Vow Renewals

Vow Renewal Ettiquette is the most confusing thing I've ever researched

So I'm a little confused.  It appears that the good majority of people on this site have issues with a couple throwing themselves a wedding-like ceremony for a vow renewal (even in the first post on this board about proper etiquette for a vow renewal).  But when I first started looking at ideas for a vow renewal one of the first articles google pulled up was this one, posted right here on this site: 

http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-ceremony/articles/how-to-renew-your-wedding-vows.aspx

This article really looks like it's saying, no you can't re-register for a ton of gifts or anything, but it is your day to do what you want.  It even mentions formalizing an elopement.

My husband and I didn't exactly elope, but I was pregnant with our second child, and I was dropped from my insurance and needed to be added to his.  Not the greatest reason to get married, I know, but that is the truth of our situation.  We booked a time slot at one of the little chapels downtown (we live in Vegas), and I wore the only dress from Dress Barn that we could afford at the time, and we had the only 2 people we knew come as witnesses (despite having his dad and step mom out here, they couldn't be the ones to attend because it would create jealously with the rest of the family because they were having some drama at the time).  Really, the whole thing was terrible, and while I love the fact that we're married, I look back on that day with nothing but regret.

Despite starting out really young, we have made it through severe financial problems when the economy collapsed (including almost losing our house), we have made it through almost getting a divorce, and are now stronger than ever, and he has survived my many collapses into depression over the years due to mental issues I have.  We've made it through all this and more over the past 8 years, so for our 10th anniversary we'd like to plan a do-over wedding (sorry, not sorry) to celebrate that we've overcome all this, and to celebrate it with our family there.  I'm not thinking the whole first dance, dad walks you down the aisle thing necessarily, but something more than just the two of us. Something outdoors, I want to wear a wedding dress, though not a formal style one, with a decent party afterwards to celebrate.

And on a side-note, I didn't know that wedding "do-overs" were such a big deal because only 1 person in my family DIDN'T do it that way.  They got married just the two of them, than threw themselves a wedding later on with the family.  I always assumed it was more common place than the internet is now leading me to believe.
deannabob77mrsdweaver

Re: Vow Renewal Ettiquette is the most confusing thing I've ever researched

  • First of all, congrats on being headed to 10 years of marriage and wanting to celebrate all that you and your husband have gone through.

    You are right. It is confusing. I have seen what you've described and I get it. (I also read the article you linked and have referred to it here as well.) I also have seen a lot of posts that imply that a ceremony that looks like a wedding when you are already married is bad. But when I look at them closer, I think I have figured out that two main things are really offensive to most. 1. Pretending you aren't married and lying to your guests and 2. Implying that your first ceremony wasn't "real" or special enough because no one was there and/or it didn't include the "traditional" wedding aspects like a bridal gown, bridal party, reception, etc....

    That being said, some people do feel that they "missed out" and that is just the honest truth. There are many scenarios where couples have private ceremonies and those close to the them (parents, other family members, best friends, etc.) gladly welcome them to have a "wedding" later. They encourage it and sometimes beg the couple to do it. Of course, in many cases, the couple really wants that at some point for themselves also. In these cases, whether it's a year later or 10 years later, the ceremony looks very much like a wedding and it makes a lot of people happy for many reasons. I posted some sample vows last week that sum it up nicely. While this is not my personal experience, I understand wanting to re-commit to your spouse in the presence of special people in your life that were not there the first time.

    Sure, people take issue with women who say, "I want the wedding I never had," because it's semantics, and you will hear, "But you did have a wedding." Deep down though, they know what you mean!

    The boards will surely be helpful to you but they will always be confusing in some ways, too. You will read a post where someone says you can't wear white to your vow renewal but then you will read one where someone says a guest can wear white to a wedding. LOL  (I never see much about not wearing white to your wedding if you aren't a virgin but maybe it's out there. ;) ) Then there are brides who don't wear white at all. Light bulb moment: You can wear whatever color you want to your wedding or your vow renewal. My point is that some of it gets silly. But that's because you are reading a lot of varying opinions about many things.

    Enjoy planning what sounds like a very special day for you, your husband and those that have supported you.

    EunoiaPhoenixKnottie1438625430
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown
    Moderator 5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    I think their note about formalizing an elopement is beyond rude. People, such as myself, made a conscious decsion to elope. There was an obvious reason for it, so a couple should stand behind the decision. I stand behind my elopement 110% and it was just as formal as any other wedding since it is was a legally binding ceremony, led by a celebrant, where we exchanged vows and rings. 

    If I were ever to consider a vow renewal, that, too, would be private. 

    The most important thing in planning a wedding or vow renewal is that once you invite guests, the focus shifts to being the best host you can possibly be for your guests. This means avoiding doing anything that can be perceived as crass or rude and making the guests feel as comfortable as possible since they are making time for your special event. You may have some very old fashioned guests who will think it's ridiculous that you are re-doing a wedding when you've been married for 10 years, but would love to attend an anniversary celebration. Hence, that is why most people on this site err on the side of caution when providing etiquette advice. Tradiotnal etiquette shows that vow renewals are scaled down events from the original wedding- no gown, no attendants, no special dances, etc. If you didn't have a traditional wedding the first time around, the party side of things may be much more extravagant and that is totally fine. Big celebration parties are not looked down on.

    One thing to keep in mind is that The Knot is a big cog in the wheel of the wedding industry. They are here to make money off of your wedding and vow renewals. Of course they are going to suggest you plan something elaborate that mimics a traditional wedding! They want you to throw as many "weddings" as you want! To be honest, I was shocked to see that they said to NOT register for gifts! One big no-no, however, is their reference to a bride and groom. Once you're married, your husband and wife and planning a vow renewal does not change that. 

     







    OliveOilsMom
  • @Jells2dot0- Great points about the wedding industry.

    I think this is one of those topics that people (myself included) get more insight on (or at least different perspectives) by being on sites like TK. I never did any "research" on vow renewals unless you count Pinterest. lol

    When I got married, there were 10 guests. No one from my family. Not a private ceremony or an elopement but definitely quite small and intimate. I loved my wedding. I have never regretted it or wanted a larger affair. But I have a host of family members and friends that have always expressed their regrets about not being there. I feel 100% sure that if we had a large renewal (50 or so people would be large for us), it would be a great event that they would all want to attend. They know me and know that I wouldn't spend the time or money on something like that just for attention or to buy a pretty dress. And most importantly they know how much I value my marriage and they've witnessed the ups and downs of the last ten years. Many have proven their support for us over time.  My own hypothetical scenario is the general vantage point that I returned to TK with.

    So, then I came here and learned about PPDs and saw comments like, "No one will tell you this but the people you are inviting to your vow renewal will secretly think this is silly." I just can't connect that with what I have always thought it would be like for me, if I were taking this route.

    When my two best friends found out H and I were planning a vow renewal with just the two of us, they were extremely hurt and basically said, "If we find out where you are doing it, we'll be there." Long story, short, we are still doing it alone. But I kind of suspect more people will have wanted to attend the renewal as well.

    There are endless scenarios. Everyone's story is different but it just takes a lot for me to judge anyone's choice to have a vow renewal. There is a list of detail aspects that I personally wouldn't do but I give most people the benefit of the doubt as to their intentions behind the renewal itself.


  • Lots of people have not-so-great wedding days.  That doesn't mean you get a do-over.  However, a ten year wedding anniversary celebration sounds like a great idea.   Go for it!  Just don't try to turn it into a wedding.
    Oh, the Knot advertisers don't always have the best etiquette advice!  Hail the almighty $$$.  Try this:



    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    OliveOilsMom
  • My family and friends response on Facebook was to hell with etiquette, and if I wanted to throw the biggest party and wear the poofiest dress I wanted, they'll be right there with me.

    That being said, I don't want a poofy dress or anything.  I already know I want it by one of the little lakes at Floyd Lamb Park here in Vegas because it's one of our favorite places to go as a family.  I plan on wearing a wedding dress...just something more informal, like a shorter dress.  My two kids will be the ones walking down the aisle (or whatever you have lakeside), and my husband and I will be writing our own vows to each other this time around.  And I plan on having all my family members there that can make it out to share that moment with us.

    It will essentially be a celebration of our wedding (like I said, totally a common occurrence in my family, though no ones made it 10 years before).  I don't care that people on the internet think it's tacky.  My husband made a good point.  Do we have to get a divorce and remarried just to be able to have that special moment with our family and friends?  Absolutely not.  We've been through too much for too long, and this will be OUR moment to celebrate, and like I said, everyone said they will be there to support us.

    And I trust their comments of support a lot more than all the comments I see on this site about how everyone will be secretly giving us the side-eye because it doesn't fit someone else's mold.

    Now trying to have a do-over and being tacky would be me trying to go to a prom because I never went to mine in High School :P
    mrsdweaveraleighbakerEunoiaPhoenixKnottie1438625430
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown
    Moderator 5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    The posters who get the most side-eyes on here for vow renewal are those who do it within a year or two of legally getting married. Those are the people who usually want a do-over because of finances or felt their wedding wasn't good enough. Those are also the posters who usually haven't told the truth to their loved ones about the fact that they are already married. A vow renewal celebration at 10 years or beyond- go for it! A vow renewal at a year because "now I have money and can be a real bride"- eh.

     







    AddieCakeOliveOilsMom

  • The posters who get the most side-eyes on here for vow renewal are those who do it within a year or two of legally getting married. Those are the people who usually want a do-over because of finances or felt their wedding wasn't good enough. Those are also the posters who usually haven't told the truth to their loved ones about the fact that they are already married. A vow renewal celebration at 10 years or beyond- go for it! A vow renewal at a year because "now I have money and can be a real bride"- eh.
    Point very well taken.
  • My husband and I will be married for 20 years on September 17, 2016 and we are having our Vow renewal that day. we got married at the jop and it was a beautiful ceremony with just me and my husband and the judge. our Vow renewal is more like a wedding I guess except for there's no money dance, throwing of the bouquet even though so many of my single friends really want me to throw my bouquet at them lol no father and daughter dance, no Gardner toss, we will start the dancing off to our favorite to tim McGraw song its your love). I know im not wearing a white dress i hate white lol. Not sure if i will get some side eyes or not but i really dont care. It's will be our special day and I want to celebrate the fact that we stayed married for so long. Sorry this post is so long.
    CMGragainmrsdweaverWildMagelet
  • faeryelfin go for what you'd like. My husband and I are going to have a huge celebration with our family for our anniversary (less than 10 years) and I was highly skeptical of it because of the MANY posts online advising against it so early. I kept taking the concerns to my husband and he advised me to stay of TK!lol but here I am yet again. 

    Our marriage, like yours has not been easy and only in such a short amount of time, but I don't regret the privacy of our wedding; I do regret not having a nice dress though and not taking any pics. My family hasn't had any vow renewals so I'm sure they don't really know about them and how they work. The family members I have spoken to are completely open to making it however you'd like since it is your vow renewal and they're excited to see what it'll be. Our intimate wedding was also quick and completely unplanned (we were planning a huge wedding, then decided to run for the hill together lol) so we didn't get the pre-marital counseling we were advised about so I will also be incorporating words of wisdom from the patriarchs and matriarchs of our families into our vow renewal.

    Many aspects of a wedding will be incorporated, but not ALL (we want our traditions and religion to be included since our wedding did not have those things). Point of this whole thing is, your family seems to be used to wedding-like vow renewals so if that happens to be you guys' thing, then go for it (I'm not), but don't let the confusion of websites to keep you from having any anniversary, or big day (including birthdays), of yours from being as fantabulous as you want! 

    Congrats on overcoming the many obstacles of your marriage and the upcoming 10 year milestone! I hope you guys have MANY more great years!
    destinationtake2EunoiaPhoenix
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited November 2014
    My family and friends response on Facebook was to hell with etiquette, and if I wanted to throw the biggest party and wear the poofiest dress I wanted, they'll be right there with me.

    That being said, I don't want a poofy dress or anything.  I already know I want it by one of the little lakes at Floyd Lamb Park here in Vegas because it's one of our favorite places to go as a family.  I plan on wearing a wedding dress...just something more informal, like a shorter dress.  My two kids will be the ones walking down the aisle (or whatever you have lakeside), and my husband and I will be writing our own vows to each other this time around.  And I plan on having all my family members there that can make it out to share that moment with us.

    It will essentially be a celebration of our wedding (like I said, totally a common occurrence in my family, though no ones made it 10 years before).  I don't care that people on the internet think it's tacky.  My husband made a good point.  Do we have to get a divorce and remarried just to be able to have that special moment with our family and friends?  Absolutely not.  We've been through too much for too long, and this will be OUR moment to celebrate, and like I said, everyone said they will be there to support us.

    And I trust their comments of support a lot more than all the comments I see on this site about how everyone will be secretly giving us the side-eye because it doesn't fit someone else's mold.

    Now trying to have a do-over and being tacky would be me trying to go to a prom because I never went to mine in High School :P
    I think you are confusing etiquette with wedding tradition.  Etiquette is the rules that govern how you treat your friends and family.  If you have a proper vow renewal ceremony and reception, there is nothing wrong with it.  If you plan to charge your guests for their food and drink, yeah, you have an etiquette problem.
    Huge etiquette no-nos:  Do not lie to your guests about your marital status.  Do not pretend that you never had a "real wedding".  Do not pretend to be a bride.


    About "that special moment" - don't be disappointed if you don't feel it.  Many ladies have reported that they just didn't feel it at their vow renewal ceremony.  Several regretted spending the money on it.  I hope you have a great experience.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
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