Was stress one of your wedding guests? When you’re planning a vow renewal ceremony and celebration, you can be much more realistic and selective about your guest list. In fact, you can be much more relaxed about everything: the venue, the dress, the menus, flowers, entertainment.
This time around, it really is just about being together (perhaps with new generations involved) and celebrating you and your sweetheart at the center of the family. If it helps, think of your vow renewal event as a family reunion—with your ceremony as one of the bonding activities.
The Best Ideas to Keep Your Wedding Vow Renewal Simple and Sweet
The San Francisco Bay Area offers a generous range of venues and locations for you to host your vow renewal ceremony—from park settings where you’ll be responsible for furnishing and decorating the space to all-inclusive venues that allow you to relax and focus on family and friends. No matter where you plan to renew your vows, here are some tips and ideas to help keep things stress-free.
1 Keep the Theme Casual
Married life helps to put things in perspective. If you labored over the small details leading up to your wedding, you’re probably not interested in doing so this time around. Instead, catch the easy San Francisco vibe and let this vow renewal event be all about fun memories and togetherness.
<> If your celebration will be outdoors, you could plan around a “Garden Growth and Renewal” theme. Let the natural blooms and colors take care of some of the decoration for you. Bring little pots, a bag of soil, and some flower seeds for the kids to plant their own flowers. Teach them how to care for their young plants when they take them home after the party. You could even invite all of your guests to bring a bouquet or potted plant to the event to add to the garden-inspired setting.
<> Or, if your venue enjoys the company of Bay Area redwoods, you could launch a “Family Tree” theme. Let the forest background set the stage for casual, rustic decor and even forest-themed party favors. Have an evening bonfire with family songs and s’mores. You could initiate a planting activity like the one mentioned above, but this time have them plant tree seeds. Let them know that months from now, you’ll all have to get together again to plant their tree seedlings in the ground somewhere—ideally, somewhere you can continue to care for and witness the trees’ growth.
2 Pull out the Old Guest Book and Photo Album
Have you ever had the thought that the guest book and photo album from your wedding don’t serve much purpose just sitting on the shelf or in a box somewhere? Well, here’s the chance to wake them up again and get some use out of them. Whether your wedding day was 5 or 50 years ago, you and your guests will love spending some time flipping back through the photos and messages your guests left for you then. Leaving these items out on a table during your vow renewal celebration is a simple way to connect with that past celebration—especially for friends and family who weren’t there to celebrate your union the first time.
3 Rely on Technology
These days, there are so many apps and tools that can help you throw a party without taking away from its personal appeal and charm. You can pull together a slideshow of photos from the whole course of your relationship or screen your wedding video—all on a big screen in the redwoods over a cozy campfire! How’s that for a down-to-earth technological wonder? Then, there are great applications to help you organize music for the event, so you can put together a playlist of songs that help to chronicle your life together. Share older favorites with the younger generations, and take requests from your guests that you can easily add to your playlist on the spot.
4 Skip the Formal Rituals
Since renewing your wedding vows is more of a symbolic gesture than an official, legal one, you have the option of forgoing the professional officiant. You could instead ask a family member or friend to lead the ceremony, and you can design it any way you choose. You can revisit your old vows if you’ve saved them, or start from scratch with up-to-date promises and favorite memories from your years together. Feel free to get creative and get your guests involved—you might even invite them to share their own vows about the love and care of each other, the future generations, and the planet we all call home.
5 Let the Food Be Easy and Fun
While you were busy planning an elegant three-course wedding menu, plus hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and dessert, did you ever joke about just having a barbeque? Now’s the time to have your BBQ and eat it too because this kind of joyful, relaxed spread will set the tone for everyone else to relax and just enjoy. And not just a barbeque—you could cater a creative roaming buffet inspired by fresh San Francisco cuisine, or have a taco bar or a pancake brunch!
6 Partner with a Coordinator
The ultimate gateway to a stress-free vow renewal event is to lean on one of the Bay Area’s professional coordinators who can help you with the planning, the setup, the real-time event management, and the teardown and cleanup. If you didn’t enjoy the support and expertise of a coordinator for your wedding, now is the time to give it a try and simplify your obligations. Especially if you can connect with a coordinator who is directly tied to your venue, they will know from experience what works best in terms of food, decorations, entertainment, guest count, and everything in between. They’ll be able to recommend reliable vendors and supervise a staff team that’s already used to working together seamlessly.
During the event, you won’t have to lift a finger except to promise your partner that they’re your one and only. If stress was one of your wedding crashers the first time, vow to yourself that it won’t even make an appearance this time. This celebration will be a renewal of all that is good and fresh in your relationship and everything that surrounds and sustains it. Let all of those pure and beautiful things inspire and plan the party for you.
If you’re still on the lookout for vow renewal locations and venues in the San Francisco area, reach out to schedule a tour of our gorgeous getaway in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We live to create personalized family events, and we’re looking forward to getting to know you!