Carried Away With Wedding Vow Renewal?

Table for Wedding Vow Renewal Party

Q:  Questions about a wedding vow renewal celebration: Is it appropriate to have 6 bridesmaids and groomsmen when renewing your vows? How about a bachelorette party and showers? Receiving gifts? Having your daughter in the “wedding:? I have a friend that is doing this after only being married less then 2 years and it is getting out of control. Already she is spending over $30,000 on this. The wedding vow renewal is taking place in six months. I really appreciate you answering my questions so I can help direct her. All her friends and family are really upset with her extravagance. Thank you for your time.
Chris E.
A:

I can certainly appreciate your concern. I’m not clear on whether your friend had a traditional wedding when she originally married two years ago; that will somewhat affect the way some of what she is planning is viewed.

If she did indeed have the full, traditional wedding, what she is proposing now would be entirely inappropriate. If that be the case, it sounds to me that, like most brides, she had such a good time at her wedding that she has become somewhat addicted and wants to do it all over again! This is simply not a reasonable expectation.

While the rules pertaining to vow renewals or reaffirmations are pretty flexible, good judgment and common sense are always expected. There is no set time requirement to wait out before renewing vows, it may done after 2 years or 32 years.

Typically, however, after a mere two years of marriage, a vow renewal would be kept somewhat private, personal and low key – no big fanfare. The exception is in the case where the couple did not have a ‘real’ wedding when they married originally. If they eloped or married with just a handful of friends present at the justice of the peace, without the traditional wedding festivities, today it is considered acceptable for them to combine a vow renewal with the type of celebration they did not have originally. And, yes, that may include attendants and many of the other elements one sees in weddings.

However, if this couple did have the traditional wedding when they married, what they are proposing to do now is highly out of the ordinary, and one could certainly argue, also in poor taste.

As for bachelorette parties and showers, these are absolutely unheard of with regards to vow renewal celebrations. Period. That suggestion somewhat contravenes the entire purpose, thought and meaning behind such events in the first place, doesn’t it?

Expecting to receive gifts at such an event, after a mere two years of marriage, would also be deemed highly inappropriate. To begin with one should never expect gifts at such a function. Even if the celebration is to celebrate an impressive 25 years of marriage, gifts are always at the guest’s option. But after two years…. In a word, NO. That would be viewed as nothing more than a “gift grab”.

Further to that, in this case, after only two years of marriage, it would only be proper for the couple to make clear that gifts are respectfully DECLINED. One typically ‘gets the word’ out on a matter like this through the grapevine or word of mouth.

From what you have conveyed regarding your friend’s plans and intentions, there is only one issue that I can see absolutely no problem with. Having her child participate in a vow renewal or reaffirmation is not at all inappropriate. Good luck!

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