Real Brides Share the Special Ways They Renewed Their Vows

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As the stories below highlight, publicly recommitting your undying devotion after experiencing the trials and joys of everyday life is even more romantic than the wedding day!

“My husband and I have been married for just over three years. We had a traditional Catholic service for our wedding. We decided that every year after our wedding, we would renew our vows, and have stuck by that promise. For our first year anniversary, we renewed our vows on the beach. On our second and third year anniversaries, we finished our running workouts (we both run professionally) and renewed our vows in two different parks in San Diego. Each anniversary has been an opportunity to share with each other what we have learned in marriage, and embrace why we love each other and made the initial commitment.” —Natasha

“At about five years of marriage, we had a vow renewal ceremony, which was more like a wedding than our actual one, since we’d eloped! We decided on this ceremony because we had been through so much (my severe illness, multiple losses trying to conceive our second child, etc.) and yet our commitment was just as strong as on Day One, if not stronger. We rented out the carousel building on the Santa Monica Pier, had a very close friend officiate (and sing!), invited about 100 friends and made it lots of fun with a photo booth, carnival food trucks, dancing, and of course, unlimited rides on the carousel! It was amazing and one of my most treasured memories.” —Kira

“We had vow renewal ceremonies at five years with three small children with us, others at a few odd years in between, and at 25 with all six of our kids. A Catholic priest does the renewal vows, and there is a blessing for the couple as well. It's always a happy occasion, yet also a solemn reinforcement of our commitment. The ceremony always makes the kids happy to know that their parents are serious about sticking it out, despite the bumps and less than perfect moments. One thing that really stood out to me even at five years is that the union is the constant, despite what other changes occur. Babies are born and grow older, parents/aunts/uncles have died since the wedding, and friends come and go... Our three little people who didn’t exist at the wedding surrounded me at the five-year renewal. The friends that were at our 25th celebration were all "new" since our wedding day. For me, a vow renewal is all about acknowledging the accomplishment so far, embracing the "now" and moving forward.” —Ellen

“My husband surprised me with a vow renewal ceremony for our 25th anniversary. We had planned to visit Pennsylvania State where we met – and Duke – where we married while he was in law school. We were fortunate enough to get to the chapel at exactly the time when we married 25 years before. The Judge who taught my husband in law school officiated. It was so emotional and loving and meaningful.” —Annie

“We had a vow renewal ceremony at our 10 year anniversary and plan to do so again for our 18th. We wanted to do a very private ceremony with our rabbi to remind us of our commitment to one another. Life is a journey with many obstacles, but we are committed to our marriage and one another and we just wanted to recite our vows as a reminder.” —Laura

“Shortly before our 10th anniversary we asked one another, ‘If I had to do this all over, would I marry you again?’ The answer for both of us was, ‘Without a moment’s hesitation.’ In honor of our undying love, we decided to have a vow renewal ceremony in front of our friends, family and children.” —Pam

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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