You might refer to it as a marriage vow renewal, a reaffirmation or simply a vows renewal.
Vow renewals have grown in popularity over the years and now account for about 10-20 percent of the ceremonies I plan or officiate. The interesting thing is that not all renewals are like Gene and Patti who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Key West on November 27, 2009. Sometimes the renewal is planned as though it were THE wedding. Couples must sometimes marry due to health insurance, tax or other reasons and are unable to invite everyone (or anyone) they intend to invite to their wedding. So over the years there have been several occasions where we've done a ceremony with all the trappings of a traditional wedding. Rehearsal dinner, elaborate ceremony for 50 to 100, lovely reception dinner following the wedding, etc. I'm not saying this is common, but it does happen. Usually the couple will spill the beans at some point during the reception or later, but this highlights what a ceremony really is. A public pronouncement of the love you share. The loving couple already know they are in love, frequently the ceremony is for everyone else. And by "everyone" I'm including the earth, sky, moon and stars. A kind stranger like me. And of course God. Vow renewals, as well as wedding ceremonies, are important in a number of ways and enjoy a special place in my heart.
The vow renewal ceremony's significance is the same, whether for 2 or 200. It is once again a public pronouncement, on the rooftops or to the coconuts and palm fronds in Key West that your love is alive and thriving...thank you very much.
I'm writing about this because I want to relay how seriously I take a vow renewal,for whatever reason. To me they are, in many ways, even more important than the wedding ceremony, because they represent a history. A stedfast love that has matured, endured and is ever more precious with each passing day. If I am so lucky to be included in your vow renewal, it is with that special lnowledge and a desire to make your vows renewal every bit as meaningful as your "first" ceremony.
So wether you are arriving by air, car, ferry or cruise ship. Wether you have only a few hours in Key West or a week. Wether you want to plan your vow renewal a year in advance or want to surprise your beloved with a private beachside ceremony just for the 2 of you. I "get it" and love that you would share this lovely moment with me and will treat it with every bit of respect, care and grace I would a traditional wedding ceremony.
"Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato