The ins and outs of planning a vow renewal.


Photo: Design Mom


Why Renew?

Simply put, a vow renewal is a way to celebrate a marriage. Perhaps you’ve made it to 10, 25 or 50 years together and you want the world to know that you’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Maybe you want to reaffirm your commitment to each other after a rough period in your relationship. There’s no wrong reason to renew.


How Soon Can You Renew?

A reaffirmation can take place literally anytime after the actual wedding — the next day or 30 years later. But you don’t want to renew too soon or too often, unless you’ve eloped and would like to make your vows public upon your return. Otherwise, be sure to reserve the occasion for milestone years (like 10 or 25).


Photo: Ryan and Denise

Who Hosts?

Many couples host their own renewals, and some have their children do the honors. Here’s a trend we really like: The couple’s closest friends, perhaps the original maid of honor and best man, host the event. And don’t feel like you have to find a secular event hall or an outdoor space to hold the ceremony — many traditional halls of worship make wonderful, meaningful venues.


Where Should It Be?

You can renew your vows in a house of worship, at home, on the beach, in a pretty garden or park, on a mountaintop or on a cruise — basically, anywhere that has sentimental meaning for both of you.



Ruffled - photo by Delbarr Moradi

Photo: Ruffled Blog


Who Officiates?

Because a vow renewal isn’t a legally binding ceremony like a wedding is, virtually anyone you’d like can officiate the ceremony: a clergyperson, a judge, your children, a close relative or even close friends.


Who Should Be Invited?

You might choose to have an intimate reaffirmation, inviting just close family and friends who’ve known you through the years. Or it can be a blowout party for your extended family and circle of friends. A word of advice: Unless you’re opting for a big bash, limit your guest list. This isn’t the time to entertain work acquaintances.


What Should the Invitation Say?

The invitation is similar to a wedding invite, except no hosts’ names are at the top:
The honor of your presence
 is requested at the reaffirmation [or “renewal”]
 of the wedding vows of
 Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Smith [or “Susan and Jonathan Smith”]…

If the invitation is issued by the children of the couple:
The children of 
Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Smith [or “Susan and Jonathan Smith”]
 request the honor of your presence 
at the reaffirmation ceremony
 of their parents…






What Should You Wear?

Dress up! If you’re the bride, you could even wear your original wedding gown if you’re comfortable with it (and it still fits!). Or choose another dress — a pretty cocktail dress, a formal evening gown or a nice suit, depending on your taste and the formality and style of the celebration. Skip the veil, but wear a hat or flowers in your hair if you’d like. Carry flowers or don a corsage.


If you’re the groom, you might wear your original tuxedo or suit (or uniform if you’re in the military), updated with a new tie or vest. Or choose a new ensemble for this celebration. Wear a gift of jewelry your wife has given you — cuff links, a watch — and a boutonniere in your lapel.


Should You Have a Wedding Party?

Attendants are unnecessary for a vow renewal, but you might choose to invite your original bridesmaids and groomsmen to stand up for you informally, for sentimental reasons. (They don’t have to wear those outfits again…but they could!) Many couples also involve their children and grandchildren, perhaps being escorted down the aisle by them or having them perform a reading during the ceremony.


Photo: The Perfect Palette


Who Walks You Down the Aisle?

Don’t walk down the aisle alone. Have your children escort you, or better yet, walk down the aisle together.


What Actually Happens During the Ceremony?

You’ll exchange vows, recalling what you said when you were first married. You could also vary the verbiage and write original vows . This is an opportunity for both of you to really think about how you feel about your relationship, especially if the last time you exchanged vows was decades ago. After you’ve both spoken, exchange rings. These can be your original bands with new engravings (perhaps the date of your vow renewal or a cute quote like, “I Love You, Part II”) or new rings purchased expressly for the reaffirmation (a great time to upgrade those bands). Children, close relatives and special friends can do readings, and you can have meaningful music playing, just as you would at a wedding ceremony.


©Alexis June Weddings, 2015 // Mary + Eric Vow NYC Renewal // Marsala Inspiration Shoot

Photo: Smitten-Mag

Should You Have a Reception?

Of course! The party can be any style, from a casual backyard barbecue or an intimate family dinner to a cocktail party or dinner as large and complex as a traditional wedding reception. There can be dancing, a cake — the works. You might bring along your original wedding photo album so you can take guests on a trip down memory lane (if you’ve just eloped, bring the recent pictures), as well as family photos through the years of your marriage. At some point during the celebration, the two of you can thank or toast family members and special friends for what they’ve contributed to your marriage over the years. And you’ll probably be toasted by many of them. Be sure to hire a photographer to capture the event — in 20 more years, perhaps you’ll renew your renewal!


Should You Register?

A vow renewal is not the time to upgrade your kitchen or china collection. Skip the gifts and don’t hold a shower — there’s no need to turn this intimate soiree into a four-day festivity. If guests insist, suggest they make donations to your favorite charity.



Article: The Knot

Every couple likes to think that their wedding is unique, but there are certain songs that were played at (what felt like) every reception last year. Below, we reveal the 10 most played wedding songs of 2015.


Photo: Bridal Guide


First-dance songs that topped the must-play list.

“Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran

The song may have been released in 2014, but it was still everywhere in 2015—and for good reason. With lyrics like, “Take me into your loving arms, kiss me under the light of a thousand stars, place your head on my beating heart,” it’s no wonder so many couples chose the tune for their first dance.

“Coming Home” – Leon Bridges

Last year’s brides and grooms made it clear that they were all about a throwback, classic sound and old-fashioned lyrics like, “Baby, baby, baby, I’m coming home to your tender loving, you’re my one and only woman.”




“All of Me” – John Legend 

Another 2014 hit that just won’t stop, John Legend’s chart-topper was a favorite among couples that wanted their partner to know they love them—no matter what. And what better way to say it than with lyrics like, “‘Cause all of me loves all of you, love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections.”

“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” – Meghan Trainor (ft. John Legend)

“So I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you, I’m gonna hold you like I’m saying goodbye, wherever we’re standing, I won’t take you for granted.” It’s with these loving lyrics that so many couples kicked off their marriage and made it clear that they’re enjoying every moment together. (And we’re sure it helps that wedding singer John Legend was featured on the song!)


Photo: Bridal Guide


Songs that helped get the party started (and kept it going).


“Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon

When the room’s buzzing and the band wanted to get people on their feet, they chose this fun-loving tune. The lyrics said it all, “Oh oh oh, shut up and dance with me.”

“Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars) 

As the party is heating up, couples and guests alike were requesting this retro-feeling groove. With its fun, flirty lyrics like, “Come on, dance, jump on it, if you sexy then flaunt it,” it was a clear favorite all year.




“Whip It (Watch Me)” – Silento

While the “Y.M.C.A.” and “The Electric Slide” were the most requested group dances of the past, party-goers all wanted to hear the latest dance craze with its easy to follow instructional lyrics—”Now watch me whip whip, watch me nae nae.”

“Fireball” – Pitbull

No reception was complete in 2015 without this salsa-inspired hit. Guests were seen shaking it to lyrics like, “We gon’ boogie oogie oogie, jiggle, wiggle, and dance like the roof on fire.”

“Love Never Felt So Good” – Michael Jackson (ft. Justin Timberlake) 

M.J. and J.T. topped couples’ must-have songs because of lyrics like, “Baby, love never felt so good, and I doubt it ever could, not like you hold me, hold me.” Enough said.

“Want to Want Me” – Jason Derulo

For grooms looking to show their bride how much they love her on the dance floor, many requested this dance-inducing, catchy tune. The lyrics said it all: “Girl, you’re the one I want to want me, and if you want me, girl, you got me, there’s nothin’ I, no I, wouldn’t do, I wouldn’t do, just to get up next to you.”





Thumbnail Photo: : LANDON JACOB
Article: Martha Stewart Weddings

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“Our mission is to help create and preserve special memories for years to come.  We love what we do; make people smile and laugh then walk away with new stories to tell and a photo in their hand.”


What is your favorite thing about your business? 

The favorite part of our business are the clients and their guests.  I love seeing people’s reactions to their mirrored image on the screen or the print-out of their photos.  The majority of the time, people are very pleased with their images and some people just laugh at themselves.  I love what we do; make people smile and laugh then walk away with new stories to tell and a photo in their hand.


What made you start your photo booth company? 

In May of 2011, my fiancé (now wife) and I went to a wedding in Atlanta and they had a photo booth there.  This was the first time that we had ever seen a photo booth at a wedding.  We loved it so much! I kept wanting to go back but my wife was a little shy however I was shameless so I went alone a couple of times.  It was so much fun with the props!  I thought that we definitely needed to have one at our wedding.  On the way home from Atlanta, we drove; so it was a long long drive and we had plenty of time to talk about our upcoming wedding.  We tossed around the idea of renting or making our own booth.  When we got back, the first thing I did was look up different photo booths in our area.  There were quite a few, but they all lack the quality that I wanted.  My passion is photography so having nice sharp images was definitely important to me.  Another thing was that they were all so crowded and all you could see in the photo was your head.  I thought a lot of people would be coming to our wedding and they were certainly going to dress up.  Most females would love to show off what they wear so photos with shoulder or above was not going to cut it for me.



This was when I told my fiancé that I was going to make us a photo booth for the wedding which was going to be July 7, 2012. I did my research and found everything I needed from the software to the quality hardware.  I was able to get everything completed by August 2011.  We used the photo booth for the first time at our engagement party on September 3, 2011.  It was a hit! Everyone loved it.  This was when I decided to turn it into a business.  We had our first client October 2011 and our booth has only gotten better from that point


Any suggestions tips for brides who are thinking about renting a photo booth for their wedding?

If you’re interested in getting a photo booth for your wedding.  Don’t shop for price, but shop for quality.  A picture is worth a thousand words but with today’s technology, it’s also worth a thousand tweets.  Your guests will share their photos, so make sure they share quality photos.  Shop for quality.  A quality photo booth picture will look like it was taken by a professional photographer, which is well lit and sharp.



Ask the photo booth company if they carry backup equipment to their events.  I understand that equipment rarely fails but in the event something does break, make sure they can still do the job they were paid to do.  A good company would have backup a camera, computer, printer, cables, etc.

Ask them how many prints guests get per session.  I believe that everyone that is in the photo deserves a printed copy of the photo.  There are booth packages where only two prints are provided.  What if there were six people in the booth?  You wouldn’t want the other four to miss out on the moment that was created in the booth


The template for the photos is also important. Not only do the photos have to look good, the design of the template should complement your wedding. Possibly match the theme or wedding colors. To have just the name is important but the overall look needs to complement you. Make sure to ask if they offer custom templates.

There are two types of booth now days, the traditional enclosed booth that has curtains and the non-traditional open booth.  If you value privacy, the enclosed booth may be your booth but if you want something where a bunch of people can fit, the open booth may be the one you want.  As for me, I like the open booth because more people can fit in a photo.  The other guests will most likely want to take pictures after seeing what a great time it is


The days of mall looking photo prints are over, the technology required to produce quality images is readily available so no one should have to settle.



MemoryBox Photo Booth got #1 on Google for Lincoln, NE!

Ask the experts what an engaged couple should discuss before they get married and you’ll probably hear something along the lines of “money, sex, and kids.” Heck, that’s even the name of one relationship book. With all due respect to the experts, I think they may want to work on that list a little bit. Sure, those are all important. But what about the things carefully designed to drive husbands and wives up the wall and right through the ceiling? The tiny beard hairs left in the sink after a shave? The plates placed willy nilly in the dishwasher? Come on, ladies and gentlemen! It’s time to settle the debates a couple absolutely must have before the wedding:


1. Does the toilet paper go over or under the roll?

2. Cats? Dogs? Both?

3. Can you eat breakfast for dinner?

4. Cold pizza: yes or no?

5. Is it acceptable to open presents as they arrive or do you have to wait for the actual birthday or holiday?

6. Should the dirty forks and knives go in the dishwasher with the handle sticking out of the utensil tray or down in the utensil tray?

7. Is it acceptable to leave dishes in the sink to “soak” overnight, or do they need to be cleaned before bed?

8. Toothpaste: cap on or cap off?

9. Again on the toothpaste: roll it from the bottom or just squeeze really hard?

10. Are towels a one-time use item or do you use the same towel until laundry day?

11. How about washcloths?

12. Road trip or flying?

13. What’s the right thread count for sheets?

14. What brand of toilet paper?

15. Mayo or Miracle Whip?

16. Pepsi or Coke?

17. Can you eat the holiday candy out in the display bowl or must it be left there for display?

18. What is YOUR definition of camping?

19. Turn the thermostat down when you go out or leave it alone?

20. At what point is a garbage bag too full to stuff more trash in it?

21. How many times is it acceptable to hit the snooze button?

22. Thrift store shopping: great deals or gross?

23. How far in advance is it OK to plan a vacation?

24. Restaurant reservations: necessary or too restrictive?

25. Roller coasters: love ’em or hate ’em?

26. More chocolate chips, less cookie or more cookie, less chips?

27. How much orange juice must be left in the container for it to be returned to the fridge?

28. Chip clips or just roll the bag up?

29. Call the doctor or just take some medicine at home?

30. Where is the prime location for the TV remote to stay?

31. Is it OK to have a TV in the bedroom?

32. Should folded clothes be put away, or is it OK to just pull as needed from the basket of clean laundry?

33. Do you need to write a grocery list or just wait until you’re walking around the store to figure out what you need?

34. Making the bed: must-do or waste of time because you’re just going to get back in it?

35. Is it OK to shave/clip toenails in the living room?

See? So many issues, so little time to get them straightened out before you’re grumbling about that dishwasher.

Photo: 360nobs


Written by Jeanne Sager for CafeMom’s, The Stir.

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