Vow renewal checklist: senior couple with their family at a restaurant

Every couple who’s been married for years knows what a beautiful accomplishment it is to stay together and in love. Marriage requires daily dedication, and unions that stand the test of time deserve to be celebrated. One way you can pay tribute to your marriage and reaffirm your commitment is with a vow renewal ceremony.

To help with the planning process, we’ve put together this vow renewal checklist. Whether you choose to host a small soiree or a large bash, this guide will help you tie together all the different planning strings. It makes for an easy, stress-free way of hosting a vow renewal event.

Vow Renewal Checklist: 5 Can’t-Miss Steps

Vow renewal checklist: married couple kissing

Below, you’ll find an easy-to-follow vow renewal planning checklist. It’s designed to take the guesswork out of planning and make it easy to host a vow renewal celebration. You can also peruse our party planning checklist for more ways to organize your celebration.

1. Choose a Location and Date: 6 Months to One Year in Advance

The first step in planning any event is choosing a location, date, and time. Sit down with your spouse and decide on a date and venue. A popular option is to renew your original vows on the same day as your wedding anniversary. If that’s not possible or you simply prefer another day, pick a date that has meaning to you as a couple and one that’s easier for guests to attend (for instance, a weekend versus a weekday). 

In terms of a venue, consider your budget, the venue capacity, and available amenities. For some couples, an outdoor space is of utmost importance. For others, having gorgeous architectural elements is key. If you’re planning a larger event, you may need to book the venue up to a year in advance, so call and visit a few places to determine which spot will work.

2. Make a Guest List, Send Save the Dates and Invitations: 2–10 Months in Advance

A vow renewal guest list doesn’t have to be as involved as a wedding guest list. Typically, couples invite close friends and family members to attend.

Once you know when you’re having the vow renewal, you can start sending out invitations. For larger celebrations or destination renewals, sending save-the-date cards is a good idea. These should be sent 6–8 months before the celebration to allow guests enough time to plan and prepare. 

Much like a destination wedding, destination renewal invites should be sent earlier — about 8–10 months in advance to allow for travel and accommodation bookings. For more casual celebrations, you can skip sending save the dates. 

Vow renewal invitations should be sent two months ahead of the big day even if you’ve chosen to skip save the dates. In your invitations, be sure to include the date, time, and location of the vow renewal in addition to an RSVP section. You can also include a dress code, a link to your vow renewal website, and any other pertinent information.

3. Book Vendors, Entertainment, and Officiant: 2–4 Months in Advance

Now it’s time to book any vendors, entertainment, and your officiant. Your officiant can be a close friend, family member, or local clergyperson. The vow renewal officiant doesn’t require a license so it can be anyone you’d like. Just make sure to choose someone who speaks well in public and knows you as a couple. 

You also want to look into booking any vendors who will play a key part in your big day. For instance, will you serve a full dinner after the ceremony or stick to finger foods and appetizers? Do you want to serve a wedding cake? Will there be dancing and live music? Consider your budget and how you’d like to celebrate after the ceremony.

Here are some vendors you may have to book:

  • Photographer and videographer
  • Party planner or wedding planner
  • Caterers and cake bakers
  • Florists and decorators
  • Musicians, DJs, or entertainers
  • Hair and makeup artists

Depending on the type of party you’re hosting, you may not need most of these vendors or you may need all of them. Think about what’s important to have at your vow renewal party and plan ahead when it comes to booking. Book at least 2–4 months in advance to ensure the vendors can work your event.

4. Choose Your Look: 1–2 Months in Advance

Now that you know what your vow renewal day will look like, consider how you and your spouse want to look. Wedding dresses and tuxedos are not required, so have fun deciding on your ensemble. In general, it’s best to match your attire to the formality of the event. If you’re hosting a fancy evening vow renewal, consider cocktail or formal attire for your vow renewal dress code. If you’re hosting a casual backyard affair, you can wear more casual clothing.

5. Write Your Vows and Select Readings: 2–4 Weeks in Advance

Writing new vows is a key part of vow renewal ceremonies. After all, that’s why you’ve gathered everyone together for a celebration! You can write entirely new vows as a couple or re-read your original wedding vows and add updates based on where life has taken you. 

You can also incorporate more unique activities in addition to your new or original vows. Think about planting a ceremonial tree that you can watch grow alongside your love. Alternatively, you can incorporate cultural activities like a tea ceremony (Vu Quy) and candle lighting for Vietnamese vow renewals. 

Tips for Pulling Off a Memorable Vow Renewal 

Vow renewal checklist: senior couple celebrating their vow renewal

Armed with your handy vow renewal checklist, you’re ready to plan the perfect celebration. There are a few things you’ll want to consider when planning the party. From etiquette and the guest list to walking down the aisle, here are some tips for pulling off a beautiful vow renewal ceremony.

Consider Etiquette

While there’s a long list of etiquette rules for wedding ceremonies, the list is far shorter for vow renewals. The main thing here is to remember that this is a vow renewal, not a second wedding. Don’t have a full wedding party with grooms and bridesmaids and skip the bachelor or bachelorette party. Instead, have one or two friends stand with you as best man or maid of honor if you’d like. Or opt to have your children come up and stand beside you. 

A Note on Gifts

Don’t expect gifts or create a gift registry. At a traditional wedding, gifts are given to the happy couple since they’re just starting their lives together. But for vow renewals, the couple is already established so gifts are not required. That said, some guests will choose to give you a sentimental tribute, like a letter, toast, or keepsake. 

Guest List Advice

Invite your closest loved ones. In general, there’s no need to invite anyone you haven’t spoken to in a year or more. Also, stick to inviting colleagues who you also consider friends. Vow renewals tend to be intimate ceremonies so it’s best to limit the guest list to people who know the couple well. 

Walking Down the Aisle

At a traditional wedding, the bride and groom walk down the aisle with their parents. For a vow renewal, walk down the aisle with your spouse instead. You can also choose to have children or pets accompany you down the aisle. 

It’s still a good idea to write your own vows, just like you did on your wedding day. This is the perfect time to reaffirm your love for one another and honor the time you’ve spent together.

Don’t Forget Gorgeous Vow Renewal Invites

When it comes to invites for any magical affair, Greenvelope is here to help. We offer a huge selection of digital vow renewal invitations. From sophisticated designs to light-hearted creations, there’s something for every vow renewal. Here are a few of our favorite vow renewal invitations.

Half Arch Invitation

Half Arch Invitation

Design: Claudia Owen

Announce your vow renewal with this gorgeous modern invite. Customize the design by changing the typography and color scheme to fit your vow renewal checklist details.

Stacked Still Do Invitation

Stacked Still Do Invitation

Design: Ringleader Paper Co

This dreamy vow renewal invitation calls on guests to help you celebrate that you “still do” love and honor one another. It’s understated and elegant, making it perfect for most vow renewal events. 

20 Milestone Heart Invitation

20 Milestone Heart Invitation

Design: Jen Montgomery

Celebrate 20 years of marriage with this metallic vow renewal invite. The template is also available in other years including 10, 25, 30, 40, 50, and 60. 

Metallic Touch Invitation

Metallic Touch Invitation

Design: Lissa Anglin

Have friends and family join you as you say “I do” again with this shimmering invitation. The soft, watercolor background is enhanced by shimmering gold foil and modern typography. It’s casual and cool but can be customized for a more sophisticated air.

Celebrate Your Long-Lasting Love

A vow renewal party is your chance to celebrate your love story. Now that you have this vow renewal checklist and vow renewal ideas, you’re sure to have a memorable day. Plus, you’ll always be able to find gorgeous digital invitations right here at Greenvelope. For even more party planning tips, don’t miss our Stationers blog filled with advice on etiquette, decor, and everything in between.