Couples decide to renew their vows for a range of reasons, often it's to mark a significant anniversary, sometimes there has been a period of estrangement or difficulties and they want to remind themselves of the importance of their wedding vows. Sometimes it's just a great excuse to get frocked up ,have some friends around and have a party!  These ceremonies are a little more relaxed than wedding ceremonies and as the relationship has a history of achievements and highlights and possibly some struggles as well, the personalised content in the ceremony is a very important consideration in crafting a ceremony that reflects their life  together to this point and their hopes for their partnership in the future.

Some sample vow renewal ceremonies:

Mick &  Ella

Mick and Ella celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary - to the day - by renewing their vows in Currarong, where they honeymooned. 

Welcome everyone to this very happy- in fact rather momentous occasion –  the celebration of Mick and Ella 50th wedding anniversary and the renewal of their vows.Today offers us all the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the important things in life – friends, family and love – and in this case enduring love -  because  it was 50 years ago today that Mick and Ella stood together before the Reverend Alan Walker in the Wesley Chapel – which by the way burnt down exactly a week after their wedding – and exchanged their wedding vows.

Mick and Ella obviously took these vows very seriously because half a decade later here they are, still happily married, having stuck by each other through the better and the worse, the sickness and health,  the richer and quite a lot of the poorer - ready to exchange rings and renew their promises for the future but before we move on to that future let’s reflect a little on the past and how we got to be here at this celebration today.

Finding the love of your life is rarely something that can be planned. There are so many “what ifs” involved in any relationship  and the fact that 22,000 kilometres – an entire world – originally separated Mick and Ella from each other makes the odds of their even meeting each other quite remarkable.

Luckily Ella and her families move from Holland to Australia in 1945 closed  that distance and improved the odds a little.

Not many couples can say they fell in love over the books at a gun shop but this is what happened when Ella started work at Spencers. Mick was on holidays for the first few weeks of Ella’s employment but on his return he was drafted to assist Ella with the books.

This was a very demanding job but one he was more than happy to take on. This may be because Mick liked book work but it’s far more likely that he had already noticed that Ella was quite obviously what he describes as “a good sort”.

Ella says she was attracted by Micks demeanor, she found his quiet manner was very appealing but she thought it unlikely that such an attractive man could be single and that he must be taken.

Fortunately he wasn’t and we have the gun shop books to thank again for their first date. One night Mick told Ella they’d been working on the books for too long and it was time for a break and he suggested dinner at the Journalist’s Club.

From that first date they’ve never really looked back.

Their courtship started in the whirl that was the October 1962 Waratah Festival where Mick managed to impress Ella by always getting sought after invitations and the best seats for events though his family connections.There was also time spent in Ella’s little flat in Bellevue Hillquite a few brandy lime and sodas and some good clean fun in a large double bath in Vaucluse which -  theoretically - could comfortably contain two young people in love.

However life wasn’t all frothy soap suds and brandy cocktails, there were a few hurdles to be overcome.

Ella’s mother didn’t approve of Ella’s choice of an uncouth Aussie male husband – and it took 40 years for Mick to finally win her over!  

Mick’s parents however were delighted – “About bloody time!” his dad said when they announced they were getting married.

Ella and Mick’s path has not always been easy “We did it bloody hard for the first 10 years” Mick says but it is with real affection and humour they talk about the days of living on 15 quid a week, their first home in McElhone St, sourcing furniture from Cheapside in Taylor Square and even the old second hand Silent Night refrigerator is remembered fondly.

There was very little money for extras – Mark was dressed from second hand shops and Ella taught herself to sew making Victoria 's clothes.

Despite the difficulties in stretching out that 15 quid, Ella says the house in Darlinghurst was the first time in her life she ever had a real sense of home.

“We’ve added to each other”, Mick says of their life together  “No two ways about that”.

Their path, like most marriages, has not always been an easy one but it is one they have always taken together.  Asked why they think their relationship has endured and thrived they offer a few reasons.

Tolerance is one.

Their children another.

Mick says “Because she loves me

They both say it’s because they have stuck together through thick and thin.

Both agree that it’s because they’ve never had any real rifts.

Mick says this is because he’s always caved in.

Ella thinks this is probably true.

Whatever the reasons,  50 years on here we are in beautiful Currarong, the site of much happiness –including honeymoons and family holidays and even the occasional 10 quid windfall at the club– and now the place where Mick and Ella wil renew the promises they first made to each other half a century ago

I’m now going to ask everyone to play a part in today’s ceremony. The youngest grandchildren, Angus and Charlotte will now pass Mick and Ella’s wedding rings amongst you. When they come to you – please take a moment and hold the rings tightly in your hands and make your wishes or blessings for Mick and Ella.

Mick, 50 years ago, you took Ella to be your lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, for better and  for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Do you now reaffirm that vow? I do.

Ella, 50 years ago, you took Mick to be your wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Do you now reaffirm that vow? I do.

The rings please.

(Exchange of rings)

Mick and Ella, these rings containing the blessings of your family are a token of your love and commitment to each other. Wear them as a pledge of that love and a symbol of all that you have shared and all that you will continue to share.

Today you have reaffirmed your commitment to each other in marriage in the presence of those you love best.

Mick, you may kiss your wife.

 

Jane and Darren

Darren is possibly THE most romantic man in the world. He organised this surprise vow renewal for his wife Jane to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Their children sang and played music and read a few words, it was very much a family occasion and Jane was totally blown away that Darren would do something so wonderful and arrange ceremony, venue, catering and rings all by himself)

Welcome everyone, we are gathered here today to celebrate with Janey and Darren as they reunite in marriage.

This is a joyous and momentous occasion because it acknowledges their commitment in deep friendship and love. This is not a new union, but one that has been tested, matured, and evolved over time. With this knowing and understanding of each other, Darren and Jane have decided to reaffirm their commitment to spend their lives together.                         

Jane and Darren, this partnership has allowed you to grow and become aware of yourselves as unique individuals, united in love, and it is here today that we honor this - the beauty and strength of your love, that you each respect the individuality of the other, allowing the freedom that is necessary if we are truly to be ourselves.                                                                              

 Jane and  Darren were both raised in Kareela in the Sutherland Shire. Darren says it was only a matter of time till they met at a function at Kareela Golf club with mutual friends.They hit it off straight away but there was a small sticking point being that Darren was a little younger then Jane. So he made a deal at the next weeks basketball match if he  scored a three pointer she had to go on a date to the movies with him.   Jane felt safe with the bet as she had seen Darren play basketball. Anyway as fate  would have it the goal went in and as they say the rest is history.  

They moved out of home back in 1991 to a nice unit in Ramsgate and were married on the 16.1.1993. The same year they  moved into their first home at Holsworthy and settled into a new home in Woronora Heights in 2006.

Darren and Jane have had all the love, challenges, laughter, tears, quarrels, compromises and most all fun from a new and 20 year marriage.

Darren says "Jane and I just get each other, we are best friends and soul mates, I am the luckiest man in the world. I know I am a better man today from the words of wisdom, support and the occasional kick up the bum and I love her more and more every day.”                                                                                                            

Darren and Jane have four beautiful children, Emily was born on 25.3.94, the twins Matthew and Hayden were born 4.7.95, and Dominic was born 17.9.99. With the kids you have experienced joy, incredible hardship, laughter, battle of wills, playfulness, pain and agony and incredible pride that makes you cry and plenty of love. As they have grown from babies to teenagers and matured from young adults to adults you have always been incredibly proud of them and the way they hold themselves, the love you  feel for them is never ending.

I’m now going to invite the children to say a few words.(each of the children came forward and said a few words about their parents).    

Darren please reaffirm your vows by repeating after me:  I, Darren, take you, Jane to be my wife, my lover and my friend, the one I will live with, laugh and dream with. A life, to be lived with love, honesty and trust, to communicate fully, to care for you and to share all I can, that so we may grow together and as individuals. This is my promise for our life together                                                       

Jane please repeat after me. I, Jane, take you, Darren to be my husband, my lover and my friend, the one I will live with, laugh and dream with. A life, to be lived with love, honesty and trust, to communicate fully, to care for you and to share all I can, so that we may grow together and as individuals. This is my promise for our life together. I give you this ring as a never ending symbol of our love.

Darren and Jane, this loving relationship which you promise today to continue to nurture will be for you both, and for everyone whose lives you touch, a blessing. May the gifts of a happy life - the joy of love, the peace of truth, the wisdom and strength of spirit, be your constant companions, now and always. Darren you may kiss your Janey.


Ted and Elsa

Family and friends, 20 years ago today Edward and Elsa stood together in St Philips Church in Sydney and exchanged their vows in marriage. Shortly, they will renew their vows and once again exchange rings - the eternity rings that their son Taylor is now holding. Taylor will pass these rings amongst you, and as each guest holds them in their hands, we ask that you make your wishes for Edward and Elsa's future happiness.

Ted and Elsa met through work, it was a gradual process of getting to know each other, anticipating "accidentally" bumping into each other in the elevator - Ted has since revealed he spent a lot of time hovering in the foyer - and just happening to have their coffee breaks at the same time. Eventually Elsa took matters into her own hands - something she is known for - and invited Ted to a movie. It must have been a bad movie or an exceptional first date as neither can remember the title.

While it was a slow take off there was no stopping them from there. Edward's toothbrush and razor became a permanent fixture in Elsa's flat soon after. This arrangement continued for some time, Ted eventually moved his records in too, his only regret was having to leave his beloved beer fridge and football poster collection behind with his flatmates.

Two years later, on this spot, Edward proposed. The wedding remains a beautiful blur. There were concessions made to family wishes, both would have preferred a simple ceremony and Elsa also regrets her promise vow to "obey" and admits this is not a promise she has kept.

Today, Ted and Elsa are doing it their way and have invited you all to share this celebration. Today is obviously an important family affair and their sons Dylan and Taylor and daughter Kika are here. Only Dylan - at two months of age - managed to make it to the first ceremony so for the others this is quite new. Kika would now like to read this blessing which she has chosen for the occasion:

Wedding Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the hope with which we expect the morrow, for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth.

and Dylan has chosen this reading: May God bless and keep you always, May your wishes all come true, May you always do for others, And let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung, May you stay forever young, May you grow up to be righteous, May you grow up to be true, May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, Stand upright and be strong, May you stay forever young, May your hands always be busy, May your feet always be swift, May you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shift. May your heart always be joyful, May your song always be sung, May you stay forever young.

This is a very happy day, Ted and Elsa stand before us to declare and celebrate their love and their years of marriage. Their path, like most marriages has not always been easy. Nevertheless they value their commitment and happiness, and this renewal. They believe that they were meant for each other.

Edward, before your family and friends, do you affirm your love for Elsa and reaffirm your decision to take her as your wife? I do.

Elsa, before your family and friends, do you affirm your love for Edward,and reaffirm your decision to take her as your wife? I do

Facing each other, please hold hands and repeat: In the presence of family and friends I declare my love for you and seek blessings for our continued relationship. I will continue to love you, care for you and consider you before my own needs. I will trust you, be honest with you, in good times and in difficult times too, I will rejoice when you are happy and comfort you when you suffer, I will continue to share your hopes for the future and work with you to achieve them. in all this I promise, now and in all the days to come.

Edward, please place this eternity ring on Elsa's finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring, it comes with the blessings of our friends and is a token of my love and commitment to you. Wear it as a pledge of my love and a symbol of all we share.

Elsa, please place this eternity ring on Ted's finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring, it comes with the blessings of our friends and is a token of my love and commitment to you. Wear it as a pledge of my love and a symbol of all we share.

With these words you have set forth on the next phase of your lives. Move forward with the confidence that you do not travel alone. You have reaffirmed your commitment to each other, you have a life-long companion who knows you and accepts you as your are. This is one of life's greatest joys and compliments. You have reaffirmed your commitment to each other in marriage in the presence of those you love best. We wish you every happines, today and throughout the rest of your marriage. Edward, you may kiss your wife.

 

Suzy and Chris

We are gathered here today to celebrate with Suzy and Chris as they reunite in marriage. This is a joyous and momentous occasion because it acknowledges their commitment in deep friendship and love This is not a new union, but one that has been tested, matured, and evolved over time. With this knowing and understanding of each other, you have decided to reaffirm your commitment to spend your lives together.

This partnership has allowed you to grow and become aware of yourselves as unique individuals, united in love, and it is here today that we honor this - the beauty and strength of your love, that you each respect the individuality of the other, allowing the freedom that is necessary if we are truly to be ourselves.

How can you be married without losing your individuality? How can you maintain your individuality without distracting from this unity? The answer is to be found in the unconditional love, which you have found with each other. In love you surrender yourselves, each giving yourself to the other but you do not lose yourself in the other; you find yourself.

Suzy and Chris have chosen a reading from Elizabeth Bowen on the nature of lasting love, their daughter Justine will read it for us: Through the years we have learned a lot about each other, and we have grown together. We have learned about forgiveness; It takes two understanding people to accept one another's faults and still find it in their hearts to forgive each other and forget old arguments. We have learned about friendship; Friends stick together, they're always truthful to each other and always comfort one another in times of turmoil. Most of all, we have learned about love; It is something that takes time and after all our time together our love has never been stronger.

This loving relationship which you promise today to continue to nurture will be for you both, and for everyone whose lives you touch, a blessing. May the gifts of a happy life - the joy of love, the peace of truth, the wisdom and strength of spirit, be your constant companions. .. now and always.

Gary and Meg

Gary and Meg, today is your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary - your silver celebration. One of your major responsibilities during these years has been nurturing and raising your children and tonight, when you renew and reaffirm your marriage vows to each other, you can happily look back on the achievement of raising a family and anticipate all that this new era in your life will bring.

It will be a time when you can concentrate on developing your love for each other, freer than you have been from the struggle to become established in life. Tonight is a night when you reassure each other that your marriage has been built on deep loyalty and loving trust and demonstrate your belief in marriage and in the immense happiness to be discovered in the husband and wife relationship.

You have achieved much together, four happy children, three grandchildren, a successful business, a rewarding career, a home that is full of laughter and love. The stresses of the past have not weakened your love but have made your more determined to work together and now you will exchange your promises for the next 25 years - and beyond.

Gary: 25 years ago I Gary took you Meg to be my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. This day I reaffirm that vow.

Meg: 25 years ago I Meg took you Gary to be my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. This day I reaffirm that vow.

Gary: Meg, With this ring I reaffirm that we are wed. Take it and wear it as a pledge of my love, of all that we have shared in the past, and all that we will share in the days to come.

Meg's sister Tess will now read from Louis de Berniere's Captain Corelli's Mandolin on the nature of lasting love: Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.

Gary and Meg have declared, before me, before all of you, their family and friends, the people they love best, that they will continue to live together in marriage. They have made special promises to each other. These have been symbolised by the joining of hands, the taking of vows, and the presentation of a ring. I call upon all present here today to witness with me this reaffirmation. I declare that they have been, and will remain, husband and wife.