Should You Renew Your Vows?

Ceremony & Vows
Renewing Your Vows

Photo: Zoe Lonergan

Weddings are so wonderful — from heartfelt, handwritten vows to an epic, choreographed twirl across a dance floor and family members gathered together for the first time in years — they pretty much beg for a repeat performance.

"Couples choose to renew their vows for lots of different reasons," explains Amy Kaneko, owner of Amy Kaneko Events. "For some, it's a way of marking and honoring a milestone anniversary in their marriage. Other couples may have faced a major challenge in their lives and want to reiterate their commitment to each other. For others, the reason might simply be that they never had the opportunity to exchange vows in front of their loved ones and celebrate the way they would have liked to."

Depending on why you're itching to recommit yourself to your spouse, there are many things to think over. "It's important to consider whether you want your vow renewal to be a public ceremony in front of family and friends, with a celebratory reception afterwards — i.e., a wedding part deux," Kaneko says. "Or do you want it to be a private vow renewal between you and your spouse with a more inward focus?"

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While most couples wait years to renew their vows, there's no hard-and-fast time period a couple must wait to recommit to one another, Kaneko says. "In fact, I think regularly taking the time to remember and reiterate the reasons you married each other is a beautiful thing," she says.

But if you're going forward with the whole shebang — a public vow exchange with a sit-down dinner and a 10-piece band, for example — it might be best to log a few years between each celebration. "In that case, I think it's best when a substantial amount of time has elapsed — say 15 years or more — unless there's a big reason to do otherwise, such as a spouse who is ill or another life-altering event," Kaneko says. "There are many reasons in life to gather family and friends in celebration, not just marriage."

If you decide to retie the knot, Kaneko says, there's really only one thing you have to remember: "As with all things wedding, I say, 'do what works for you.'"

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