Rules for Renewing Wedding Vows For 10th Anniversary

Reader Question: My wife and I are soon approaching our 10 year anniversary. Our wedding was a spontaneous thing and was done at the Justice of the Peace with my Mother and Grandmother there as witnesses. Now after 7 years of marriage and 5 kids later we want the formality that our wedding didn’t have.

I found ALOT of good information concerning “Renewing of Vows” on this site and have brought to light alot of the questions we both have.

We plan on a formal renewal. She will be wearing a white dinner dress and I will be wearing a tuxedo. I love the idea of having our oldest son, 11 when we have the ceremony, (in suit) escort my wife and our daughter, 14 when we have the ceremony, (summer dress) escort me to our Pastor.

He is were we both go into “Parts Unknown”.

Anniversary cake will be a must. She would like a tier cake, but would this be appropriate concidering this isn’t an actual wedding ? What would be the guidelines here ?

The reception we will want to keep simple. Finger foods with cake. Nothing fancy here. In fact we will probably handle the cooking ourselves and have family help with setting it up. What we are having issue with are the activities. Neither of us have attended a renewal so our only draw on this subject are actual weddings. The 1st dance, the music and the gifts. What functions would be in line with a renewal ? We both have the understanding that this is a no-gift affair and want our guests to dress comfortable. The formality is strictly for us.

Would a professional photographer be appropriate ? We had the idea of giving dispoable camera’s with paid for developing per each family. We expect to have around 100 people including children.

Soo many idea’s…

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Dear Rick in Indiana,

The party is supposed to be a party, not a reception. So, there really shouldn’t be any traditional wedding dances. You could definitely create some special ones, like everyone who has been married over five years could dance.

The cake shouldn’t appear to be a wedding cake. But, just because a cake is tiered doesn’t make it a wedding cake. As long as it doesn’t have a couple on top it should be all right. But, a sheet cake would be more appropriate.

A photographer is fine, as are disposable cameras. You could simply collect them at the end of the evening.

Best wishes,

Reader Reply

I do appreciate the speedy reply.

I think we both have the jest of it, but she mentioned wanting to get new rings. I am happy with the set we have now. Nothing fancy, but again, she wants the “Big Rock”.

Maybe you can suggest a site or even a book that would give us both better insight and maybe more ideas ?

Thank you again !!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

Honestly, there are few rules for vow renewals besides that they shouldn’t mirror a wedding. So, new rings are just fine. You could work that into your vows. Perhaps: These rings symbolize your continued commitment… .

This ceremony can be very personalized. Be creative and have fun.

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