Renewal ceremonies give married couples and civil partners the opportunity to renew their vows and celebrate their life together. Every ceremony is unique and couples are encouraged to invite their friends and family to take part.
Renewal ceremonies are unique and personal events during which couples who are already legally married or who have formed a civil partnership are able to celebrate renewing their vows.
Often these ceremonies are associated with a special anniversary such as the first, 10th, 25th or 40th. However, the ceremony is just as appropriate for couples at any stage of marriage or civil partnership, and is sometimes particularly relevant to those who have been through a period which has put a strain on their relationship but who wish to celebrate their renewed commitment to one another.
Who are they for?
Any legally married couple or civil partners of any age can arrange a renewal of vows ceremony no matter how long they have been married or been together as civil partners. You do not need to live in the area where you would like the ceremony to take place.
What does the ceremony contain?
The ceremony can be personalised to meet your requirements but will usually include:
- introduction and welcome
- acknowledgement of any children of the marriage or civil partnership
- renewal of vows
- rededication of rings
- giving of new rings or gifts
- words from previous guests such as the best man or bridesmaid
- further reading
- signing of certificate
- closing words
Who will conduct the ceremony?
An authorised celebrant will conduct your ceremony. The celebrant is trained and experienced in conducting many different ceremonies so will be more than happy to offer advice on anything you are unsure about.
By selecting the elements you would like your ceremony to contain you will be creating a unique and memorable event for both you and your guests. Take time to ensure the options you choose have meaning for you both. You may also want the special people in your lives, such as your children, relatives, friends and guests who attended your wedding or civil partnership to take part in the ceremony. You will also need to ask two people to witness the signing of the certificate.
Please note that you will need to present your certificate before a ceremony can be booked.
What other ceremonies are available?
Couples who wish to have a religious ceremony should contact their local church or religious community. The British Humanist Association also arranges ceremonies.
Is there a certificate?
A souvenir certificate is signed during the ceremony by the couple and two witnesses.
How long will the ceremony last?
Renewal ceremonies usually last about 15 minutes but can take up to 30 minutes if more readings or other elements are included.
Can another couple renew their vows at the same time?
No. The purpose of the ceremony is for a couple to make a commitment to each other. Other family or friends can hold their own unique ceremony at the same venue on the same day but not at the same time.
I have been married or in a civil partnership before, can I still have a ceremony?
Yes, as long as you are now legally married or in a civil partnership.
Where can the ceremony be held?
In County Durham there are a number of approved premises for marriages and civil partnerships where ceremonies can be held. In addition, ceremonies can take place at Register Offices in Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland and Aykley Heads House (Durham).
Who should I contact to arrange a renewal of vows ceremony?
Information about a renewal of vows ceremony can be obtained by contacting the Aykley Heads House register office.
- Monday to Thursday - £240
- Friday - £260
- Saturday - £270
- Sunday/bank holiday - £315
A non-refundable £35 booking fee applies - this is in addition to the fees outlined above. Changes to ceremony bookings will result in another £35 booking fee becoming payable. (These fees increase to £40 on 1 April 2017).