PACIFIC NORTHWEST, seattle based

What You Need to Know About Vow Renewals + 5 Unique Ideas

One question I get allll the time from my past couples: “Should we have a vow renewal?” My short answer: YES! Having a vow renewal is one of the most special ways to celebrate your journey together after your wedding day, no matter when, where, or how you choose to do it. This blog post is dedicated to everything vow renewals, including FAQ’s about vow renewals, what to wear to your vow renewal, & 5 unique vow renewal ideas. Read on to start feeling confident in planning your own vow renewal!

why renew vows

A quick disclaimer: a lot of the articles I’ve seen on the internet about vow renewals have some pretty set “rules” and “do’s/don’t’s” – which I’m personally not a fan of at all. How your vow renewal looks is completely up to you, and everything I tell you is merely a suggestion – not what you’re “supposed” to do. Don’t pay attention to what those articles on the internet tell you – YOU make the damn decisions here 😉

why renew vows

8 FAQ’s About Vow Renewals

What is the purpose of renewing vows?

I like to think there are two purposes to renewing your vows:

  1. To have a second chance at the intimate, elopement-style day that you always wanted (and didn’t get)


  1. To celebrate your journey through life together over the years, no matter the wedding day you had

Some folks who decide to renew their vows want to do so because they didn’t quite get the wedding day they wanted. And some decide to renew their vows simply because they want to celebrate, whether they loved their wedding day or not!

why renew vows

I’ve unfortunately spoken to so many couples who have regretted not having the type of wedding day that THEY dreamed of. Maybe they felt outside pressure to have a certain type of wedding, finances at the time didn’t allow for all their visions to come true, or something else got in the way (COVID, anyone?). No matter what your original wedding day looked like, vow renewals serve as a second chance at the wedding day you’ve always DREAMED of. Especially if that dream was/is an intimate celebration with only the people you love most, watching you commit to each other!

unique vow renewal ideas

Vow renewals are for everyone who doesn’t feel like they got the intimate moments or the dress they wanted. For everyone who couldn’t celebrate with the ones they loved due to circumstances like COVID-19. And for everyone who wants to reflect on their time together since their marriage, and celebrate how their love has grown + evolved.

unique vow renewal ideas

When do you renew your vows?

You can renew your vows whenever the hell you want! I’ve seen couples renew their vows after 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years.

There’s no set time frame you’re “supposed” to renew your vows; there are no required milestones you have to hit before you can renew them. Instead, you should simply renew your vows when you feel like your love has grown + evolved in a meaningful way that you want to celebrate.

unique vow renewal ideas

Or renew your vows when you’ve gone through some hard seasons of life together, and come out stronger on the other end. Maybe you’ll decide to renew your vows once you’ve added some kids (human or animal) to the fam, or when you’ve made some big career changes that have affected your relationship for the better.

It’s all up to you, my friend – you can renew your vows whenever your heart desires, and as many times as you’d like to!

bride and groom

Is a vow renewal worth it?

YES! Renewing your vows doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars re-creating your wedding day (although it totally can if you want it to). Your vow renewal will be “worth it” if it’s meaningful to you & your partner, and celebrates your love in the way that YOU want it to. 

unique vow renewal ideas

Do you walk down the aisle at a vow renewal?

You can def walk down the aisle at your vow renewal, or say screw it and just find a spot, stand there, and renew ‘em! There isn’t a set rulebook for vow renewals (as much as some articles on Google might make it seem like there is): if walking down the aisle would feel meaningful to you, do it. If hiking to a pretty mountaintop spot & renewing your vows at the end of your hike, without “walking down an aisle” would be meaningful, do it. The decision is yours, my loves!

bride and groom

Do you need witnesses for a vow renewal?

Vow renewals aren’t legal wedding ceremonies, so nope! There’s nothing legally binding about renewing your vows, so you can totally invite guests to watch if you’d like – but no need to have official “witnesses” who are present to sign anything.

creative vow renewal ideas

How long is a vow renewal ceremony?

However long you’d like it to be! Your vow renewal ceremony may just look like the two of you giving a brief vow recitation, or maybe you have a few friends/family members say something. Maybe you have some sort of special unity ceremony or activity you do during it. Whether your vow renewal ceremony takes 5 minutes or 30, the length of time doesn’t change the meaning behind it 🙂

creative vow renewal ideas

Do you have a maid of honor/best man/wedding party when you renew your vows?

It’s up to you! If it would be special to have your best friend by your side just like they were on your wedding day, or to invite a new friend along to support you, then hell yeah you should do it! Or if you’d rather your vow renewal be totally private & just you and your partner, you can do that, too. If you’re inviting guests, only invite the people who will support you & who you love most + truly want to be there to celebrate with you.

why renew vows

What color dress/suit/outfit do you wear when you renew your vows?

I’ve seen some articles on Google that say to NOT wear a wedding dress – who tf gets to tell you what to wear/not to wear?? 

There are NO set rules about what colors, outfits, accessories, etc. to wear when renewing your vows. Whether you want to wear your original wedding attire that you wore on your wedding day, you want to wear a new, more casual wedding dress/suit, you want to wear a colorful ballgown or unique designer piece, or you want to wear everyday clothes, DO IT. Wear what makes you feel comfortable, confident, & like your best self – feel free to get creative with it!

why renew vows

Below, you can see that Madelyne chose a simple white dress that resembles a wedding dress, but with a much more casual feel to it. She added a veil & stylish white boots along with it to create a playful, casual, yet still fashionable “bridal” look! And Zach rocked a burgundy suit with a floral shirt – but no tie, which kept it a little more on the casual side.

For Brandi & Travis’s vow renewal, Brandi kept it more on the bridal side with a lacy, form-fitting white dress that still allowed her to move around freely & totally showed off her shape. Travis went casual with a loose-fitting shirt, pants, and sandals – which were perfect for this coastline vow renewal!

why renew vows

5 Unique Vow Renewal Ideas

1. Bring your kids along (both human & animal)

If you’ve made any additions to your family since your wedding day (whether that’s kids, dogs, cats, you name it), bring them along to your vow renewal for a special day to make memories together! It’ll be so meaningful having them by your side as you celebrate your journey together over the years, and you can have them involved in the ceremony by having them say something, stand by your side, or even help you decorate.

romantic vow renewal ideas

2. Go back to your original wedding location

If you loved your original wedding location & want to incorporate some nostalgia into your vow renewal, hold your ceremony there! Whether it was at a venue, a park, or some random spot in the mountains, head back and find either the exact same spot or a spot nearby to renew your vows.

romantic vow renewal ideas

3. Find a brand new location

If you’d rather find somewhere new, brainstorm some places you both want to go, and start dreamin’! Maybe there’s a national park you’ve been dying to visit together, or you’ve desperately been wanting to go to a certain country but couldn’t because of COVID – make it happen for your vow renewal.

4. Hold your vow renewal in your home

If you want to make your unique vow renewal super special & personal, consider having it in your home! My guess is that since your wedding day, you’ve created a beautiful home together (or multiple homes) where you spend most of your time, and that feels very meaningful to the both of you. Clean up your home a little and hold your ceremony there for an intimate, personalized ceremony in the place you love most!

5. Hire a team of vendors to help you out

Vow renewals can be as simple or as complex as you’d like them to be! One way to make sure your dream vow renewal is brought to life is by hiring some vendors to help you out. Whether you’d like to hire a planner to help you bring the event together (no matter how big or small), or you’d love to have somebody to your hair & makeup, or you want to have an epic bouquet with you on the day-of, do itttt. There are no rules about how many vendors you can/can’t hire for a vow renewal!

And there you have it, my loves! Now you know that there are truly no rules when it comes to vow renewals, despite what the internet may tell you. Vow renewals are a beautiful way to reflect on your time together since your original wedding day, no matter what you choose to do. When you’re ready to hire a photographer to capture your meaningful unique vow renewal, I’m your gal. Happy planning!

romantic vow renewal ideas

More Elopement & Engagement Resources

Looking for more elopement & engagement-related resources to help you with your planning? I’ve gotcha covered!

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning Your Dream Wedding

Complete Guide to Planning a Mount Rainier Elopement in 2022

Uplevel Your Engagement Photos in 3 Easy Steps

We’re Engaged – Now What? 5 Things to Do After Getting Engaged