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10 Unity Ritual Ideas for Your Vow Renewal Ceremony

Published Thursday, Jan. 25th, 2024


A young wedding officiant minister performs a vow renewal ceremony for a senior couple dressed in beautiful formal suit and dress. They are in a brightly lit church with warm cream and gold accents.
Photo: Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

Sweet, fun, casual, classic, or sentimental: These unique unity rituals are perfect for any vow renewal or anniversary celebration!

 

 

Asked to officiate a vow renewal ceremony? Looking for a sweet unity ritual to include in your own vow renewal ceremony or anniversary celebration? 

 

Many couples choose to celebrate milestones in their marriage with a vow renewal ceremony. These joyful celebrations are usually led by an officiant, and can look and feel similar to a wedding ceremony, or any other way you’d like them to – there are no rules, no required words to say, no legal paperwork to sign, and no ‘expected’ rituals like an exchange of rings or official pronouncement. 

 

You can make your celebration as creative, personal, or traditional as you want!

 

Consider one of the sweet ideas listed below to get started. Then, personalize your favorite idea or ideas to make your ceremony uniquely ‘you.’ 

 

 

For the Couple: Ask a close friend or relative to get ordained with American Marriage Ministries to officiate your vow renewal ceremony.

 

For the Officiant: Although becoming ordained isn’t required to perform this type of celebration, it has its perks! AMM offers a variety of free training materials and sample vow renewal scripts to help you do a wonderful job, plus few pro-level books and packages for those who want to kick things up a notch: 

 

 


A senior couple pose outdoors among the trees after their vow renewal marriage anniversary celebration. They are smiling at each other and holding hands.

Photo: Halfpoint / iStock

Vow renewals are for any couple -- of any age, and for any length of time married! 

 

 

10 Unity Ceremony Ideas for a Uniquely 'You' Vow Renewal Celebration

 

Note: Any unity ritual that’s common in weddings can be modified for a vow renewal ceremony. Simply change the wording a bit, and voila! See more Unity Rituals here.

 

 

1. Candle Lighting: The Warm Glow of Love

 

Light a unity candle (or candles!) to honor your recommitment to marriage. After exchanging new vows (or revisiting your original vows), light a candle with your spouse and take a moment to reflect on your marriage, represented by the bright warmth of the flame. 

 

To add some extra ‘oomph’ to this popular ritual, light a candle for every year you’ve been married – plus one more to symbolize the years ahead. Then, bask in the vibrant glow of your love with a moment of mindfulness.

 

 

 


2. Time Capsule Ceremony: Treasures from the Past, Plans for the Future

 

Add sweet mementos from your marriage to a decorative box, along with love letters or a copy of your written renewal vows. Seal the box and place it somewhere special in your home, with plans to open it together in a year or two. 

 

 


3. Hand Blessing: The Hands of Your Best Friend

 

Hand blessings take on deeper meaning in a vow renewal ceremony. As you hold your lover’s hands and look into their eyes, you’ll remember the many years you’ve shared, hand in hand, and the many happy years to come. 

 

Traditional hand blessing readings, which often include some variation of, “These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you,” can be modified for a vow renewal to show your age and experience. For example, “These are the hands of your best friend, softened by time and wrinkled with joy, and full of love for you…”

 


 

 

A young officiant leads a hand blessing ceremony during a vow renewal

Photo: Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

 


4. Unity Toast: Cheers to Love and Lasting Marriage 

 

This unity ceremony is a classic! Grab your beverage of choice – wine, whiskey, champagne, coffee, tea, whatever! – and toast to what’s been, what is, and what’s to come. That’s three cheers for a love that’s built to last!  

 

 

 

5. Tree Planting: A Reminder of Patience and Growth

 

Tree planting ceremonies are appropriate at any stage of marriage, from celebrating that first day, to honoring the first decade! That’s because trees grow steadily over time, just like your love. 

 

As an extra touch, choose a tree that’s as tall as your marriage is old (a one or two foot sapling for a one year anniversary renewal, for example), and watch as it grows with you. 

 

 


 

 

6. Unity Pizza Cutting: Fun, Casual, and Delicious (Just Like You)

 

Fun-loving couples can celebrate the many ‘flavors’ of marriage with a unity pizza party! Before your vow renewal ceremony, order a pizza with all your favorite toppings. There are no wrong topping choices or combinations – pile that pie sky-high!

 

During the ceremony, your officiant will introduce the meaning and symbolism of your unity pizza. Then, cut a slice or two with your babe, bump crusts for a cheesy pizza toast, and savor the taste of success. This ceremony is lighthearted, casual, funny, and oh-so-tasty. Share the rest of your pizza with friends and family, or save it for yourselves to soak up those reception cocktails.

 

As the dashing Dean Martin once sang, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… that’s amore!” 

 

 

A heart shaped pizza with cheese and pepperoni on a table with roses

Photo: karandaev / Adobe Stock

 


7. Feet or Hand Washing Ceremony: A Fresh Start to Love

 

Hand washing and feet washing ceremonies are common in wedding celebrations, as a symbol of entering marriage with a clean heart and spirit. In a vow renewal ceremony, this sacred ritual can symbolize a fresh start – to acknowledge and release the mistakes and missteps you’ve made along the way, to wash away any lingering anger or pain, and the promise to recommit to the relationship with a clean heart and spirit.

 

 

 


8. Photo Album or Collage: Celebrating Your Memories 

 

During your vow renewal ceremony, place photos taken throughout your marriage into a special album. Start with a photo from your wedding day on page one, and add pictures from vacations, holidays, casual afternoons, and other meaningful moments. For a creative touch, have someone take a polaroid picture of you on the day of your vow renewal ceremony, and add this to the album! 

 

As a shorter version of this ritual, simply place a few meaningful photos in a collage frame. You might include a photo from the early days, one from your wedding day, and a recent photo taken around the time of your vow renewal.

 

This ceremony might take more time than other options (plan for about 10 to 20 minutes), but it’s a great way to truly celebrate the moments that have made your marriage unique and long-lasting.

 


9. ‘Vows to Our Children’: Celebrating an Expanded Family

 

Couples who have welcomed a child or children into their family during their marriage can celebrate them with a unique ‘Vows to Our Child / Children’ ceremony. 

 

In the same way that you make renewed vows to honor and love your spouse, you can make new vows to cherish and love your children. Thank them for enriching your life, and express gratitude to your kids and your partner for a family that’s grown larger, happier, and stronger over the years. 

 

 

 

 

Two children smile at each other during a vow renewal ceremony. They're outdoors on a sunny day, wearing semi formal wedding clothes, standing next to a woman in a blue dress

Photo: PixelCatchers / iStock

 


10. Intention Setting: Set Your Course for the Future

 

Setting intentions for your marriage is a sweet and heartfelt addition to your vow renewal. You and your spouse can write down your intentions and dreams for the future before the ceremony, then read them aloud to each other in front of your officiant and guests. 

 

An alternative to this meaningful ritual involves burning slips of paper with your intentions written on them. This unique fire ritual sends your hopes and dreams out into the universe on a ceremonial puff of smoke. If you and your partner are hoping for a fresh start in marriage, you can also write down things you wish to ‘let go’ in the years ahead. 

 

 


Read Next: 

 

Everything You Need to Know About a Vow Renewal Ceremony

 

What to say, what to do, and what to expect at a vow renewal (plus whether or not to bring a gift) – for wedding officiants, couples, and guests.

 

 

 

An older couple link arms to pose for a photo outdoors following their renewal of vows ceremony
 


 

You might also like: 

 

 

 

 

Close up of a bride and groom during their unity candle ceremony

An introduction to the wedding 'unity ceremony' and how to add one of these sweet rituals to your celebration. Read the full article here. 

 


 

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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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