Wedding Etiquette Forum

Vow Renewal Etiquette

My husband and I planned our wedding for February 2010.  Our infant daughter had to have an unexpected and urgent kidney surgery that we found out about two weeks prior.  We ended up immediately going to the courthouse and getting married since there was no way to continue with our plans and I think we just kind of wanted to be married in case of the worst.  

Our daughter is fine.  We're happily married.  Our families, however, have been sort of.. disappointed? with our decision, though understanding.  They've asked us about renewing our vows and it's something we'd like to do.

In my mind, we would renew our vows in front of our families, just siblings, parents, grandparents, and of course, our children.  Then we'd host a dinner.  No bridal parties or cake cutting or anything like that.  Mostly just an emphasis on vows, preferably with a priest and then a really fantastic dinner.

Is this tacky, for lack of better word?  I'm not attempting to be a bride.  I don't want gifts or a big ordeal.  I just thought it would be nice to reaffirm our marriage after the things that have happened.  I've lurked on this board enough to know that some will say we made our choice and we should live with it.  We did and we have.  I don't feel cheated out of a wedding and we made the right choice.  

If a vow renewal is not tacky, is it necessary to do it on our wedding anniversary precisely or do I have some maneuvering room?  Furthermore, should we wait until five years or some other "big" anniversary to do this?  Appreciate any feedback.  
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Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette

  • No, a vow renewal is not tacky.  Plenty of people do this.  Just make sure that you don't refer to it as a wedding or have any wedding-y aspects such as a bridal dress, bridal party, cake cutting, registry, etc., which sounds like you are leaving out.  In your situation, I also don't think it's inappropriate to have it on your one-year anniversary. 

    Glad your daughter is okay and congratulations on your marriage!
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    What you propose isn't tacky at all. I am normally a fan of waiting 5, 10, 15, etc years for vow renewals, but I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about it, particularly in your case where you didn't rush a wedding and then want to turn around and have a do-over with all the trimmings right away. It's lovely if you could renew on the wedding date but not necessary. Glad your daughter is ok!
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  • I think what you planned sounds lovely. Don't really have much else to add beyond that. :)
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  • It sounds like a nice intimate family affair. My vote is that if you can do it on or near your anniversary, great, if not, schedule it when it works best for you.

    Glad your daughter is doing well.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_vow-renewal-etiquette-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:757cbb62-12e6-45c2-a468-d779b5e8f317Post:b1c28585-9571-42b4-9ee0-6946c8a22f83">Vow Renewal Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]My husband and I planned our wedding for February 2010.  Our infant daughter had to have an unexpected and urgent kidney surgery that we found out about two weeks prior.  We ended up immediately going to the courthouse and getting married since there was no way to continue with our plans and I think we just kind of wanted to be married in case of the worst.   Our daughter is fine.  We're happily married.  Our families, however, have been sort of.. disappointed? with our decision, though understanding.  They've asked us about renewing our vows and it's something we'd like to do. In my mind, we would renew our vows in front of our families, just siblings, parents, grandparents, and of course, our children.  Then we'd host a dinner.  No bridal parties or cake cutting or anything like that. <strong> Mostly just an emphasis on vows, preferably with a priest </strong>and then a really fantastic dinner. Is this tacky, for lack of better word?  I'm not attempting to be a bride.  I don't want gifts or a big ordeal.  I just thought it would be nice to reaffirm our marriage after the things that have happened.  I've lurked on this board enough to know that some will say we made our choice and we should live with it.  We did and we have.  I don't feel cheated out of a wedding and we made the right choice.   If a vow renewal is not tacky, is it necessary to do it on our wedding anniversary precisely or do I have some maneuvering room?  Furthermore, should we wait until five years or some other "big" anniversary to do this?  Appreciate any feedback.  
    Posted by NantucketBride12[/QUOTE]

    Just to clarify... you say priest, are you Catholic?  If so, and it is important to practice your faith, you should talk to a priest about a convalidation so that your marriage is valid in the eyes of the church (since you married in the courthouse, i'm assuming you didn't already make it valid somehow, please correct me if I'm wrong).

    A convalidation ceremony could be just what you described... small ceremony, family and children, not a wedding "do-over"

    If that's not what you meant, disregard.  Otherwise, your plans sound lovely.

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  • The way you are approaching this is perfect and not at all tacky. Congratulations on your marriage, and for your daughter's health.
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  • What you have planned sounds lovely, and not tacky at all.  I'm glad that your daughter is doing well now!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_vow-renewal-etiquette-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:757cbb62-12e6-45c2-a468-d779b5e8f317Post:307032cd-24fb-42f9-8472-3fe58b711b53">Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Vow Renewal Etiquette : Just to clarify... you say priest, are you Catholic?  If so, and it is important to practice your faith, you should talk to a priest about a convalidation so that your marriage is valid in the eyes of the church (since you married in the courthouse, i'm assuming you didn't already make it valid somehow, please correct me if I'm wrong). A convalidation ceremony could be just what you described... small ceremony, family and children, not a wedding "do-over" If that's not what you meant, disregard.  Otherwise, your plans sound lovely.
    Posted by monkeysip[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yes, I'm Catholic.  I'm not really sure about doing the convalidation.  I don't really know much about it, since I've never met anyone in this position.  My grandparents are the only people who I know who have had a vow renewal, but it was at 60 years.  </div><div>
    </div><div>My husband is not Catholic though, so I know it gets thorny.  I hadn't really considered the possible issues with incorporating a priest.  I'll have to look into this.  Thanks for bringing it up.  No, it's not a valid marriage according to the Catholic church.</div>
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  • I think this is a lovely idea, honestly.  You are going about it the right way with the focus being on the vows and the marriage instead of the pretty princess day.  Enjoy.  I'm glad everyone is healthy and happy!
  • I think you are planning a lovely occasion.  I'm so thankful that your daughter is well.

    I do have a question though, and I hope it doesn't come across as snarky, i'm really just curious. . . . you mentioned that you decided to go to the Courthouse because you "just kind of wanted to be married in case of the worst."   What does that mean?  Would being married have an impact on the healthcare of a child?
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_vow-renewal-etiquette-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:757cbb62-12e6-45c2-a468-d779b5e8f317Post:0feaefd6-98bb-4116-ac8d-2e4cd7753706">Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]. you mentioned that you decided to go to the Courthouse because you "just kind of wanted to be married in case of the worst."   What does that mean?  Would being married have an impact on the healthcare of a child?
    Posted by kaos16[/QUOTE]

    I certainly can't answer for the OP, but I could see myself doing the same thing if I wasn't married to my husband and our child became critically ill.  I feel like moments like these bring life into perspective.  I'd wonder why we were waiting to be married with all the bells and whistles when our child was ill and the most important thing at that moment was family.  Just my perspective - the OP may have another!
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_vow-renewal-etiquette-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:757cbb62-12e6-45c2-a468-d779b5e8f317Post:d1c20147-e18a-4467-ad08-dc4000954cbf">Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette : Yes, I'm Catholic.  I'm not really sure about doing the convalidation.  I don't really know much about it, since I've never met anyone in this position.  My grandparents are the only people who I know who have had a vow renewal, but it was at 60 years.   My husband is not Catholic though, so I know it gets thorny.  I hadn't really considered the possible issues with incorporating a priest.  I'll have to look into this.  Thanks for bringing it up.  No, it's not a valid marriage according to the Catholic church.
    Posted by NantucketBride12[/QUOTE]

    I would call your priest and schedule an appointment to meet with him.  Even though your husband is not Catholic, you can still have a valid convalidation in the Church.  The only thing that may get "thorny" is if your H was never baptized (by any Christian religion).  Your convalidation would be very similar to your grandparents vow renewal.  You would say the same vows, have your rings blessed, and then have a final blessing.  Your H would have to vow that you will raise all children Catholic and he will not interfere with your raising the kids Catholic.  He does not have to convert.  If you would like to continue practising your Catholic faith, it would be important to have your marriage validated by the Catholic Church because as of now, you are out of grace with the Church and should not be receiving Communion at mass. 

    There is also a Catholic Weddings board, here on TK.  It's located to the left under Cultural Wedding Boards.  The ladies there are very knowledgeable and helpful.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    What you have planned sounds like a lovely occasion.

    The one thing about vow renewals is to make very clear that the occasion is not the wedding itself and that any reception following is not a "wedding" reception.  It appears that you are going to do exactly that.
  • Usually I'm not a huge fan of vow renewals, but since you're contemplating a convalidation, I think this sounds great.  In this case, there would be a spiritual and religious purpose for you renewing your vows, not just a social one (not that the social purpose is bad - it's just not my jam).  

    Call your priest and see what he has to say about it, and discuss it with your H.  Like PP's said, it would be nice to be able to do it near an anniversary, but I don't think it's necessary, especially in the case of a convalidation.  In the eyes of the Church, you are getting married for the first time - in that you are celebrating the sacrament for the first time - and that can be done whenever is best for all involved.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_vow-renewal-etiquette-1?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:757cbb62-12e6-45c2-a468-d779b5e8f317Post:d1c20147-e18a-4467-ad08-dc4000954cbf">Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Vow Renewal Etiquette : Yes, I'm Catholic.  I'm not really sure about doing the convalidation.  I don't really know much about it, since I've never met anyone in this position.  My grandparents are the only people who I know who have had a vow renewal, but it was at 60 years.   My husband is not Catholic though, so I know it gets thorny.  I hadn't really considered the possible issues with incorporating a priest.  I'll have to look into this.  Thanks for bringing it up.  No, it's not a valid marriage according to the Catholic church.
    Posted by NantucketBride12[/QUOTE]

    I'm happy to hear your daughter is well :-) I'd like to suggest you meet with a priest so he can go over your situation :-) I'm fairly certain you can receive the sacrament of holy matrimony, despite marrying a man of another faith, but the priest would know the specifics.

    I think what you're planning sounds lovely and really genuine and important. Good luck & God bless!
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