Celebrity Wedding Vow Renewals: Romance or Showmance?

It seems like wedding vow renewals are the new celebrity breakdowneverybody’s having them.  Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey have a vow renewal ceremony every year.  Kim Kardashian renewed her vows to Kris Humphries after one week (guess that one didn’t work so well).  The latest member of the vow renewal club is Alyson Hannigan, whose husband recently re-proposed to her (complete with ginormous engagement ring).  It’s not just celebrities doing vow renewals, ideas for these ceremonies are popping up all over Pinterest.

So what’s the deal?  Is there really a huge need to “renew” a vow of “til death do us part”?  (Seems like that ought to have you pretty well covered for the rest of your life.)  Is this romantic, or just another invention of the wedding-industrial complex to sell more diamonds and white dresses?  Do these ceremonies mean anything if you end up separated two months later?  Is renewing your vows a genuine demonstration of love, or is it just showy and over the top?

I can see the case for vow renewals if…

You didn’t have the wedding you wanted the first time around.  If you just went to City Hall the first time around due to an illness, impending military deployment, or not being able to afford a wedding, I can see why you would want the chance to celebrate your love surrounded by your family and friends.

You want to include your kids in the wedding.  I heard on the radio the other day an adorable story about a little boy who saw his mom’s wedding dress and was sad he wasn’t able to participate in his parents’ wedding, so they recreated it for him.

You’re having a small renewal with just you and your partner.  If you’re really do just want to remind your partner that you’d marry them all over again if you could, go for it!  The problems start when you involve other people, because…

It seems showy.  This is extra true for celebrities; it seems like vow renewals might just be a cry for attention and a way of reminding the paparazzi and the public that they still exist.  That said, as cries for attention go, a vow renewal certainly beats drunk driving, drug abuse, shoplifting, and the many other things that get celebrities into the tabloids.

You might look like you’re compensating for something.  If you need to publicly advertise your vow renewal, it sort of looks like you’re trying to prove something to yourself by proving it to other people.  If the spark is gone, it can certainly be revived, but I’m not sure making the American public listen to how much you love each other is the way to do it.  It’s not that we’re not happy for you and your love, but when you have to rub it in everyone’s faces, it looks like something is amiss.

It’s really, really showy.  Yes, I’m repeating a point, but over the top doesn’t even begin to describe some of this.  Shutting down Disneyland for an entire evening for a vow renewal to commemorate your fifth anniversary?  I’m pretty sure most couples celebrate their five year anniversary with dinner.  You can throw an over the top costume party every year to renew your vows, but that doesn’t guarantee your marriage will last.  Can’t people just have lavish parties anymore, or must they really justify it by calling it a vow renewal?

I’ll admit, I’m pretty skeptical about weddings in general, so I might be a bit biased about this vow renewal thing.  Are these people just having a fun time celebrating their love?  Or are they trivializing and making a spectacle of marriage?  And I’m genuinely curious – if you’re someone who had a vow renewal ceremony, what made you decide to have one?

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