Vow renewal plans don’t need to be stressful! They should be celebratory, especially when you hit the sparkling, “silver” 25th anniversary. But how do you prep and keep etiquette in mind?
The Question: Are we within the confines of good etiquette?
“My husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in a couple of months and are planning a vow renewal ceremony. Below is a summary of details. Are we okay in terms of etiquette?”
- Hall rental with about 100 people, mostly close family. (We met at a dance in this Hall 30 years ago)
- Formal invitations (reply cards) requesting the honor of their presence as we reaffirm our wedding vows.
- An open bar.
- A Catered Buffet dinner.
- Dancing (DJ or family supplied music; haven’t decided yet).
- A cake table with a re-creation of our original wedding cake (only changing the colors from peach & white to silver & white).
- Tables set up on opposite sides leaving an isle leading to an arch at the front centre of the room.
- My husband in a tux and I will be wearing a silver evening gown.
- Tuxes or suits for our son, son in law and grandsons (?)
- Bouquet or corsage for me (?)
- Boutonnière for my husband (?)
- Corsages for our sisters, daughters, and daughter in law (?)
- Boutonnières for our son, son in law and grandsons (?)
- A table displaying photos from our wedding and the passing of years and decorated with a flower and candle arrangement in honor of the memory of our parents.
- We were thinking that once the guests were all seated, our family (us, our children and grandchildren) would walk down the centre isle to the front, ranging from youngest to oldest, in pairs, and to the song “When I Said I Do”. They take their seats and my husband and I remain standing. We have beautiful renewal vows and will exchange anniversary bands.
- The ceremony, dinner and dancing will be in one room.
- We were planning to sit at a head table with our two granddaughters seated next to me and our two grandsons seated beside my husband. This would only be for the dinner. The tables would then be moved to the sides for dancing.
- Cutting the cake is another issue. (?) My daughters and daughter in law think it would be sweet and romantic.
How does our celebration sound so far?”
This sounds like a wonderful event. Although quite similar to a traditional wedding, if you changed around a few things you will have detoured enough to fit the “vow renewal” bill perfectly. Here are our suggestions:
- This isn’t a religious ceremony, so it may be better to invite your guests by saying: the pleasure of your company, instead of using the word “honor.”
- The flowers are optional for everyone.
- The cutting of the cake is a gray area. This is a replica of your first wedding, so it is a good inclusion. But instead of the “cutting” of the cake. Why not just share a bite together as a symbol of how much you still love and care for each other?
Other Expert Answers/Advice
“A couple’s 25th wedding anniversary is a significant milestone in their lives together, and it deserves something special in the way of remembrance. Anniversary parties are always popular, but a couple’s silver anniversary is something truly special, and many couples choose to mark the day with a renewal, or reaffirmation, of their wedding vows. Whether staged by the happy couple themselves, or by their children, a reaffirmation service takes a fair amount of planning. It is more than simply a recreation of the wedding day, and there are certain matters of etiquette that must be observed.
The renewal, or reaffirmation, ceremony is wholly symbolic and as such has no real religious or legal ramifications. Therefore it is unnecessary to have a cleric or licensed official to preside at the service. Some couples like to include the priest or rabbi that officiated at their original wedding in their reaffirmation celebration, but that is wholly up to the couple in question. It is just as proper to have the couple’s eldest child or dearest lifelong friend officiate. Since the reaffirmation ceremony is not a wedding by definition, attire for the couple and guests should be casual/formal. In other words, male guests should wear a suit and tie if the celebration his held in the evening, while female guests should opt for something stylish but sedate. The wedding couple themselves should dress in a tux and evening gown, but should avoid proper wedding attire, ie not a morning suit and wedding gown. Again, these are subtle distinctions, but a renewal of wedding vows is not the same as a wedding, and should not be treated as such. ” – Belvedere Events
“A vow renewal is an opportunity for a couple to renew the vows that they made to each other when they first got married. It is a way to commemorate a love that has deepened or matured between a couple. A vow renewal ceremony is not meant to be a second wedding. Instead, it is meant to be a more personalized and intimate affair to be celebrated with close friends and family.
Instead of focusing on putting on a grand affair that’s meant to impress your guests, a vow renewal is meant to be a much more personal celebration that’s to be celebrated with friends and family.” – FTD by Design
Other Helpful Resources
- Renewing Your Vows 101
- Destination Weddings: 3 Considerations
- Walking Down The Aisle (again): Songs For Your Vow Renewal