Big Promise smashes world record for wedding vow renewals
Still awaiting official confirmation, Marriage Week has just informed Christian Today that their Big Promise initiative successfully smashed the previous world record for the number of couples renewing their wedding vows simultaneously.
Taking place last Saturday at 5.15pm, right around the country at least 1,400 couples renewed their vows – considerably more than the current record holders - Miami University in Ohio, which involved 1,087 couples. That record was set back in 2009.
There are still numbers to be collected and verified, and the Guinness World Record has very stringent rules that needed to be followed, so Marriage Week have submitted the details of their World Record attempt and are awaiting official approval.
Marriage Week runs until Friday and the Big Promise was a new initiative for this year. As we have previously reported, Marriage Week indicated that the world record attempt was simply a way of celebrating the importance of marriage within society.
After such an enormous undertaking, co-ordinating venues around the country, official approval from the Guinness World Record office would be the icing on the cake for Marriage Week organisers.
"Setting a World Record is a practical and tangible way of getting the press to notice and report on the importance of marriage vows at the heart of society – it's a means to an end, not the end itself," they said.
Dave Percival, national coordinator for the Big Promise, said after the event: "The simplicity and dignity of each Big Promise ceremony held sends a clear message.
"The vows are the essential part of being married – not the fancy wedding, amazing reception or exotic honeymoon. Marriage matters to every one of these couples, and should matter to all of us in society as the bedrock of stable family life."
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The Big Promise has provided many couples with the chance to celebrate what their marriages mean to them with those in their local communities. Many couples spoke of how much more their vows meant to them second time round because they truly understood what their vows meant.
Tom Shaw and his wife Doreen, from Sheffield, took part in the Big Promise, renewing their vows on their Golden wedding anniversary.
"We were thrilled to remind each other of the promises we made to each other 50 years to the day that we first said them," he said.
"This has been such a special day as we have celebrated our commitment to each other with our family and friends. It has been quite moving to look back on how we have been blessed and challenged throughout our life together. And after 50 years, it's not over yet. The best is still to come."
Marriage Week had the full support of Prime Minister David Cameron, who told Christian Today: "Marriage is a declaration of commitment, responsibility and stability that helps to bind families.
"The values of marriage are give and take, support and sacrifice - values that we need more of in this country. Of course, there are people across the country who have never married and are just as committed to each other. We also know that sadly too many marriages come to an end.
"But we can agree with all these things and still support an institution that can help keep families together."