Renewal Ceremonies 

Response: Not a great deal of formal literature exists regarding renewal ceremonies. Perhaps other clergy can share some of their experiences on this issue. Normally, I take the order of the traditional wedding service and adapt it to recognize that it is a renewal ceremony. In general, the ceremony is much less formal than a wedding with fewer prayers and added use of humor and personal comments shared by family members and friends. Much depends, however, on the occasion and the setting. Sometimes I am asked to perform a renewal ceremony after the couple has been separated or gone through a difficult time together. On other occasions it may be a specific milestone a 25th or 50th anniversary. Family members often arrange these latter anniversaries as a surprise for the couple. I have been asked also to perform renewal services when either the husband or the wife is terminally ill. The key to planning the service is to understand why the couple has chosen to renew their vows and to adapt the wording as appropriate. This makes it far more difficult to use a pre-set ceremony for the renewal of vow than it is for a wedding.

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