The exchange of vows is often the emotional highlight of your marriage ceremony, even if the details of the exchange remain rather hazy in your mind now. The end of the ceremony, however, is only the beginning of your married life. Did your first year live up to expectations? How do you intend to keep the commitments you made alive? A great way of doing so is by celebrating your anniversary as a vow renewal on the beach. What is a vow renewal and who participates? You can see one answer on our website where one of our officiants conducts a 20th anniversary vow renewal with parents and children.
So what does a vow renewal consist of? The answer is that a beach site provides a great variety of opportunities to reaffirm your love for each other. For couples celebrating their first anniversary it can be an opportunity to recreate their marriage ceremony in a more relaxed, personal manner by themselves without the stresses created by a wedding preparation. For couples celebrating several years of marriage it may represent a chance to undergo a simple, more reflective experience, often including some surprise elements, than their planned church or synagogue-centered wedding. For still others, who were married without a formal ceremony, a vow renewal may represent an occasion to have a more formal, traditional renewal to replace the ceremony they never had. And for couples with their children present, the renewal symbolizes the strength of the bond between parent and child in a loving atmosphere that provides the children with positive reinforcement of the value of a caring home environment.
So what happens at a vow renewal ceremony depends on what the participants want to make of it. In general, though, the ceremony takes place at a quiet, unmarked destination beach location (or occasionally a site marked with an arch), and begins with the officiant asking the couple if they wish to renew their vows. This is usually followed by a brief prayer or reading (secular or spiritual) that sets the foundation for the renewal of the vows themselves and what they signify. Bride and groom exchange their heartfelt expressions of love and devotion, usually written down, that capture the essence of where they’ve been, where they are, and where they plan to go in their relationship. Children, if present, are also incorporated into these remarks with parental vows expressed about continuing the family journey of love, caring and protection.
These vows are then followed by a recreation of the ring ceremony in which the officiant asks for the couple’s rings, blesses them as symbols of fidelity, and asks the couple to repeat the commitment that the rings represent. For some husbands who have been married for a number of years, usually 10 or more, this is a chance to enhance their wives’ fingers with a new ring.
Some couples with children extend the symbolism of the ceremony with a sand ceremony (see video), but most ceremonies end with a blessing of some kind by the officiant that sets the path for them on the next phase of their life together. Hugs and kisses follow all around with the couple or family crowning the day with a meal at a local restaurant or hotel and often a vacation in Paradise taking home all the memories that we at A Beautiful Florida Wedding can offer.