony. Your backyard, the beach, your house of worship or any other place you want to host your renewal ceremony is OK. Choose a place that is meaningful to you.

Determine the formality of the event and your guest list. Renewal ceremonies are usually reserved for really close family and friends; although inviting everyone you both know is acceptable if you had a small wedding the first time. Completely reenacting the first wedding is also acceptable, with the same attendants and everything. The renewal ceremony can be an intimate, casual event or a formal gala.

Send invitations to your guests. The wording is similar to wedding invitations, except the hosts are not typically named since the couple are usually the hosts. For example: "The honor of your presence is requested at the renewal of the wedding vows of Sarah and James Jackson" Follow that with the location, date and time.

Ask family or friends that are important to you if they'd read a poem or verse, play a song or sing during your ceremony. Involve your children or grandchildren with a candle or sand ceremony or have them walk or stand with you. If you're recreating your original wedding, ask your original attendants to stand with you. Involve the people that you want involved as the purpose of the vow renewal ceremony is to celebrate your love.

Acquire an officiant. The officiant doesn't have to hold any legal authority because the renewal ceremony is not a legal act, which means your mom, best friend, sister or cousin can officiate. It's OK to have a religious officiant if you want to.

Purchase your wedding attire, or have your original wedding apparel cleaned. If you want to wear the clothes from your original wedding, that's okay. Otherwise, purchase a nice outfit that matches the location and formality of your renewal ceremony.

Write your wedding vows. Repeat your original vows or write new ones that include a story or memory that truly conveys your feelings. For example, explain why you are happy to marry your spouse, again.

Pick out new rings for the vow renewal ceremony, or have your original rings engraved with something new, such as the date of the renewal or "I love you Take two."

Plan the decorations and food for your reception. The celebration can be as simple as a backyard barbecue or as elaborate as a seven-course sit-down meal served at the finest restaurant in town.