Remember your wedding day? Maybe everything was perfect. Your budget was huge. You invited the guests you wanted, picked out all the decorations, and had a gorgeous gown. Or maybe you married young, had very little money and just had to “make do.” Either way, if a few years have passed, now could be the perfect time to start thinking about saying “I do” (again).
Re-tying the knot (or renewing your vows) could be the perfect way to have the wedding you always wanted, rekindle your love, or it could just be a great excuse for a vacation down south.
Sharon Naylor is a self-proclaimed Wedding Advice Guru, and best-selling author of over 35 wedding books including “Renewing Your Wedding Vows: A Complete Planning Guide to Saying ‘I Still Do.’” She said there are a number of reasons why couples decide to renew their vows. “We live in stressful times and people want to bring something positive into their world,” she said. “Renewing vows inserts a positive vibe into a relationship and family. It’s about gratitude and appreciation.”
Naylor, whose book includes interviews with 20 married couples, said she has seen a number of couples renew their vows after one partner has overcome a serious health challenge. Some people just want to have a big party. Other couples, she said, decide to renew their vows to include their growing family.
Such is the case for Ottawa couple Allan Isfan and Yvonne Craig-Isfan – 2010 marked the couple’s 20th wedding anniversary (30 years as a couple), Yvonne’s twin sister Yvette Renaud’s 10-year wedding anniversary, as well as their parents’ 50th anniversary.
If that’s not a reason to fly to Hawaii, what is? On Wailea Beach, Maui, Isfan’s family, including their three daughters, the Renaud family, and their two sons, gathered together to celebrate a whole lot of love over a whole lot of years in August 2010.
The families booked their “wedding” through A Dream Wedding: Maui Style. “They were fantastic and very reasonable,” he said. “They organized everything. We had a traditional Hawaiian ceremony complete with singing and a conch shell. It was very down to earth. We had our feet in the sand, the wind was blowing, and the waves were crashing.”
Naylor said many people enjoy the destination renewal, though some people go more low-key, renewing their vows atop a mountain, under a willow tree, or anywhere else that particular couple has special memories. She said others plan a “splashy” wedding do-over including a bridal gown and entertainment.
“It really varies from couple to couple,” she explained. “The actual vows are the main centrepiece. You can repeat the same ones, or add a surprise that you haven’t run past the other, or write all new vows. What I’m seeing in the new ones is a lot of humour. I see fun, light stuff like nicknames that they couldn’t include the first time around.”
Isfan said he and his wife plan on renewing their vows yet again. “This time we won’t wait so long.” he said, wondering if his renewal might nicely line up with the hypothetical marriage of one of his daughters.
When is the ideal time to renew? Naylor said couples can renew whenever they want, but cautioned people to be aware of pressures that regular renewals might cause potential guests. “If you want to do it every year, I would advise doing it on your own. If you do it every five years you can invite guests. Some people that renew will only do it once and I think that’s pretty smart.”
Naylor said that if you’re looking to invite a lot of guests, a good time to choose is when people will already be in town – for example, for a family reunion or Thanksgiving. But never, ever, on someone else’s wedding weekend, she warned.
Isfan said a big part of why he and his wife have been together for so long is that they are good at recognizing when they might be starting to drift apart. “Things get busy with work and the kids, so when we feel it, we go out on a dinner date or bike ride or whatever. We always pay attention to when we might be getting distant.”
“I got lucky,” he added. “Yvonne is an amazing woman. Makes it easy. There’s only one and she’s mine.”
Photos by K.M Isfan