Vow Renewal?!

So, now that we've been married for 11 1/2 years, Matt and I have been talking about having a vow renewal ceremony for our 15th wedding anniversary. While we realize it's still 3 1/2 years away, it seems like an appropriate time to be considering it. Weddings, or in our case vow renewals, aren't cheap and we really want to have a ceremony we're going to remember for years to come. While there are several reasons to do this, particularly for us, we're also running into a few problems in the pre-pre-planning phase.

The first reason this is ideal for us is that we didn't have a wedding the first time. I had been married before and wanted to skip the whole ordeal and Matt didn't care one way or another. We wanted to be married, not to have a wedding, so we went to the court house in Waco, a beautiful building, and were married by a justice of the peace. We didn't even have attendants or witnesses. It was just the two of us, together, doing something special for our relationship, no overly expensive celebrations attached.

Unfortunately, no wedding means a lot of things we didn't think about at the time. For instance, we don't have wedding pictures. We don't even have a snapshot of us on that day, which is a bit of a bummer. I'd love to have something to look at, to look back, and remember that awesome day. As it stands, we simply don't have it. So having a vow renewal, which is more like a traditional wedding, would be a good way to commemorate our marriage, with pictures and those we love, and to celebrate 15 wonderful years together.

The second reason goes with the first, that is, because we didn't have a wedding our family and friends weren't able to celebrate with us. This seems like a really good reason to have a vow renewal to me. We agree on that. Also, I'd really like to give Matt the experience of having a wedding, now that we're settled into our relationship and can really appreciate what it means. When we were younger, I don't feel like we could have appreciated it the way we would now that we're older and have been together for a long time. We understand what being married means and that experience enables us to truly understand what it is to vow to love someone for better or worse.

Now for the problems. The biggest problem is that I hate weddings. I know, that sounds horrible, but it's the truth. I hate them, hate isn't even a strong enough word. I abhor them. I don't really understand it myself, but that's my feeling. It could stem from my experience the first time around, but who can say? So, having a vow renewal, which is a wedding of sorts, might be tricky. Yet the idea appeals to me; the weird thing is that I really do want to do it, despite my feelings about weddings.

Another issue, going hand in hand with the aforementioned problems is that any time I think about planning a wedding I feel sick. They cost a lot of money and I'm wondering if it's worth it. We could just get pictures made, but it's not the same thing. We should have the experience of a wedding, on our terms, the way we want one or not at all. I just keep coming back around to the question: Is it worth it? I mean, we're already married.

We also face the issue of who to invite. Of course our families would be invited, but where do we draw the line on that? If we do it at all, I would want it to be a very small affair-- As in, 30 people or less. We would want it to be personal, and private, and small. So, do I invite my aunts and cousins? Well, my Aunt Pam is a given, but what about the others? I wouldn't want to and that might cause family drama. Do I invite my husband's step-siblings? Is there really even any reason for that? Do we allow people to bring dates? Children? I think the kids thing would have to be a big fat no way. I don't like children and wouldn't want them hanging around--but then my sister has kids and how do you really exclude them? Which of our friends are to be invited and which not? How do we invite some and not others?

Oh, and then there's the whole do we have it in a church, thing. Matt and I are neither one very inclined toward religious institutions. I don't like churches, neither does he, so that would be out, but would everyone involved understand? Who's to say, really. I mean, I just keep telling myself this would be our day and no one elses, but there're still considerations to be made. I think I'd like to do it outside, in the autumn, during the early evening. That sounds ideal to me.

Yeah, I'm thinking about all of these things because if we do it, I want it to be well thought out before we even commit to trying it. I also want things the way I want them, and right now, I know how that will look. I have a vision in my head of the whole thing. I know how and what I want, and I want to make sure Matt has equal say because this would be as much for him as for me.

So now tell me, what do you think about the idea of a vow renewal? Would you do it? Do you think we should? Someone give me advice on this. I'd love to hear what others think of the idea. :)

{{PS. Yes, I realize I wrote two involved posts in one day, so don't miss the previous post, with pictures, about the vintage sewing machine!}}

10 comments

  1. I absolutely abhor weddings, too. BLECH. I refuse to attend them, I can't even watch them on TV without screaming at the TV about how sexist the whole history of the ceremony is. Don't get me started! I'm not even a huge feminist, but all the sexism in weddings bugs the hell out of me!

    Besides, it's like acting in a play and a voiceover saying, "Today the part of the bride is being played by:____________"! But then, I generally don't like traditions unless they are personal traditions, not something you do because everyone else in the world does.

    And the expense! All that money could go to more practical things. If you're going to have a big expensive party, why not have one for REAL accomplishments like getting your master's degree, or climbing mount Everest or I don't know, something big, Something you worked hard for. Something not everyone can accomplish! Getting married is too easy to warrant such a big celebration!

    Also: too many people at (most) weddings! It's especially bad if, say, the only person I know is the bride, and she has 200 (or more) other guests to entertain, so I don't get much one-on-one time with her. I don't want to go to her party and watch her talk to everyone else! If I want to see her, I want to spend REAL time with her!

    So I vote for a backyard picnic or barbecue and something really informal like that, and only inviting close friends and family that would find it meaningful anyway. Since you're already married, you don't even need an official officiant -- anyone can read the part of the judge! Or if you want a minister there, I'm sure you can find one who will come to your backyard! Maybe even videotape it so you can send copies to friends who can't make it or who weren't invited due to the space limitation. But I still vote for keeping it small so you can actually spend time with your guests and give them each individual attention.

    I love the ring picture! Where's it from?

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  2. Before I comment, I have to tell you that my laptop is about to go dead and I forgot to bring the charger home. So I don't have time to read this post. All I read was the question "Would you do a vow renewal?" (and of course it piqued my interest so now I'm typing my comment as fast as I can before my battery goes dead). My short response is, yes, I would get a vow renewal! Many couples marry young, with unrealistic expectations and fairytale-type notions of what marriage is all about. I think it's a great idea for a couple to renew that commitment to each other from a place of wisdom and maturity. The biggest difference between a wedding and a vow renewal is the latter couple actually knows what they are committing to, which, in my opinion, would make those vows more sincere and meaningful.

    Okay, so I promise I'll read this tomorrow for real. ;-)

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  3. Hubby just got off of home computer, so I finally got a chance to read this whole post! The main problem I'm seeing is that you have this desire to publicly celebrate your marriage to Matt (something you were a little cheated on before), but you don't know how to go about it without falling into all of the stressful insanity that accompanies traditional weddings. I say veer away from all of those ideas of what a wedding "should" be, and do something that is intimate and romantic, but something that can be shared with your family. Clint and I have considered going on a cruise for our 15th anniversary and renewing our vows on the ship. That would force it to stay small (only family who pays for the trip gets to come), the cruise directors do all the planning for you, and cruises are MUCH cheaper than an actual wedding. That might not be the right idea for you, but maybe think along those lines and come up with something that works for you and Matt--not for something that meets some sort of societal ideal.

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  4. From this site: http://wedding-band-ring.com/

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  5. Thanks! I've always thought we should get white-gold bands for our 20th wedding anniversary but I never actually looked into them. Now I know how much they cost; maybe I don't want them so much. I'm such a cheapskate. LOL

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  6. I looked at the rings on that site and they are really, really expensive!! I cannot believe how expensive, to be honest. You could probably find them much cheaper if you still wanted to get new bands. :)

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  7. I think you should do it...I know you won't regret it and it will give you the memory album and memories that you want...It has to be done your way tho...If you want some planning help tho I will help and you KNOW Candi will...she loves to plan anything and is actually pretty good at it! If you want to do something in our backyard that would be good...dunno how many ppl will fit back there, but, I am sure it will work!

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  8. I cannot believe it's taken me so long to respond to this. Busy and sick are a terrible combination. Thanks for the suggestions, Jodi. It's so hard trying to decide what to plan, but I know I want to do something that will suit us. When I first wrote this it said that we were married 10 1/2 years... we've actually been married 11 1/2 years! So, we have less time than I thought. lol

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  9. Thanks, Mom!! I'm thinking I'd like to do something in the fall (I loooooooooooove the fall), but then it occurred to me that our anniversary is in February. So, I'm not sure it's appropriate to do a vow renewal that isn't on your wedding day, considering it's a celebration of the marriage. Then again, part of me says that it's our celebration and we can have it whenever we want, so I don't know. Love you and if we decide to do it, we would DEFINITELY be getting your help/guidance. :D

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  10. I love the idea, walking again on the aisle and renew our vows of marriage? For me it's a way of expressing the deep love of the couple for each other.

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