We Still Do! | What happens at a Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

After ten or twenty years or more, maybe a couple kids, several house moves and everything that life throws at you in between your wedding may seem like a distant memory. Your wedding photos might look dated, and perhaps it wasn’t the kind of ceremony you’d choose today. Maybe you don’t like the dress anymore, and some of the guests you hardly see at all these days. Don’t worry! One of the great joys of life is that we continue making fond memories – and that’s why at Humanist Ceremonies we think couples should continue to celebrate enduring love.

Humanist wedding celebrant Lauren Stone is here to tell us what happens at a humanist wedding vow renewal ceremony.

A humanist vow renewal ceremony gives you a chance to recreate the magic from your original wedding day in your current life, and perhaps combine it with a special wedding anniversary.

The ceremony can be a lot of fun and normally fairly relaxed – certainly less pressure than a full blown wedding with lots of suppliers to coordinate, a huge guest list and all those nerves!

Your partner and you have proved that you’re in this for the long haul, so what better excuse for a party than a celebration of your marriage and your lasting love for each other, in front of your favourite people.

It’s a chance to include your friends and family, perhaps your own children, and express your appreciation of them within the bespoke ceremony script.

Humanist celebrant Lauren Stone with Rachel and Joe

Last summer, I led the celebrations of Rachel and Joe on their ten year wedding anniversary outside in the sunshine at the Hotel Du Vin, Henley. It was an informal affair in front of 40 of their closest family and friends. Most of the guests had been there celebrating together ten years previous, but not all of them, for Rachel and Joe had picked up lots of new friends in the previous decade that were now important to them.

The ceremony included a reminder of the wedding day ten years prior: how it was a heatwave that had ended in dramatic thunderstorms, how the lobster tasted so good, how the bride never left the dance floor, and how the groom himself got a little worse-for-wear. Lots of nods and smiles from the audience as they remembered the special day too.

I told the personal story of Rachel and Joe’s lives over the last decade; what happened after their wedding, where they had travelled, changes in jobs and home, the story of how they had two sons, and where their marriage is at right now.

Rachel and Joe had written personal vows for their original wedding day, so we re-worked those slightly and when they read them again, ten years later, there was not a dry eye in the house. Their wedding rings were passed to them by their sons; they exchanged them again, repeating the words ‘we still do’ as they did so.

Their son William, aged six, wanted a role on the day. He had a few words he wanted to say but most importantly he wanted to declare his own love for his mum and dad. I did a few practises with him before we started, and he delivered his speech brilliantly, to much joy from the audience.

It was a truly special and memorable day for everyone. Rachel and Joe said:

‘We wanted to mark our 10-year wedding anniversary with a celebration… Whilst we loved our wedding, looking back it felt that it lacked a personal touch. When we discussed celebrating this milestone we really believed that we wanted not only an opportunity to express our love but to have someone talk about our relationship elegantly (something we didn’t trust ourselves to do). 

‘Lauren was able to portray how much we mean to each other in both a loving and humorous way. She spent the time to understand what 10 years meant to us and she involved all of our friends and family in the process. It was a truly beautiful ceremony, better than our original ceremony and vow recital (something I didn’t think possible). I would highly recommend her to anyone thinking of celebrating a wedding renewal; a truly memorable day in which she described our love story so beautifully.’

With a humanist vow renewal ceremony, couples can have the opportunity to celebrate the fact that they’re very much still in love, adding the personalisation and depth they may have missed the first time around… and bringing all the new, important people in their lives along with them.

Humanist wedding ceremonies

You can find out more about humanist weddings on our website.

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Featured celebrant

Lauren Stone is a wedding celebrant based in Walthamstow, East London but  she’s happy to travel all over for weddings. You can follow Lauren on Instagram.

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Photo by Claire Penn

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