Think about what’s changed since you first said “I do.” From kids to careers, you’ve been by each other’s side, and, in addition to a few wrinkles, you have experiences that make them worth it. As you look back, why not take the time to celebrate? Thirty years and three kids later, here’s how to say “I (still) do,” part two:
Who to Invite
Similar to planning a wedding, the size of your guest list can determine the size of your celebration. Are you dreaming of an intimate affair or a blowout bash? For a small and special gathering, opt for just close family and friends who have known you throughout your years together. If you’re up for a social spree, consider hosting an extended circle of family and friends including second cousins and work acquaintances. A reunion with these cherished chums can remind you of the many life experiences you’ve shared as a couple.
Tip: While it’s customary to invite your original wedding party, there’s no need to assign attendants this time around.
What to Wear
Without the expectations of a traditional wedding, you can wear whatever you please to your vow renewal. For an informal ceremony on the beach or in the backyard, choose a flowy white or pink dress and a simple but sweet flower like peonies for your bouquet. If you’re hosting a black-tie event, opt for a classic cocktail dress, formal evening gown or even your original wedding dress—if it still fits. In this setting, opt for a more traditional wedding bouquet like all white roses.
Tip: If you do decide to don your original wedding dress, consider changing into something less delicate after the ceremony.
When to Celebrate
Vow renewals are a symbol of your continued commitment to each other. They are usually held to commemorate a milestone anniversary (like 25 years) or mark the end of a difficult time (like a long illness). However, in reality, anytime is the perfect time to celebrate. Many couples renew their vows as a way to memorialize milestones (like becoming first-time grandparents).
Tip: Whenever you choose to host, remember to send invitations at least six to eight weeks before the scheduled event.
Where to Party
It’ll depend on the size and style of your ceremony, but know that any place that has sentimental value is a good place to start. A few ideas include:
- A backyard BBQ
- A picnic on the beach
- Dinner at your favorite hotel or restaurant
- A cruise
- Ceremony at your childhood church
- A garden party
- Where you were first married
Why Say I (Still) Do
It’s an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to each other and rekindle the romance in your marriage. Additionally, it’s a chance to celebrate with friends and family who weren’t around for your original wedding day—like your children! Make it a family affair and include your kids in the ceremony. For example, ask your son to accompany you down the aisle, or have your daughter-in-law recite a reading. Grandchildren can act as flower girls or ring boys.
Tip: Make the day less about stress and more about making memories with loved ones.
How to Host
During the ceremony, consider recalling some of your original vows while reciting new ones. A combination will represent your past, present and future together as a couple. Before exchanging rings, consider having new engravings printed on the inside of your original bands or upgrading to rings that symbolize the reaffirmation.
Tip: It’s common to have a ceremony and reception but not bridal showers, registries or other wedding-related activities.