The happiest day of your life…again and again and again

By Ngaire Stanaway, events manager

It was the happiest day of your life…so why wouldn’t you want to relive the moment you said “I do” to your other half?

While a decade ago most of us would have been happy to reminisce about our wedding by leafing through the pages of a photo album or watching a video of the big day, in 2018 married couples are finding a new path down memory lane.

Vow renewal ceremonies – where couples reaffirm their love for one another – are becoming increasingly common. We’ve already hosted a number of these celebrations here at The Chester Hotel, and have found that couples have many different reasons for wanting to walk down the aisle for the second time.

Some want to mark a special milestone in their marriage, such as a significant anniversary, some want to have the wedding celebration they always dreamed of but couldn’t have when they were younger, and others want to show that they have emerged stronger than ever from a particularly challenging time in their marriage.

Whatever the reason for wanting to renew those special vows, our team of wedding planners guide them through the process from start to finish. The first thing that we say to already married couples is the same thing that we say to our first-time brides and grooms to be: this is your special event, so have it your way.

We remind them that, unlike marriage ceremonies, a vow renewal is a symbolic gesture and there are no legal requirements such as getting a wedding license and having the banns posted. It also means that there doesn’t have to be an official presiding over the service – you could have a close friend, your original bridesmaid and best man, or even your children performing the honours.

Rather than go back to the church where they were married, many couples prefer to hold the ceremony at a place special to them. Some who have reaffirmed their vows at The Chester Hotel have regularly enjoyed a cosy dinner in the IX Restaurant, Friday night date nights in the bar, or have visited for romantic weekends away.

In terms of the vows, these can be the vows that you made years previously or completely new vows which reflect your journey as a married couple. I’ve seen couples include elements of both, which I think works really well as it looks back to the past as well as the future.

While the decision to renew vows can be for very personal and spiritual reasons, many couples simply want to do it again because they loved it so much the first time around. I’ve worked with a couple of “brides” who have initially said that they planned to wear a nice evening dress for the service – only to end up buying another wedding gown that suits today’s fashions!

As we grow older, people come in and out of our lives and many couples want to share their special day with friends that they have made since their wedding. While some will want a small, intimate gathering, others will want to get all their family and friends together for a day – and night – of celebrations.

The Chester Hotel has hosted vow renewals in its Granite Balcony – a private dining area to the rear of the main restaurant with its own balcony giving views to the south of Aberdeen – as well larger gatherings in the Granite Suite HYPERLINK TO:, with its own private bar and dining facilities. With state-of-the-art sound and lighting – and a fantastic dancefloor to recreate the first dance – the Granite Suite is a real hit.

While we offer specific packages for weddings and other celebrations, we do believe that it’s important to make special memories – even for a second time! Our menus can be adapted, and we may even be able to include a nod to your original wedding breakfast somewhere in the menu.

We do enjoy a wedding here at The Chester Hotel – and there’s nothing we’d love more than to give you the happiest day of your life…all over again!