vow renewals

By Gabrielle. Photo from a lovely vow renewal shot by Studio B. Photography.

As I mentioned, last month was our 20th wedding anniversary. Twenty years seems like a solid number and earlier this year, we talked about maybe having a vow renewal to mark the day. But when I started picturing what that might look like — who would come, where we would have it, would I wear a wedding dress? — I came up a bit blank. I’ve never actually been to a vow renewal, and can’t think of anyone I know personally who has done a vow renewal, so the only images that come to my mind are things I’ve seen in wedding magazines, or on Pinterest. (Those images are lovely by the way!)

My first instinct is that I love the idea of vow renewals! For us, the pros of a vow renewal would be things like a good excuse to invite everyone we love to a big party, a chance to have a redo on wedding photos (alas, we only have a couple of images from our wedding day — a story for another time), and we like the idea of doing something intentional to celebrate each other and our marriage — we work hard on our marriage, and marking major milestones seems like a good way to help keep it strong.

But there are cons too. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel pressure to travel or use vacation days for a party like this. A party that seems “optional” for us to throw. (I know a wedding reception/party is technically also optional, but it feels less so to me. Probably because it’s such a long-standing established tradition.) Also, like any event, a vow renewal would require time, effort and expense (especially if I wanted to make it as pretty as all those inspiration photos). Would we rather take a trip instead? I think I also feel a general awkwardness about have a gathering that could potentially feel very “look at me! look at me!”.

The funny thing is, even though I have those worries for our own someday-vow-renewal, if friends invited us to theirs, I would feel nothing but joy and excitement for them! And I would be honored to be invited. Which makes me think my worries are ultimately silly.

I’d love your thoughts on the subject. Do you see yourself ever having a vow renewal? Or have you had one already? (If yes, I’d love to hear your favorite parts!) Is there a specific anniversary that you feel is the best fit for a vow renewal? 10 years? 50 years? And would you favor a big event or something really small? (I read about this family who did a vow renewal and it was just for themselves and their kids — a party of four.)

Do you see vow renewals as a chance to try party ideas you didn’t get to use at your original wedding? Or maybe a chance to publicly honor your spouse and say nice things about him or her? Overall, do you favor the idea of vow renewals, or feel that they are definitely not something you’d want to do? I’d love to hear!