Pittsburgh Makes World Record For Most Wedding Vows in One Day

Guinness World Records has made it official: Pittsburgh now holds the record for the most couples, 624 to be exact, to simultaneously renew their wedding vows. The attempt occurred on Feb. 10, 2008, when participants filled the Carnegie Music Hall, part of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, for Re-Union: The World's Largest Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony, and said “I Do” all over again. Re-Union took place in collaboration with VisitPittsburgh and the Reunion and Homecoming Committee of Pittsburgh 250 — a year-long celebration of Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary — and was the committee's first major reunion event.

Guinness World Records(TM) requires extensive evidence of the event; consequently, photographic and video documentation, witness statements, media clips, and a photocopy of the original marriage certificate of each couple were organized, labeled, and mailed to the United Kingdom for approval. Earlier this week, Guinness World Records(TM) officially notified Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh that the record claim was accepted, beating out the previous record of 272 couples who simultaneously renewed their vows in Sydney, Australia, in September 2007.

The event was conceived by Kitty Julian, director of marketing at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History and Reunion committee member, and organized by Leigh Kish, also of Carnegie Museums. Reunion committee co-chair, Esther Bush, was master of ceremonies. Co-chair Jeffrey Letwin, introduced the witnesses to the event: Judge Cynthia Baldwin; Allen Kukovich, Pittsburgh Office of Governor Rendell; Patrick Dowd, Pittsburgh City Councilman; and Rebecca Whitlinger, author of Always a Bridesmaid: 89 Ways to Recycle That Bridesmaid Dress. Recognition of participants was provided by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, and City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl officiated. It was his first wedding ceremony as mayor.

“Achieving this record confirms to the world what we already know of Pittsburgh: it's a place where people are committed–to the city, to their community, and to each other,” said James E. Rohr, Chairman of the Pittsburgh 250th Anniversary Commission.

“This ceremony was probably the only way I would ever make it into the Guinness World Record so I signed us up as soon as I heard about it,” said Lynne Glover, a Pittsburgh resident who renewed wedding vows with her husband, Paul Alessio. But the icing on the proverbial wedding cake was that it turned out to be a really special evening, she added. “It sounds corny, but everything that night was just so sweet, romantic and even emotional. Paul and I simply had a wonderful time and we're glad to have been a part of making history, too.”

Major sponsors for the event were TWOgether Pittsburgh, an intensive marriage support initiative in the Pittsburgh area; Great Western Champagne; and radio sponsor Star 100.7.