Metro Weekly

Seattle Sets World Record for LGBTQ Wedding Vow Renewals

56 LGBTQ couples renewed their vows in a Visit Seattle ceremony aboard a cruise ship on what the city recognized as "Love For All Day."

56 couples renewed their vows during a cruise around Puget Sound on May 30 – Photo: Ventrait/ Visit Seattle

Visit Seattle claims to have set a new world record for the number of LGBTQ couples renewing their vows simultaneously.

The renewals took place on May 30 on Argosy Cruises’ Salish Explorer, dubbed the “Love For All Boat,” with 56 LGBTQ couples taking part in a vow renewal ceremony.

Passengers were treated to a meal of Pacific Northwest cuisine and Washington wines following the ceremony. 

The ship traveled around Puget Sound at sunset, offering attendees views of the Olympic Mountains and Seattle’s skyline, with several iconic landmarks — including the Seattle Great Wheel, T-Mobile Park, Lumen Field, and Rainier Square — lit up to mark the celebration of what Seattle city leaders officially recognized as “Love For All Day.” 

Visit Seattle, which organized and hosted the event on board the cruise ship, worked with 13 of its hotel partners to create special packages for couples taking part in the ceremony.

Couples who stayed at one of those 13 hotels received free admission to the event.

Seattle resident and RuPaul’s Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme emceed the festivities, leading a celebratory cake cutting and giving a live performance. Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu, the state’s first openly gay Asian-American and Latina justice, officiated the ceremony.

Among the couples on board were Sara and Emily Cofer, the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Washington State, who, coincidentally, were the first same-sex couple to be married by Yu.

Another couple who renewed their vows were Zac and Sam Baker, who relocated to Seattle after initially being chosen as one of four out-of-state couples who were thrown a “dream wedding” in 2014 as part of Visit Seattle’s “Marry Me in Seattle” campaign.

That campaign was developed to celebrate the passage of marriage equality in Washington State — which, at the time, was one of fewer than a dozen states recognizing same-sex marriages as valid — following a 2012 voter-approved ballot initiative

Same-sex marriages have since been legalized in all 50 states following the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Proceeds from the event benefitted the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund, a project of Washington State’s LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, in which scholarships are awarded to LGBTQ students who exhibit leadership potential and strong academic skills and are actively involved in school and community organizations. Since its founding in 1991, the fund has given out $6 million to 535 scholars.

“This experience was about our city proudly affirming its vow to the LGBTQIA+ community as a place that they can always feel welcome to love openly and be their authentic selves,” Michael Woody, the chief communications officer for Visit Seattle, said in a statement. Woody also participated in the vow renewal with his husband of three years. recognized the ceremony’s world record, but it was not listed on the Guinness Book of World Records site, which does not break down vow renewals by sexual orientation. 

According to Guinness, the largest vow renewal ceremony on record took place at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on October 8, 2016, with 1,201 couples participating.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!