Couples planning to renew their vows should definitely dress for the occasion, and the venue, time of day and type of ceremony will help them decide what to wear. Think about the activities you have planned; dancing will require clothes that are easy to move in, for example. Then choose attire that says you’re happy to be doing it all over again.
Rules to Follow
Before you say “I do” — again — consider the type of ceremony you want and let that guide your wardrobe selection. A ceremony at a local garden or along the shores of the ocean will be decidedly less formal than an event held in a traditional reception hall or upscale restaurant. Afternoon events call for less formal attire than evening events. Draw on seasonal inspiration, too. Choose pastels in the spring; bright, tropical hues of coral and turquoise in the summer; deep reds and oranges and in the fall; and jewel tones, such as jade and amethyst, in the winter.
Looks for Women
Go traditional and wear your wedding dress again, if you like, but don’t shy away from a less formal dress option. For a relaxed outdoor affair or casual afternoon ceremony, choose a floral or solid-colored sundress or structured shift or sheath dress. More formal evening ceremonies may call for a knee-length cocktail dress or even a floor-length evening gown in silk, chiffon or taffeta. A dressy pant suit is appropriate; choose a cotton or linen suit for more a casual gathering and a wool or satin suit for a formal ceremony. Pumps, open-toed high heels and dressy sandals finish your outfit.
Outfits for Men
You may have said “I do” the first time around in a tuxedo, and you can wear black-tie attire again for a formal vow renewal. More relaxed events call for semiformal to casual attire. A suit, white button-down shirt and conservative tie is always appropriate for this special occasion; choose a darker color for a more formal ceremony. For a less formal afternoon affair, a light gray or khaki suit or a blazer and pair of khaki slacks is suitable. For a relaxed event at a park, garden or beach, dress casually — but not sloppily — in light-colored chinos and a button-down shirt. Leather loafers are a safe choice for all outfits, although you might wear sandals if you’re declaring your love on a sandy beach.
Other Couple Considerations
Choose an outfit that reflects the level of formality as your spouse’s look. For example, wear a dark suit to match your partner’s cocktail or floor-length dress, or a sundress to go with your spouse’s light suit. Likewise, create a coordinated look by choosing similar colors — one partners may wear a plaid pastel tie to complement a soft pink dress, for example. Women may choose to carry a bouquet of flowers down the aisle during their ceremony, much like they did on their wedding day — but they should skip the veil for this second set of “I dos.”
References and ResourcesColin Cowie Weddings: Vow Renewal 101
National Healthy Marriage Resource Center: Renewing Your Vows, Renewing Your Commitment
ABC News: Vow Renewal: What to Wear
Glamour: What Are Rules and Customs for Vow Renewals?
Emily Post: Attire Guide: Dress Codes from Casual to White Tie