Tips for Planning a Vow Renewal Ceremony on a Budget

A happy marriage is something to celebrate. Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce in the US, so if you can go the distance without killing each other, you definitely need to throw a party. A vow renewal ceremony is one way to do this.

Vow renewal ceremonies have been popular for a few decades now. The premise is simple. You and your spouse hold a ceremony where you renew or reaffirm your vows. You can do this in private, or make a huge celebration of the occasion. Since you are reaffirming your commitment to each other, it seems only sensible to invite family and friends along to help you celebrate.

It is entirely up to you when you decide to hold a renewal ceremony, but ten years is a good time. Really, though, any time is a good time, especially if you have been through a rough patch and come out the other side stronger and more together than ever.

Since a vow renewal ceremony is not a legally binding ceremony in the same way a marriage is, you are free to hold it anywhere. You don’t need a judge or clergyperson to officiate. Anyone will do, so ask your kids, your best friends, or a relative to do the honors. You don’t even need a ring, but a rose gold diamond ring would be a nice touch for couples who want to mark the next stage in their marriage with an extra special gift.

Some couples decide to make their vow renewal ceremony an intimate affair with just a few close friends and family in attendance. It’s a personal choice, of course, but the general rule is to keep the guest list relatively modest or costs will soon escalate. Besides, this is not a time to show off. The ceremony is about you and your relationship, so restrict guests to family, friends, and people you genuinely care about.

The following guide is all about organizing a fabulous party for after the vow renewal ceremony. Since it is expensive to hire a venue, the best option is to hold your party at home or, if you are lucky enough to live on a fabulous stretch of gorgeous coastline and the weather is amazing, on the beach.

You could even have your party at a local beauty spot. A local park or scenic area would be perfect for a small, intimate celebration. You could even go camping with some close family and friends and turn it into a weekend celebration. Camping on a budget is doable, especially if you already own the equipment. Ultimately, it is up to you and the type of celebration you envisage. In the meantime, here are some tips to help ensure your party meets everyone’s expectations.

Send Out Invites

The first thing you should do once you have decided to renew your vows is to send out some invites. If you are only inviting a handful of people, pick up the telephone and make some calls. It’s all too easy these days to fire off an email when having an actual conversation is more appropriate.

You could also print some invites. This would be a nice touch. Keep it simple with a personal design and print the finished design on good quality paper. Pop your invites in the post and ask guests to RSVP by phone.

Social media or email is the cheapest way to send out invitations, but be careful not to make the event public on Facebook, or you could end up with unwanted guests.

Decorate the Venue

You can’t hold a party without making some effort to decorate the venue. How you do this is up to you, but there are plenty of ways to create decorations without spending a fortune.
Maximize what you have. For example, if you are having a party at home, look around and see what can be done to make the area look nice. For starters, tidy up the garden, plant some pretty flowers, and clean the decking or patio.

Solar lights are a cheap way to add ambience at night. You can pick up solar string lights very cheaply at discount stores, so buy a handful of lighting packs and arrange them in trees and shrubs. Once the light fades, your garden will turn into a gorgeous fairy grotto.
Use tealights and candles to decorate the garden at night. Scented candles are also useful for keeping bugs away. Stay safe, though, and only use candles in jars or containers, so you don’t inadvertently burn the place down.

Flowers are a traditional touch for a wedding-themed celebration, but florists usually charge a fortune for bespoke floral arrangements. To keep costs low, look around your garden for blooms you can use to create a bouquet or corsage. You don’t necessarily need fresh flowers – dried flowers or even fake flowers will do. Browse discount stores for pretty fake flowers and weave them into a cute bouquet using ribbon and twine.

Look for pretty glass bottles and jars. Decorate them with ribbons and paint, and then on the day fill them with some fresh flowers from the garden. Alternatively, if you have plenty of time, buy a packet of seeds and cultivate some pretty flowers. You can plant each seedling in a small pot and use them as table decorations.


Your guests will need seating. Borrow as many table and chair sets from friends and family as you can. Use beanbags as additional seating, or if you are having your party on the beach, bring some blankets.

Food and Drink

It wouldn’t be a party without plenty of food and drink!
The best way to keep costs low is to ask everyone to contribute a dish. This can be anything from a plate of cookies to a bowl of salad. This approach works well if you have a BBQ. You could provide the steaks, sausages and chicken wings and ask your guests to bring the salad, bread, and extras.

Be creative with your food and consider having a theme. For example, if you originally got married in Cancun or eloped to Las Vegas, use this as your theme for the party. You could cook some Mexican food or create Elvis burgers with stacks of fries.

Provide a selection of drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and ask guests to bring a bottle. Home-brew is a cheap way of supplying beer and wine. You will need some time to brew a decent amount of drink, but with a few months planning, it should be easy to build a decent stockpile of tasty beer and wine. You don’t even need to bottle your alcohol – just dispense it straight from the tap.

For the kids, create some fun and fruity non-alcoholic punches. Add fruit juice, sparkling water and pieces of fresh fruit to glass bowls and let guests help themselves.

Bake a Cake

Your party will need a celebration cake. Have a go at making your own cake and decorating it with fondant icing and fresh flowers. Your cake doesn’t have to be an artistic creation worthy of a guest spot on the Cake Boss. As long as it tastes amazing, everyone will be more than happy. To cater for all tastes, make two cakes: a fruitcake and a sponge cake. Alternatively, bake cupcakes and arrange them in a cupcake pyramid.


You will need some form of entertainment. Create a playlist of your favorite tunes and play them through a Bluetooth speaker system, or ask a friend or relative to act as DJ for the party.
Do you have any musically talented friends or relatives? If so, you could ask them to play a set during the party. Classical or pop music will both work well. Just make sure the music is to your taste, as not everyone appreciates heavy metal or gangster rap.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

If you have been married for a long time, it doesn’t hurt to remind your guests of your journey to this point. Dig out your old wedding albums and show them off on the day. If you have a scanner, create a photo montage of images from your wedding and married life. Guests will love to see photographs of the good times; it creates a wonderful talking point and a chance to reflect on the amazing times you have spent together.

Do you still have your wedding video? If so, play it on the day and have fun remembering the good times. Old VHS videos can easily be converted to DVD. Put up a white screen and or project images on a wall.

Create New Memories

Ask everyone to bring a camera or camera phone so they can capture images from your special day. Encourage them to upload photos onto a shared drive so you can select the best images and use them to create a photo album or framed prints.

This is your special day, so make sure it is exactly the type of celebration you want, and if guests ask if they can bring a gift, suggest they make a donation to a favorite charity instead.

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