How to renew your wedding vows

Reaffirm your love for one another with a vow renewal.

How to renew your wedding vows

by Emily Gilbert |

Sometimes it can seem like our weddings were an age away. So much can change over the years, that it can often seem like a new relationship entirely. What better way to reflect this than to repeat your commitment?

There are so many things to consider when renewing your wedding vows, from the venue to the rings. Hopefully, our guide to renewing your wedding vows will give you some ideas and helpful information to use when planning your second big day!

Why do people renew their vows?

If you're wondering why people might decide to renew their wedding vows (or if you should!), here are just a few reasons...

• Saying 'I do, again!' is a lovely way to put a spark back into your marriage

• To thank one another for the years you've been through

• You now have the funds to have the ceremony and reception which you couldn't afford for your previous wedding.

• You are celebrating a special anniversary such as your 10th, 25th, 40th, 50th, etc.

• To undo the hurt caused by infidelity.

When should you renew your vows?

Some couples decide to renew their vows every few years after their wedding, others prefer to renew their vows for a special anniversary. Many couples choose to renew their wedding vows after a rough patch in their marriage to show the strength of their relationship.

Portrait of mature wedding couple

How much does a vow renewal cost?

When you consider the average UK wedding costs £32,273, you might be wondering how a vow renewal compares. In 2017, MasterCard revealed that 19 per cent of Brits said they either plan to or have already renewed their vows, spending an average of £1,644 to celebrate their second wedding. Of course this doesn't mean that's what you'll spend on yours, but it can help to know a rough figure.

When working out your budget, sit down with your partner and write down what you'd ideally like to include during your renewal then workout if this is feasible with your budget.

How do I renew my wedding vows?

The beauty of renewing your wedding vows is that unlike the first time around where certain formalities are required for the wedding to be legal, your vow renewal can be exactly how you'd like it to be, meaning it could be religious, partly religious or not at all. In terms of how your renewal looks, you may want to have lots of your favourite flowers and decorations or you might prefer a simpler set-up. You might want music to play a part and can even hire a band to pay you and your partners favourite songs

Are there any legalities of renewing my wedding vows?

As you are already married, a renewal of your vows is not a legal ceremony, instead it is more of a symbolic and sentimental ceremony. This means a license or paper won't be required.

If your original marriage was not legal for whatever reason, you may want to explore a legal marriage in which the government say you need to do the following:

'You can choose to have either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony if you’re getting married. If you’re forming a civil partnership you cannot have a religious ceremony.'

'A religious wedding can take place at any registered religious building. An authorised person, such as a religious minister, must attend the ceremony and register the marriage.'

'You can have a civil ceremony at: a registry office, any venue approved by the local council, for example a stately home or hotel. A registrar must carry out, or be present at, your ceremony. You can book a registrar yourself or the venue may do this for you.'

Who can conduct the wedding vow renewal ceremony?

As the renewal of vows isn’t a legal ceremony, anyone can officiate proceedings. It is most common for a professionally trained celebrant to lead proceedings but if you want your vow renewals to be a less formal affair, it could be your original maid of honour and best man, a family member or even your children. They can write the vows or you can write them yourself.

Do you exchange rings?

Having your ring engraved is often a thoughtful alternative to buying your loved one a new ring for the occasion. A short and thoughtful word or phrase that means something to the both of you could be engraved or even just your initials. Another gesture of your commitment to one another, and if you are religious, you could have your rings blessed during a church ceremony.

couple exchanging wedding rings

Where should I renew my wedding vows?

There are lots of options - from a fancy ceremony abroad, to an intimate gathering at home. You could even relive your teenage fantasies by sloping off to Gretna Green!

Enjoy your special ceremony all over again with our pick of the best UK venues to renew your vows - and then send out your invitations!

Renew your vows abroad with a cruise

P&O Cruise ship, from Southampton, or take a Fly Cruise

Always wanted to go cruising? How about combining one ambition with a renewal of vows during your trip? For £295 you’ll get a ceremony, flowers, photographs, cake, Champagne and flutes to keep, plus a certificate signed by your captain. Available on all P&O cruises of seven nights or more.

A second wedding in pretty Cambridge

The Varsity Hotel, Cambridge

Arrive at your ceremony on a Champagne punt, and marvel at the view from The Varsity’s rooftop terrace. The hotel is newly licensed for couples who want to renew their vows in style. Colin Firth has been known to pop up here on occasion, but now it’s time for you to share a little luxury with your very own Mr Darcy. Prices on application.

Wedding vow renewal package

The Mill Forge, near Gretna Green

Renew your marriage commitment with a handy package including accommodation and a photographer so all that's left to do is relax and make some memories!

Renew your vows in a stately home

Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

For times when only the best will do, this Grade I listed stately home provides the ultimate in celebratory glamour. Throughout 2014, you can enjoy a ceremony, drinks and exclusive use of the venue for photography for £1,000 between 10am and noon. That’s right royal value!

Renew your vows in Vegas

If you fancy renewing your vows just the two of you or just a couple of witnesses, why not head to the bright lights of Vegas? From around just £150 you can renew your vows at the Graceland Wedding Chapel with none other than Elvis (ahem) in attendance where he will even walk you down the aisle plus serenade you both with two songs.

Renew your wedding vows at Gretna Green

Gretna Green, Scottish Borders

Everyone understands the appeal of Gretna. This beautiful location is the perfect place for a romantic renewal with the addition of its boutique hotel in 2007. A Gretna Green Anvil Blessing costs just £160, with dining and overnight packages also available.

Have a Strictly-themed second ceremony

The Blackpool Tower, North West England

Whether you’re an avid Strictly fan or simply love the seaside, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is a magical backdrop for a second wedding that you won’t forget in a hurry – and the views are an experience all of their own. Room hire from £1,000.

An intimate ceremony in Yorkshire

East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, West Yorks

This beautiful property is just a stone’s throw from Bradford, yet feels a million miles away. Popular with mature couples, the Great Hall accommodates up to 30 people. Ceremony plus exclusive access to hall and grounds, 9am-5pm, is £800. Extra charge to rent a golf buggy to explore the grounds!

A country retreat for vow renewals

Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell, Powys

Set on a forest hillside in the Brecon Beacons, Gliffaes is a heavenly rural retreat, designed to cater for small but special occasions. They’ve hosted several second weddings and despite the location, access is good. There’s also a ground floor bedroom available and civil ceremonies cost from £330.

Say 'I do' in a Medieval ruin

Old Wardour Castle, near Salisbury, Wiltshire

If yours is a romance that’s stood the test of time, where better to renew your vows than in this awe inspiring Medieval ruin? The beautiful open-air courtyard has a truly peaceful atmosphere.

Ceremony and drinks from £800, venue available March-November.


Renew your vows on a boat

The Inishcruiser, Loch Erne, Co. Fermanagh

Fans of the water will love a ceremony on Share Holiday Village’s Inishcruiser. A licensed venue, the boat can hold up to 57 people (including staff). Private hire available all year except Sunday mornings. Ceremony plus two-hour celebratory cruise from £750, with pick up available from anywhere on the loch.

Renew your wedding vows at home

Your home - where your heart is!

Renewing your vows doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune, travelling and weeks of planning. For a small charge – which you will need to check with your local governing authority – you can hire a registrar to perform an intimate second ceremony at home. An underrated option that might just be perfect for you!

Once you have decided on a venue, there are lots of exciting options to consider before sending the invitations out. So why not sit down with your loved one and decide how you want the next chapter of your marriage to begin?

Happy married couple

Who should I invite?

Who you invite to your special day depends entirely on the type of vow renewal you're planning. If it's small and sweet, you'll probably want to stick to just a few close family members and friends. Or if you're wanting a real party atmosphere, the more the merrier! Just be sure to keep a close eye on your budget.

What should I wear when renewing wedding vows?

Again, there is no traditional wedding renewal outfit. Some opt for a white wedding dress where some prefer to go for a cocktail style dress. You can wear whatever you feel most comfortable in.

Who walks you down the aisle?

It's completely up to you! If you've got them, you may want your children or grandchildren to escort you down the aisle. Alternatively, you might prefer to walk down yourself. Or what about walking down as a couple together?

Can I have bridesmaids at a vow renewal?

Of course! It could be fun to have exactly the same people as bridesmaids that you did the first time around (think of the comparison photos!) or you might have grandchildren or newer friends who weren't around at your first wedding that you'd like by your side.

Should there be a reception after the vow renewal ceremony?

A wedding vow renewal is a fantastic opportunity to have a celebration with family and friends. Whilst you may want to invite a long list of guests to join you before having a large celebration and party, you may just want to hold an intimate gathering with just a few of your closest family and friends. Either way, the celebration of your relationship is the perfect occasion to enjoy yourself with the people you love.

Senior married couple hugging in park

Wedding vow renewal readings and poems

You can - of course - choose any readings of poems, book extracts, Bible readings or even song lyrics which are meaningful to you. Or you might choose to adapt your original vows. But if you're stuck for inspiration, here's a poem we like:

What Love is

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies.

We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives.

For love is the creator of our favourite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams.

Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places.

And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all - one known only by those who love.

Author Unknown

Feeling crafty?

As beautiful as they are, real flowers die and if you fancy a challenge, why not think about making your own bouquet using artificial blooms? They'll look just as lovely and will serve as a keepsake of your special (second!) day.

Why not treat yourselves to a second honeymoon?

What better excuse to get away and have a holiday than to have a second honeymoon? You could visit that place that has always been on your bucket list but never got around to going to. Or why not go back to the place you went for your first honeymoon together?


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