1,201 people just broke a world record. For love.
'Renewing our commitment with our three children by our side and thousands of other married couples made a powerful statement for love.'
Three cheers for love! On Oct. 8, 2016, 1,201 couples in Kalamazoo, Michigan, all renewed their wedding vows, setting the Guinness World Record for most vow renewals at one time.
The glorious, joy-filled event took place outside Western Michigan University's Heritage Hall and was officiated by Kalamazoo's mayor, Bobby Hopewell.
A number of WMU alumni were in attendance, many of whom had been together since they were students.
The WMU Broncos were playing against Northern Illinois at Waldo Stadium that evening, so a lot of alums were already on campus for the game.
Brian Burch and his wife, Angela, were one such couple, also there to renew their vows.
East Hall: Our first kiss, where she said yes, where we renew our vows after 12 years together. #broncovows @MyWMU… https://t.co/2S7qz2tQYr— Brian Burch (@Brian Burch) 1475954018
"For Angela and I, the site, the school and the people all shaped our relationship," wrote Burch over direct message on Twitter. "So renewing our vows in the same city where met, were engaged, and got married just made sense. Renewing our commitment with our three children by our side and thousands of other married couples made a powerful statement for love."
The record-breaking event wasn't open to just alumni.
Brian Misner and his wife of 20 years came down with their friends who were alumni and made a day of tailgating, vow renewals, and game time.
This #MYWMU #BroncoVows is fun! https://t.co/ImXLJEnLAH— Michgander Jedi (@Michgander Jedi) 1475952301
"After 20 years, I think my bride was reminded of our actual wedding day," Misner said over Twitter direct message. "[...] We agreed, the weekend as a whole was really great. Perfect memories made."
Guinness World Record official Jimmy Coggings was also in attendance to review marriage certificates and count couples.
At the end of the event, he made it official, declaring WMU the new World Record holder for most vows renewed at one time in one place.
The day ended with renewed-marriage bliss and World Record glory being commemorated with champagne and wedding cake.
And lots of obligatory vow renewal selfies.
Vow renewal selfie! #broncovows #mywmu https://t.co/TmNEyCW2AM— Ernst (@Ernst) 1475978918
Even alumni couples who'd been married 65 years and who had graduated over 60 years ago were having a ball.
Breaking this kind of love-affirming record is a beautiful thing, especially when you consider that a Census survey shows divorce rates are actually dropping despite the common misconception that half of marriages end in divorce.
There are several reasons behind this shift, including that we've become more accepting of "modern families" and more couples are waiting longer to wed.
These 1,201 couples who renewed their vows in Kalamazoo are a testament to love going the distance.
Renewed our wedding vows with 1,200 other couples and made a new World Record #broncovows #mywmu @gmckinney2 https://t.co/7C2JsTYFzv— Briona McKinney she/her (@Briona McKinney she/her) 1475967732
While this record-breaking act of love might not solve any of society's systemic problems, it's certainly a big dose of hope for the future.