Renewing Your Vows

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There’s no right or wrong time to say “I do,” again.

If you excitedly ran down to City Hall at dawn and promptly tied the knot three months ago, or you and your beau strolled along the petal strewn aisle of a magnificent cathedral 50 years past, the renewing of vows has no limitations.  You can now have the elaborate and grand ceremony you always dreamed of, or a low key, intimate affair involving just a few select members.  The only element that is necessary in every vow renewal experience is that the actual words exchanged, and the intent behind them, is sincere and genuine.

If you are indeed ready to carry on with a “Reaffirmation Ceremony,” here is a quick checklist you can refer to that will ensure a lovely time for all.

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Decide if it’s right for you.  Again, renewing vows is a really nice way to reaffirm your commitment to your spouse, regardless of the walk of life you’ve strolled down.  If you ran away and eloped, having a vow renewal service is not only a sweet way to share a another romantic experience with your love, but it’s nice to let other loved ones enjoy the moment as well.   Certain couples decide to “reaffirm” after undergoing a particularly strenuous time in their lives.  Others may have started out on an incredibly modest budget and now have financially blossomed and can finally finance an extravagant wedding.  The most common circumstances for married people to renew is when they hit a monumental anniversary (obviously the 20th, 25th, 30th…and so on).  These celebrations showcase to friends and family that not only does the couple have endurance, but that they are still in love and proud of it!

Find the ideal location.  Whether it’s a revisitation of the place you initially spoke the words or somewhere new entirely, the main thing is that the location just has the right “feel” to it.  Often the (grown) children of couples will have the ceremony at their homes, in a symbolic gesture that not only shows gratitude to their parents, but also confirms how their mother and father’s love has contributed to their own lives’ success.  If you’ve always envisioned a beachside wedding, a hot air balloon ride, a night in the Magic Kingdom, just remember: the sky is truly the limit.  It’s your special day; both of yours.

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Pick the perfect officiator.  Vow renewal isn’t legal in nature, therefore you don’t need a licensed person to conduct the ceremony.  Anyone of your choosing can do it.  Many couples enlist one or more of their kids to officiate, whereas younger couples may select a close friend, religious figure or even just someone (with good stage presence) who was instrumental in the couple meeting in the first place.

Choose the right guests, the right amount of guests, and the right method of inviting them.  As with all these decisions, this is totally up to you, and anyone you would like to share the experience with should go on the list (pending that the venue can accommodate the amount of people you hope to have).  Some people elect to invite everyone who was at their initial wedding; other couples may want a completely scaled down event, with only the most intimate members in attendance.  Keep in mind, this is not a typical wedding, and might not be suitable for everyone on your mind (the mail delivery person and the IT guy at work may not necessarily need to hear you and your spouse’s most heartfelt sentiments to each other).

The invite should ideally resemble a wedding invitation, only with the phrase “the reaffirmation of wedding vows” in place of ‘wedding,’ and should be physically mailed to potential guests.

Dress like you mean it.  This is an opportunity to don your finest formalwear.  Some will wear their original wedding gown and tuxedo (if they are in still in good condition, or, ahem, fit), but many couples will just opt to get pretty and handsome in more modern garb.

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Designating the Wedding Party.  This is another optional element to your vow reaffirmation.  Some elect to have the same best man and maid of honor combo from the initial ceremony, whereas others choose to have their children in their stead, good friends, or no one at all.

Skip the gifts.  The vowel renewal celebration is all about two people and their enduring relationship, not about material things.  Guests should not be encouraged to bring presents of any sort; this day is simply all about the love.

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Optimizing your ceremony.  First, you need to decide who will walk down the aisle with you.  Some like to have their children do it, but most couples will just walk down together.  During the actual ceremony, you obviously need to have new vows.  Highlighting aspects of your original sentiments is a nice touch; showcasing how you’ve kept the vows or how they have evolved over the years can be touching, humorous and all around rather delightful.

Friends and family members will often do readings, in a similar fashion to standard weddings.  These can be especially enchanting when the couple has a vast history together to cull stories of warmth and love from.

When you get to the ring exchange portion, you have a couple options.  One thing you can do is use the bands you have worn since your first vow exchange with new inscriptions engraved in them.  The more common choice is to purchase new rings.  Many couples will “upgrade” their rings (this is the practice of selling their old rings to help finance bigger/better/more stylish new rings).  This is Diamond Lighthouse’s specialty.  We have streamlined the process of getting the most cash possible for your old diamond jewelry, in a simple, secure and entirely unique new way.  More info here.

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Now let’s party.  The reception can clearly be a lot of fun.  Here’s a chance to pick any theme you desire as well, from a refined and elegant  ballroom setting to a Hawaiian cookout in someone’s backyard to an 80’s themed dance club.  This part should just be a good, fun time for everyone; you shouldn’t worry about making this too perfect.  One entertaining and poignant thing you can do is bring along your original wedding album, or even just a collection of photos from over the years, to let your guests peruse and stroll down memory lane.  Either hire a professional photographer for the event or designate one of your friends who has a “good eye” to capture all the frivolity and joy of the night.  Usually the couple will take a moment during the party to thank their guests for their support and love over the time they’ve all spent together.  This is typically accompanied by a toast – which brings us to the last detail: make sure there is plenty of champagne available throughout the night!

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Best Wishes in your Vow Reaffirmation from Diamond Lighthouse

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-Joe Leone

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