KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Members of the Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo communities will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most marriage vow renewals made in one place at the same time during a Saturday, Oct. 8, homecoming event on WMU's historic East Campus.
The world record attempt is slated for 3:30 p.m. on the Grand Lawn of WMU's Heritage Hall Alumni Center. Kalamazoo Mayor and WMU alumnus Bobby J. Hopewell will serve as the officiant, and WMU Development and Alumni Relations Vice President Tim Terrentine will serve as event emcee.
"Western Michigan University means so much to so many. We are pleased and excited to have the Bronco community come together to celebrate love, relationships and the Bronco pride that holds us all together," Terrentine says. "We are excited and determined to show the world, and even the Guinness book, that Broncos are a force to be reckoned with."
Vows will be said at 3:30 p.m., shortly before WMU's 93rd Homecoming Game against Northern Illinois University, which will kick off at 6:30 p.m. The record attempt will take place rain or shine. Organizers must draw 1,088 couples to break the record, which will be monitored by a visiting official Guinness World Record judge.
All participants must provide a copy of a valid marriage license to be included in the count. Participants who pre-register will also receive a packet filled with information, a car magnet, a commemorative pin set and more.
The record was previously broken by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 2009 with 1,087 couples. As of Sept. 26, nearly 900 couples had registered for the WMU event, putting event attendance at 82 percent of the way to the record. Event organizer Chris Praedel says the response has been overwhelming. One alumni couple who haven't been back to campus for years are traveling to Kalamazoo for the event. Another couple from Japan are planning to attend as well.
The world record event will serve as the focal point for a number of activities and videos before the ceremony, and all "newlyweds" will enjoy cake and a champagne toast after they’ve said their vows. The ceremony will also include love songs performed live by Chicago-based R&B singer Meagan McNeal, a 2008 WMU alumna. Several photo stations for couples to memorialize their renewals will be available on-site.
The West Michigan Law Offices of David L. Carrier is the event sponsor. Wedding cake will be provided by Bert’s Bakery of Kalamazoo.
Anyone may participate and no links to WMU are required. Organizers ask all interested couples to register by the end of the day Friday, Sept. 30. Anyone interested in getting married—again—can register for the event at mywmu.com/vows or by calling the MyWMU Concierge at (269) 387-8746.
For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.