That’s a pretty loaded question that I get asked time after time, especially when it comes to ceremonies other than weddings. It’s easy to understand why. There are a lot of traditions associated with weddings and no matter how many traditions are kept or thrown aside in a wedding, everyone pretty much knows what those traditions are. Not so with other ceremonies, ceremonies as diverse as vow renewals and same sex commitment/marriage ceremonies.
There’s an obvious reason why there are no litanies of tradition associated with either of these ceremonies and that is because both vow renewals and same sex marriage and commitment are relatively new celebrations. That both are becoming more and more popular, is definite, but there are still no great traditions in either, for guidance.
I, personally, believe that marriage is a covenant between two people, regardless of sex, and I view both sexes as equal. Therefore, for me, any traditions that exist in a traditional marriage between people of opposite sexes, should also be true for an equally valid marriage between people of the same sex. In other works, if it’s good for the goose and the gander, it’s good for the gander and the gander and the goose and the goose. PERIOD. Make your own traditions if you like, but know that ALL of the old traditions are equally valid, no matter what the sex of each partner is.
Which brings us to vow renewals. One way of approaching a vow renewal, is to repeat the events of the original wedding and commitment, and that works, when that’s what people want. My favorite way of creating a vow renewal ceremony is to use a bit of the old – something from the marriage ceremony, even if it’s the traditional vows, and something new – maybe a little history of the marriage, maybe a celebration of children and family, maybe something in between, maybe a little metamorphosis into a new future……………
For me, Vow Renewals are celebrations of YOUR marriage and I applaud EVERY marriage where the couple is prepared to commit all over again! So yeah, keep the old traditions that you like and make up a few new ones, based on the things YOU love in your marriage. You can use the old vows, you can exchange the same rings, or you can do something else entirely. As long as you say “I do”, “I still do”, pretty much anything goes…………………….