Wedding renewal in Vietnam: Renew your vows in paradise
Updated: Jan 27
Renewing your wedding vows is a beautiful way to celebrate your marriage. It's not a second wedding, it's a celebration of your marriage that reaffirms your commitment as a couple.
Planning a vow renewal while you're on holiday means you're free of the day-to-day pressures. A wedding renewal means you can have the wedding you kinda always wanted, instead of the one people expected.
Why couples renew their wedding vows
Whether your marriage is five years or fifty years young, you don't need a reason to tell your spouse you love them - and want to keep loving them. It's a beautiful way to reflect on your partnership so far, express gratitude for your spouse and confirms your commitment to your marriage - whatever the world throws at you. Plus it's a wonderful excuse to dress up and drink champagne.
Some couples renew their wedding vows
When they reach a milestone anniversary in their marriage. As the years pass they're more confident in how they want to express their love in a way that feels real for them. When you're together for a while, the friendship grows deeper and the love, richer. And this is something to celebrate.
When a turbulent event has shaken the foundation of their marriage. Life happens and the strongest marriages survive. A wedding renewal is a fresh start.
When the kids want to know why they aren't in the wedding photos. So the renewal is a celebration of their family along with a vow renewal. And the kids get into the wedding photos
or as in my case, when they vacation in a country where they wished they'd tied the knot
As a celebrant, vow renewals are more authentic and meaningful. Why? The couples have experienced the ups and the downs - and still fight to be together - which is awesome.
Why you renew your wedding vows is up to you. My job is to help you plan the celebration and make the ceremony meaningful.
Where is the best place to renew your wedding vows
I'm biased, but I think Vietnam is a spectacular place to renew your vows. It's affordable and has a stunning coastline, great weather, food and resorts. So whether you're looking for something for two, or a big, fancy wedding renewal, Vietnam is ideal.
In this guide, we'll cover everything about planning a vow renewal ceremony in Vietnam.
choosing the perfect location
writing heartfelt vows
involving your children in the ceremony
exchanging rings or gifts
and the ceremony and celebration afterwards
How to plan your wedding vow renewal
The best thing about renewing your vows is there are no rules. All you need to do is get a visa and travel to Vietnam.
There's no legal paperwork and no need for a fancy celebration (although you can have a full wedding renewal ceremony with all the trimmings if you want to). The best news is there's no need to invite the uncle you never liked.
You can exchange the vows you took on your wedding day, or you can write new vows to reflect your feelings today.
Choose a location
Consider the weather
The most important thing about your renewal location in Vietnam is the weather.
Vietnam has seven different climatic regions. I'm based in Hoi An which we call the South Central Coast. The closest international airport is Danang which is 30 minutes away by car. Danang has incredible beaches and a lively cosmopolitan feel. Whereas Hoi An is a little sleepier, home to the UNESCO-listed Old Town. The beaches here are also delicious.
In Hoi An and Danang, the weather is sublime from March through September. You can expect temperatures around 30+ degrees celsius (86 F). From October to February, it's winter and monsoon season. So it's rainy and grey most of the time.
The southern region of Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc is warm year-round. Their rainy season is May to September.
Nha Trang has great weather from January to August with rain from September to December. My friends who live there brag about their "305 days of sunshine".
To the north, the best time for Hanoi is March to November - it's hot. Winter is usually cold and miserable.
So if sunshine and tropical weather are your bags, come to Vietnam from March to September.
Let your imagination run free
Once you've sorted the weather your can start on your city or town.
I love this part because you're free to do things your way. Some couples want a quiet spot under a palm tree, and others invite guests and have a formal ceremony in a resort. I've hosted vow renewals on rooftops of coffee shops and by swimming pools in private villas.
Most couples who renew their vows in Vietnam have a connection with the country. They may have fallen in love with it on a vacation, or have a family history here. Some found a picture on Google and decided it looked like a great destination (which it is).
I can help you decide where and how. All you need to do is tell me what feeling you want.
PS: if you want to use a celebrant, planner, photographer, and hair and makeup artist - check with them first. If they need to travel to your favourite spot, it increases the cost.
Whether you invite guests or have a private renewal is up to you.
I had a couple who recently arranged a surprise vow renewal. They were travelling to Vietnam to celebrate a big birthday and added the renewal to the party. It was amazing.
I've had couples invite friends they've made while on holidays and also the staff at their resort. It's your unique adventure.
If you're inviting guests from home, I recommend giving no less than six months' notice. This way, they can prepare and save their pennies. Give them a traditional invitation and show your renewal the respect it deserves.
PS: Don't ask for gifts. They're taking a vacation to celebrate with you - and their presence is the present.
Planning the wedding renewal ceremony
You can design your ceremony with the same flow as a traditional wedding ceremony. A wedding party, readings, the walk down the aisle, exchange of vows and rings and of course, the kiss.
Or it can be just the two of you, having a private ceremony in a stunning location, followed by dinner or cocktails.
A typical wedding renewal ceremony includes more than exchanging or renewing vows. A celebrant will write a personal ceremony for you that includes your story, any good wishes from people unable to attend and any personal readings you'd like to include.
You can DIY your ceremony. But if you're looking for more relaxation than running around time use a planner. Or find an officiant like me, who can plan small vow renewals.
I can help with:
creating a beautiful renewal ceremony
help you to write your renewal vows
choosing a location
organising or recommending photographers and videographers
a commemorative certificate
the afterparty or intimate dinner.
As a Hoi An local, I have the scoop on the secret spots and the best tailors and other suppliers. Want a lion dance? No problems.
I don't plan weddings outside Hoi An, but I can recommend fabulous people who do.
Wedding vow renewal ideas
Your ceremony is as unique as you are. And I'm open to anything. Bagpipes to lederhosen.
You can opt for the traditional aisle and arch approach and recreate your wedding.
Or take a minimalist approach and throw off your shoes and head to the beach with a photographer to capture the memories.
You can hire a boat with catering and have a vow renewal ceremony on the water, with luxe catering and music.
Some couples have a cocktail party, then gather when the vibe feels right and renew their vows.
More adventurous humans brave the early morning. And have their hair and makeup done in the middle of the night so they can renew their vows as the sun rises. (Which is around 4.30 am here).
I guess what I'm trying to say here is - everything is up to you.
Handy tip: If you're renewing your vows without guests, ask your friends and family to send a good wish to my email. I can include them in the ceremony to give it a touch of home. Always brings a smile and a tear.
How to write wedding renewal vows
You can get creative with your renewal vows or you can exchange the vows you took at your wedding. Either way, there's none of the pressure you felt the first time around. They can be funny, joyful, or as romantic as you like. As long as their personal and from your heart, it's all that matters.
If it's all too much, I'd love to help you write them.
As a general guide - I recommend getting a pen and paper and jotting down
Why you love your spouse and what you'd miss the most if they weren't around
A little story about why you smile when you think of them
What do you promise to continue bringing to your marriage
And don't forget to tell them that you love them
I've loads of vow inspiration to get you started, including some examples below.
Remember, your renewal vows aren't the be-all and end-all of your renewal. You live your vows through your actions, not your words, so relax and let your heart tell the story.
Examples of wedding renewal vows
(Spouse), I believe in this marriage more strongly than ever.
Today, I renew the promises I made to you 40 years ago,
A promise of my hand and my heart,
A promise to you of my love and devotion,
A promise to provide for and protect you,
It is with these promises that I recommit my love for you.
I will continue to love you
For as long as I shall live
From the moment our paths crossed, you've surprised me, distracted me, captivated me, and challenged me in ways that no one else ever has. I've fallen in love with you again and again over the years, countless times, without reservation, and still can't believe that each and every day I get to call you my wife/husband.
And I've got plenty more inspiration if you don't want to write your own.
Including children in your vow renewal
It's more and more popular these days for parents to renew their vows with their kids. I'm not sure why. Is it the digital age and young ones are so accustomed to smartphones and photos? But renewals that include a commitment to family as well as you as a couple are common now.
I've had little ones as young as seven write little speeches about their parents and read them during the ceremonies. It is special.
And the parents will take their vows and also make promises to their children. Sometimes they exchange gifts, like jewellery or other keepsakes for their family day. One little one once told me "she married her mum and dad". It was sweet as pie.
Older kids are getting in on the action too. Giving mum away or being the best person.
If this sounds like you, go for it.
Do you exchange rings in a vow renewal?
You don't have to exchange rings at your renewal. You may want to exchange your original wedding rings or add new ones to your collection.
If you're exchanging new wedding rings many couples wear them on their right hright-handand ring finger.
Or you could exchange other meaningful gifts. Couples renewing vows on anniversaries often exchange gifts in line with the traditional material associated with the year of marriage.
Sometimes, the gift is a big, smoochy kiss.
The renewal celebration
Again - entirely up to you. If you want a candlelit dinner on the beach for all the romance, it's possible.
A full party with an open bar - is doable.
A private room in a fancy restaurant - sure.
People watching while you eat street food in the middle of town - totally.
I'm getting thirsty now. It sounds like you're going to have so much fun.
Thinking about renewing your vows in Vietnam?
I can write the ceremony, help with your vows and even pull everything together for you if you like. I'm your eyes and ears on the ground. And I take great joy in celebrating people in love.
Leanne Summers is an Australian wedding celebrant based in Hoi An, Vietnam. She officiates destination weddings for couples from all over the world.