It is not so uncommon these days to see couples throwing a second reception to renew their wedding vows after a few years. Most people do it when they reach a milestone, like a 10th or 20th anniversary, when they go through some hardship that they overcome together, becoming closer and stronger as a couple, or simply because they couldn’t have the wedding of their dreams the first time, for whatever reason.

And, to be honest, nowadays, with a divorce rate so high and so many people afraid of taking the plunge, I believe that if you’ve managed to stay happily married for a long time, you deserve a pat on the back -and a crackerjack party to celebrate!

In our case, there were many reasons for making this decision:

I could not plan my wedding, so one way to get it out of my system was to renew our vows.

The year when we were engaged I was living in China. The wedding was to take place in Venezuela, and, as efficient as the internet is in this time and age, there are things that you simply can not do long distance. Things like cake tasting, site visiting, trying on the dress, etc, are very hard to do over Skype.

Most of the planning fell in the hands of my husband and mother in law. They did their best and organized a nice party -but it didn’t feel like my party, if that makes any sense. I didn’t choose the venue, I didn’t taste the food, I was sent photos and asked for opinions, but I felt more like a guest at my own wedding than the bride. And, sure enough, the wedding didn’t have my style, my signature, the unique quirks that I would incorporate in any event that I plan.

Not only that, but having the wedding in Venezuela involved some limitations, due to the situation of the country at the time. Inflation was out of control and prices went up literally every day, which made it impossible to properly plan and manage a budget on the long term. Nobody could give me the price of anything, because it would change in the next weeks and months. I had to do this blind, not knowing how much things were going to cost. In fact, one week before the wedding, the venue and the photographer raised the price, even after it was all reserved and paid for.

When you can’t plan your budget you will go for the cheapest possible option. We chose the cheapets place, the cheapest flowers, the cheapest meal, the cheapest everything -and it’s not a bride’s dream to have the cheapest wedding she can get.

My friends and family could not attend, so I decided to have my new friends join me this time

There were 80 guests at my wedding. 4 of them were mine -my father, stepmother and sisters. They left after the ceremony and didn’t stay for the reception. None of my other relatives and friends could make it, fior various reasons. Some of them lived abroad, some of them had personal issues and some of them simply didn’t want to.

Sitting at your reception surrounded by people you’ve barely met may be… lonely? They were all very nice, but at the time we hardly knew each other. Honestly, at that point I still had not learned the names of everyone involved. We didn’t have a history together. We were more acquaintance than friends. It’s a different feeling when you have the company of people that you’ve been through something together.

Now, settled and rooted in our new country, we count on a small tribe that we’ve shared adventures and memories with. We had birhtdays and Christmasses together, we’ve had pizzas and drinks, we watch our children play and grow and reach milestones.

I often wished I had had this kind of gang on my wedding day, so it made sense to have a do-over and share it with my new friends.

We invited too many unnecessary people and threw off our budget

We both have large families, with lots of cousins and uncles we barely ever see, and lots of friends from school and college that we only find on Facebook. The thing is, just because you know someone it doesn’t necessarily mean that this someone will care to be at your wedding. And if you know this already, inviting them just out of formality will only wreck your plan.

We had 130 people in our guest list -half of them we knew that would not come, but invited them anyway. The result was that, in doing our math, the wedding seemed more expensive than we wanted. So we cut down costs of everything else, to accomodate so many people. Which is impractical, considering that in the end you’ll have half the guests you had on the list -and could have afforded a nicer event, with more elegant details.

For our vow renewal there is no obligation or protocol. This time we can have the luxury of only inviting really close friends, and only those that we know will truly want to join us. Thus, having a reduced guest list, we can look for elegant options and exotic dishes, decor, photographer and other details to make the day stand out.

The first time we had no money

Our plan was to migrate right after the wedding, which meant that, for a while, both of us would be unemployed and living off our savings. With that in mind, we wanted to save as much as possible and spend as little as possible. So, for pretty much everything, from flowers to cake, from photos to bridesmaid dresses, we tried to get the cheapest option -which is not always the best.

I could not choose the things I liked, I only chose the lowest bidder. This left me feeling a bit disappointed regarding many details at our wedding that might have been nicer.

For our second wedding, now that we are settled and steady, we can afford to indulge in a few whims to make our day more fun and memorable.

Are you planning a first wedding, a second one, a vow renewal? Please visit my wedding page and let me be a part of your happiness with gorgeous hand-made unique stationery to set your day apart.

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