Couples renew vows for world-record

February 11, 2008 5:58:07 PM PST
Valentine's Day came early for hundreds of married couples in Pittsburgh.

More than 600 couples gathered Sunday at the city's Carnegie Music Hall to renew their wedding vows in a ceremony they hoped would break a world record.

The current record was set by 272 couples who renewed their vows on Sept. 16, 2007, in Sydney, Australia, according to Guinness World Records. It was unclear when Guinness would make a determination about the Pittsburgh event.

The couples paid $30 each to participate in the ceremony. They also were required to bring a copy of their marriage certificates and recite the same vows they took initially.

A reception with wedding cake and champagne followed the event, which was overseen by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Ed and Helen Downing, both 81, of Avalon, were recognized as the longest-married couple, having recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.

Christine Carvajal, 41, of Spring Hill, was decked out in the gown she wore when she wed her husband, 45-year-old Chet Shuty, 11 years ago. Attending the ceremony was her husband's idea, she said.

"I thought it would be romantic, fun and record-breaking," he said.

The ceremony was held as part of a series of events commemorating Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary.