Your wedding may have been one of the most important days of your life and renewing the promises you made together is a wonderful way to look back at the years you've shared with each other. It can be a way of saying thank you to your partner, maybe to your children and perhaps your grandchildren, for the fun you've had over the years.
It's a great way to include the circle of people that make up the community of your family and friends. The people close to you who support you and are precious to you.
This ceremony is for any married couple wishing to renew their marriage vows in a unique and personal ceremony.
Often these ceremonies are associated with a special wedding anniversary, but the ceremony is just as appropriate for couples at any stage of marriage.
It is sometimes relevant to those who have been through a period which put a strain on their relationship, but who wish to celebrate their renewed commitment to each other.
For couples who were married abroad, it gives an opportunity to renew their vows in front of their family and friends who might not have been able to travel to their wedding ceremony.
What are they for?
Any married couple, of any age and married for any length of time, can arrange a renewal of marriage vows ceremony. It does not matter if you do not live in the area where you want your ceremony.
Your unique ceremony
A ceremony today need not rely on traditional religion or law, but can reflect your own values and philosophies of life. It is about our feelings for each other, those closest to us and our relationship to the wider community in which we live.
The most difficult thing about a special occasion like this can be the content and structure of your ceremony. It can be had to know where to start to produce a balanced, elegant and meaningful service.
You may want to tell the stories that illustrate your shared past, maybe remember how you met. You might want those close to you to contribute with stories and memories, readings or music.
The ceremony is compiled by you! Just as no two married couples are the same, no two ceremonies to renew marriage vows will ever be the same.
As you go through the choices and select what you want the ceremony to contain, you will be creating a unique event that you and all your guests will remember. Take time to consider which options are appropriate and have meaning for you both.
Special people in your lives can take part in your ceremony, your children, guests who were at the wedding and any friends and relatives. You will also need to ask two people to witness the signing of the certificate of the event.
A 'celebrant' will conduct your ceremony but will not be acting in any official capacity, even if they also work as a registrar. Celebrants are trained and experienced at conducting many different ceremonies so do ask their advice on anything you are unsure about.
Venues licensed for marriages are, at the moment, the only venues used for marriage renewals. Please note that private homes are not considered suitable.
South Tyneside Venues are:
- South Shields Register Office
- South Shields Town Hall
- Jarrow Town Hall
- Littlehaven Hotel, South Shields
- The Dunes, South Shields
- Hedworth Hall, South Shields
- Quality Hotel, Boldon
Please note that you may renew your marriage vows anywhere in England and Wales. Just contact the Register Office in the district you wish the ceremony to take place and they will advise you of the venues available.
What does the ceremony contain?
Renewal of marriage vows ceremonies can contain the following sections:
- Introduction and welcome
- Acknowledgement of any children of the marriage
- Renewal of vows
- Re-dedication of ring(s) or gift(s)
- Words from previous wedding guests (often best man, bridesmaid or bride's father)
- Further reading
- Signing of certificate and closing words
What other ceremonies are available?
Couples who wish to have a religious ceremony should contact their local church or religious community.
Is there a Certificate?
A souvenir certificate is signed during the ceremony by the couple and the two witnesses.
How long will the ceremony last?
Normally the ceremony will last approximately 15 minutes, but up to 30 minutes if more readings and options are chosen.
If I want to arrange a ceremony, what do I do?
Call South Tyneside Register Office at 0191 424 6350 and ask to make an appointment to talk over your options and book the ceremony. Please remember if you wish to hold the ceremony in an outside venue you must also contact them personally.
These ceremonies have no legal effect, and are not legally binding on those who participate. The celebrant who conducts your ceremony will not be acting in an official capacity even if they also work as a registration officer.
Please note that your marriage certificate will need to be shown before a ceremony can be booked.