Donald & Rebecca’s Story

People renew their vows for many reasons: illness, to mark getting through troubled times, to celebrate a milestone anniversary or, increasingly, because they married abroad and want to celebrate the day with family and friends at home afterwards – whether that be weeks, months or years later.

For Donald and Rebecca Palmer, a renewal of vows ceremony was important to show that no matter what life has in store, they’ve made it this far and are looking forward to many more years together.

I suppose we haven’t been married that long in the grand scheme of things, but as time has gone on, we’ve both lost parents and there’s been some minor operations, and a renewal of vows ceremony was a way of acknowledging this – to celebrate that we’ve got this far; that no matter what life throws at us we’re still here.

We planned it together, although it was Rebecca who really looked into it and did all the research. I suppose I tried to play it down somewhat, but on the day it meant a lot more to me than I realised it would.

Our renewal of vows ceremony took place on July 19 – our 13th (lace) wedding anniversary, in the Benefactors Room at Norwich Castle. It was very low key affair – just the two of us and registrars Nigel Barnard and Sue Sayer. We didn’t even invite our children, Louis and Emanuella, ‘just enjoy it together – spend a lovely day together’. And we did. We spent a lovely morning getting ready at home, and then went to the castle for the ceremony, which was simple and beautiful. It was a very simple script and we had no music or readings but there was a ‘glow’ between us – staff commented on it.

Afterwards there were some special family places that Rebecca wanted us to visit together. People did look at us as though they knew we were going somewhere special, especially I suppose with Rebecca in her lace dress – we did feel like a special couple on the day.

The news then spread like wildfire and we received some lovely blessings from our friends and family around the world. Every time we see the castle now, and you can’t miss it living in Norwich, we have a special feeling. It’s a ceremony I would recommend to others. In fact, since ours I’ve found out that a few people I know have had similar ceremonies.