Twice Upon A Time
Twice Upon A Time
The phrase ‘once upon a time’ is often used in fairy tales. Now, while a wedding is a fairy tale, I won’t presume to think a marriage is a fairy tale. Life isn’t easy and life intertwined with another is difficult at times. It’s frustrating, hard and wonderful all at once. So, there was a day in your lives filled with wedding favours, wedding dresses and rings to match and that there was your ‘once upon a time’. Your beginning as a couple started on that day and as time goes on, as marriage goes on, you may find yourself dreaming about that day you had. Dreaming about what you could have done differently, dreaming about a landmark anniversary ahead and if you’ve had some tough times in your marriage, dreaming about marking your lives with something meaningful. Something that signifies that you’ve come through the ‘for worse’ part of the vows and into a time of peace. It’s now the right point in your life for your twice upon a time: renewing those wedding vows.
You can renew your vows any time you like in your marriage, whether five years in or fifty years in, and those who want to reaffirm their love a second time around are usually those who have cemented a chunk of their life to another person. Maybe in the past, the wedding you had wasn’t your dream wedding. Perhaps you had a cold meat buffet and a friend to do the wedding pictures instead of the sit down, three course affair you dreamed about with a professional photographer. Perhaps you had to marry in the registry office, when really you wanted a lavish church wedding. There are many reasons people choose to renew their wedding vows and usually the second time around means more. It feels like winning a race, crossing that finish line hand in hand and yet the race isn’t over. The marriage hasn’t finished just because you’re renewing your vows. It’s a transition into the next part of your life.
Most people who renew their vows tend to have had a good twenty-five or more years of marriage behind them. The transition I mentioned earlier is usually into the time where the children have grown up and flown the nest. You get the chance to rediscover each other; your likes and dislikes. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you know the person you’re married to. Life gets diluted by children, jobs, studying and all manner of distractions that can take away from a marriage. Not the love, never the love, but from each other and as you grow up together in marriage, you can grow away while being stuck together at the roots. The next stage is where you get to learn about each other all over again, and what better way to begin that by reaffirming the vows you once exchanged?
If you get married before being three years together, you may have heard people say that you were in puppy love. After ten years? That’s real love. The vows you took the first time are always said with stars in your eyes and glitter on the tables but the vows you take the second time around? They’re grounded. They are full of realistic promises that you know you can achieve. It’s rather difficult to imagine ‘obeying’ someone while Pachelbel’s Canon plays in the room and makes you feel like you’re floating on a cloud of happiness. The second time around, the vows to obey your other half become more about obeying changing the toilet roll on the holder rather than doing what they say.
When it comes to planning a renewal, you could choose to host it yourself or go all out in a way you may not have had before. You can do it at home, in a church, a posh hotel or even on a beach. There’s truly no restriction as you are simply standing up in front of the people you love all over again and confirming your commitment to one another. A vow renewal, unlike a wedding, is not a legally binding ceremony which is why you can do it wherever you like without restriction. Should you choose to stand up together in your living room, you can do!
A lot of people who renew their vows like to keep it just for the closest friends and family. However, if you had a shotgun wedding the first time, you may want to have the biggest celebration your budget allows. You could put on the giant dress and have the speeches and the meal and the dancing you always dreamed about. This is a second chance for you to really celebrate your love in style! You made it far enough to want to choose each other all over again – this is something that requires a meringue dress and a few top hats! Most of the things you choose for a vow renewal will be sentimental more than official. You don’t necessarily need the bridesmaids but you might choose your original set, because they stood beside you once before. It’s traditional to have your father give you away, as he passes you from your life as a child to your life as a woman. It’s also fitting that you have your children, whatever their age, give you away a second time. Handing you from your life raising them to stand on their own two feet, to your husband who will carry you through the remainder of your life. It’s a beautiful sentiment that you should want to be part of.
A vow renewal is a romantic time in your life and if you make it far enough in your marriage to even want to say it all over again, then you have just done what over half of marriages never do. You’ve gone the distance. You’ve won the gold medal. You’ve reinforced love to everyone who believes it doesn’t exist. More power to you both.