Should Guests Bring Gifts to a Vow Renewal?

Do typical wedding rules apply?

Photo: Delbarr Moradi Photography

Vow renewals are hot right now, with everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Alec and Hilaria Baldwin doing one. It's not hard to see why couples-in Hollywood or not-love the idea: A vow renewal is a celebration of a longstanding relationship that two people got right. So, does that mean the occasion warrants a gift? If you've been invited to a couple's vow renewal and are unsure whether or not you need to bring a present along, read on.

You're not expected to bring a gift.

A vow renewal has a different vibe than a wedding. Even though more and more engaged couples are living together in a space they've already furnished, historically wedding guests buy them gifts-many of them housewares-to ostensibly help the newlyweds set up a new home together. A husband and wife married even for a few years have already established their home and don't need anything, which means vow renewal gifts aren't necessary or expected. Some couples even push a no-gifts agenda by printing "no gifts, please" right on the invitation.

But if you did want to give them something…

Why not pool your money with other invitees and buy the couple something like a weekend away at a romantic lodge or a spa day? Since they probably have enough cookware and china at home, avoid gifting the couple with any household items. If you don't want to go in on a group gift, get them a great bottle of wine, a gift card to a nice restaurant in town, or his and her pedicures. As with wedding gifts, you should send whatever you're giving them to their home rather than bring it to the renewal ceremony.

If neither option feels right, make a charitable donation in their name.

Contributing to a charity-political, health, educational-is a nice gesture that will surely be appreciated by the couple and, at the same time, make the world a better place.

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