Renewing Your Wedding Vows, by Gerri Webb Celebrant

Gerri Webb

I’m Gerri Webb, Celebrant who is calm relaxed and approachable. Making a ceremony to have fun and possibly a tear or two of joy. I love to write a personal ceremony that suits the couple with their input all the way.

RENEWING YOUR WEDDING VOWS

Have you ever thought about renewing your wedding vows? You don’t have to wait 25 or 30 years to do so. A renewal can be carried out after a year or twofor whatever reason. A summer Renewal of the Vows outdoors can be so pretty, especially when the sun shines and the sky is blue.

Photo Credit: Nicky Thomas Photography
PLANNING A VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY

I first broached the subject of having a Renewal of Wedding Vows ceremony to Amanda in the summer of 2021. I’m not sure if Amanda was just humouring me as she just said “Yes” and that was that. Over the months I brought up the subject again but we didn’t actually go any further.

Amanda was just not sure what to expect and planning the vow renewal ceremony sounded daunting, although she was intrigued by the idea.

WHY RENEW YOUR VOWS?

Exactly –why? There doesn’t have to be a reason other than you are still in love, you enjoy each other’s company and you wish to say the words that mean the most to you again.

LET’S CELEBRATE A VOW RENEWAL

Skip forward to March 2022, sitting in the hairdressers one afternoon, I casually broached the subject again of having a Renewal of Wedding Vows ceremony to Amanda (who incidentally is my hairdresser). Imagine my delight when she said yesand meant it. I was super excited. They were going to celebrate being married for 10 years.

SETTING A DATE AND FINDING A WEDDING VENUE

Amanda and John (her husband, who also works in the salon) set about finding a venue that was fairly local for myself and guests. The couple had a list of options of where they would like the ceremony to be. However, before they could book a place, they needed a date. At the time I had a few Fridays that were available but hardly any Saturdays. Then one day, unfortunately a Bride emailed to say her wedding day was cancelled. This was very sad news but it meant that the date wasnot available to Amanda and John. They were super excited now. They immediately booked a venue – Hempstead House in Bapchild, Kent. Our journey had begun.

SETTING THE SCENE AND WRITING THE CEREMONY SCRIPT

John and Amanda had not attended a Renewal of Wedding Vows ceremony before, so just didn’t know what to expect. We met to go through the ceremony details. They were intrigued by some of the questions and wasn’t sure at that time what the end result would be with the answers they had supplied.

My job had started, I began to start writing the Renewal of Vows Wedding script. There were extra details and clarification need on some points, finally I had a draft ready for them.

The couple had told me such a wonderful funny story of how they met, dated, the proposal and finally tying the knot. I added in various comments through the script and then came the time to go through it. John and Amanda sat nervously opposite me and waited for me to begin. All of a sudden they were laughing, not a polite laugh but a giggle from inside. As we went through it, I knew there were little extras I could add. We got to the end and they loved it. I made a couple of suggestions to add a little bit of fun to the ceremony.

The first suggestion went down a storm –we would add a Cocktail Ceremony. They had never heard of that but loved the idea.

I then suggested we involved the guests for a toast once the cocktail had been mixed.

My final suggestion was a game of Mr and Mrs. The game where couples ask questions about the other and hopefully know they each know the correct answer. This they decided would be great fun.

THE RENEWAL OF WEDDING VOWS CEREMONY

The ceremony was going to be outdoors and luckily the sun was shining. I had purchased a couple of extra items to be produced during the ceremony. Amanda and John arrived, looking very smart and not at all nervous. The guests sat not knowing what to expect.

So the ceremony started. There were a few humorous lines thrown in as a warm up. I then started to read their story. We got to a point where Amanda nearly killed John off with eucalyptus oil which had the guests laughing out loudly.

The couple then added in a personal message to each other. This was so touching,

We reached the Exchange of Rings, whereupon I produced a set of handcuffs. Both Amanda and John thought this hilarious – a punishment for nearly killing John.

We then had the Cocktail ceremony, which was great fun; John mixing the ingredients and shaking in a James Bond style. The venue supplied the cocktails for all guests (including me) and a toast was made.

The time had come to close the ceremony, whereupon I produce a bottle of eucalyptus oil!

Everyone agreed how much fun the ceremony had been while still combining the seriousness of the occasion. Amanda has told me that there were a few couples who might now decide to have a Renewal of Wedding Vows ceremony. Just hope I can produce the laughs again!

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My career path has been quite varied from working in a Solicitors office to working within the NHS and then as a sub-contractor to the NHS before finally arriving on the Celebrancy path. My husband and I got married on Lizard Island in Australia by a celebrant and it was so wonderful, I thought that this was something I would love to do. So started training as soon as I possibly could. I have even appeared on a quiz show "The Pyramid Game" some time ago, so I know all about nerves. Have given many presentations during my working career and have danced at the Sadlers Wells Theatre some years ago. I have had lessons in ballet, tap, modern, Latin and ballroom. I don't think Strictly should worry though! I love meeting people (quite a few becoming firm friends), finding out about their lives and their families and enjoying their company. I also love travelling and my passport is always at the ready.

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