St. Augustine lovers attempt a world record

By Sarah Williamson |

600 couples gathered Sunday at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum for a world record attempt of the largest wedding vow renewal ceremony.

The current record is set at 1,087 couples. The ceremony took place in June 2009 in Oxford, Ohio.

Although St. Augustine didn’t make the books—to all those teary-eyed couples, it didn’t matter.

Some couples had been married over 40 years and were adorned in classic lace. Others were newlyweds, with brides wearing modern mermaid style gowns and flowered veils. All had come to show each other, once again, what it means to have and to hold.

Upon check in, the pairs received a complimentary flower and a cup of environmentally friendly confetti. At 2 p.m. the crowd gathered eagerly in front of the museum, repeating the vows announced by the minister.

Women and men dabbed each others’ eyes, kissing and held hands. Afterwards, every couple dove in for a kiss, throwing confetti and laughing.

So what has kept these couples’ love alive?

“It started with day one … him being my best friend,” said Marcie Davis, married for 7 years.

Another couple, Mark and Anita Bennet, married 5 years, described their love as being centered with God. They completely see “eye-to-eye on how to live their lives.”

“No secrets,” said David DoRego, married 10 years.

Jesse and Susan Sweatt, married 15 years, explained that opposites really do attract and it’s the respect of one anothers’ differences that keeps things running smoothly.
“She’s laid back and I’m not!” Jesse explained while grinning at his wife.

For others, it is what they have in common that keeps the spark alive. Phil and Holly Keefer have both suffered the loss of someone close to them. It has taught them to appreciate each day they have together and not take anything for granted.

For Bobby and Bo Bonenberger, married 18 years, it is two things: “respect and sex!”

For Grace and Clint Taylor, it is laughter that has kept them together for the last 12 years.

After the ceremony, couples gathered for photos in front of a flowered trellis and a large wedding cake. The lucky first comers jumped on board St. Augustine’s tourist trolley with for a tour through downtown. Confetti covered the pavement as couples returned to their cars hand in hand.

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