Vow Renewal Question: I am trying to format my renewal program but do not know how to word it or what order things should go in.
The ages of my children are 11, 6, & 4. They want to do a reading, like a poem or a passage. My cousin will do a reading (not sure what type yet), and my children are going to present us with items to symbolize our ten years of marriage. So, any ideas on how to word my program or what order things normally go in when planning a vow renewal? I do not want anything too long – just something simple.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now:
Dear Wording a Wedding Program,
I’m a bit confused. You are married and have been for 10 years and you are planning a wedding for yourself? Do you mean a vow renewal? We don’t typically have vow renewal programs. I suppose you could though. It is just very important not to confuse the vow renewal with a wedding. It shouldn’t appear to be one, as it appears improper. Please read more about vow renewal etiquette to avoid any social faux pas and embarrassment.
If you plan on using a program, you could simple state that your children, oldest to youngest will recite… The same would be appropriate for your cousin. Then you could mention something about the presentation.
Vow Renewal Expert answered:
Vow renewal ceremonies can be similar to a normal wedding, but doesn’t have to be. Obviously, your vow renewal ceremony is the most important piece of your vow renewal! Vow renewal ceremonies tend to differ based on whether the ceremony is religious or civil and contains several important parts. When you create your vow renewal program, here’s the order:
- Processional – This is the start of the vow renewal ceremony and is basically where you and your spouse walk down the aisle. If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved. Have them play an important part. In terms of order, it is typical wedding order, first both sets of parents, then attendants, then your children.
- Greeting – After the processional, the officiant welcomes the guests to the ceremony. This greeting can be as simple as a short thank you to the guests for coming or as more involved with a reading or a brief history of your marriage.
- Exchange of Vows – The vows are the emotionally part of the vow renewal ceremony. This is where you and your spouse will reflect upon your years together and make or renew promises to each other about the life you’ll lead in the years to come. We recommend writing your own vows if you can, here are some good tips for writing your own vow renewal vows.
- Exchange of Rings/Gift Following the vows, you should exchange any rings, gifts or other items you may have organized.
- Pronouncement – Unlike a wedding, you’re already married so this is where the officiant will say a few nice words about love and life and the sanctity of marriage and your renewed commitment to each other.
- Recessional – The recessional is the exact opposite of the processional. You and your spouse will exit down the aisle together first, followed by the rest of the attendants and your parents. The recessional marks the finish of the vow renewal ceremony.
Once you have the order of the event, you can then create programs. Programs provide your guests with information about the ceremony, and they are a great vehicle for you to provide additional information about your wedding party, you and your husband and other important details about the most important part of your big day. You can also use the program to share some history about your marriage with some cute tidbits throughout. If you need help creating your actual program, check out this Free Wedding Program Templates and Ideas from our sister site.