Plan A Recommitment Ceremoney

After you weather a long-term relationship for many years, you may want to plan a recommitment celebration to pledge your love anew.

With the current high divorce rate, many long-term couples are choosing to celebrate the survival of long-term relationships with a special party or ceremony. Inviting friends and family, the couple recommit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. This is often done during a major anniversary, such as the 20th, 25th, or even 50th year together.

If you are in charge of planning the festivities, you may want to consider some creative options to make the party a splendid and thoughtful occasion.

1. Setting. Perhaps the party can be staged at a location that played a role in the couple's romance the first time around. This may be a restaurant where they had their first date, the theme park where they got engaged, or the chapel where the marriage took place. Another option is to set the stage at a different location, one that is dear to the couple's heart at present. This could be a romantic country inn, a bustling ski resort, or a church hall where they are members.

2. Decorations. Use the couple's favorite themes and colors to coordinate streamers, table settings, placemats, and the cake, if you have one. If they enjoy pre-1950 films, for example, put up posters of Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. Or if they're horse lovers, make that your coordinating element. Think of a sincere or humorous expression of appreciation or celebration to include on banners, posters, and the cake.

3. Ceremony. You may be able to retain the original cleric or judge who performed the first ceremony and can do the second. Or you may wish to ask the couple's current pastor or a close friend with appropriate credentials. The couple may choose to recite a poem that reflects their relationship, or exchange renewed vows in their own words or using traditional speeches. You can add a singer, children bearing new rings, or testimonials about the couple's longstanding union.

4. Guests. Invite those who will enjoy the ceremony and not have any reason to bear malice or hold a grudge. Even though you may wish to cast a wide net, avoid inviting those who may come for spite or to cause problems, such as an unforgiving former spouse or a relative who represents another family branch of a timeless feud. Don't invite anyone who may feel obligated to come and not enjoy it, such as new bosses or coworkers, community or civic leaders, and so on. Family, friends, neighbors, close coworkers, and others who are truly excited about the couple's longevity should be invited.

5. Commemorations. A professional photographer can collect pictures of the event for a special memory book. Or have a friend videotape short blurbs from the guests as a means of preserving the day:

"You guys are the greatest!"

"We'll never forget how you helped us rebuild after that storm."

"You two belong together, now and forever."

A guest register might be useful if more than a handful of guests are expected. Gifts may be optional, though some folks are sure to bring them. Another possibility is to collect donations from guests and present the couple with a cash envelope that will pay for a weekend getaway in New York or a week in Hawaii as a second honeymoon.

However you plan it, the recommitment ceremony is an opportunity to commend a couple's relational success and to wish them continued joy. Have fun planning and attending your next such event.

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