July 15, 2023
Tracy and Keith Zimmerman went on a romantic journey to renew their vows in all fifty states! Starting in Hawaii and ending in Alaska, they selected incredible spots across the country to have vow ceremonies. They even did a renewal in front of the White House! Originally married in Canada, they are now, most definitely, an All-American couple! We are proud to add them to the All Fifty Club Record Holders list.
From Tracy -
My husband, Keith, and I met in 1999 at the company we both worked for in Richardson, Texas. We began dating in early 2001, and to escape the Texas summer heat, we took our first trip together in July 2001 to Pennsylvania to visit my family in my hometown. During that trip, we made a day trip up to Niagara Falls, Canada where the weather was perfect (in the 70s).
We became engaged in October 2001, and we decided that we loved Niagara Falls, Canada so much that we would get married there the following year. We had to go through a lot of “red tape” to be able to get married in Canada and be legal in the United States, but we did it!
Our original wedding was on July 2, 2002, at Oakes Garden Theater overlooking Niagara Falls. We hired a wedding planner who took care of all the details, so all we had to do was show up, which was awesome! Much to our surprise, the high temperature at home in Texas was only 85 that day, and it was a miserable 112 degrees in Niagara Falls, but everything worked out just fine! We kept it very intimate with just me, my husband, my son, and parents, and then a big family reception followed the next night back in Pennsylvania – complete with fireworks!
Fast forward to 2010, since we didn’t officially get married in the United States, my husband had the idea of renewing our wedding vows in every state. It seemed like an impossible venture, but we decided to go for it! We always tried to pick fun and memorable locations in each state. And – we both got new rings for each vow renewal ceremony – not super expensive rings, but very nice ones!
Our very first vow renewal took place on July 6, 2010, on Waialae Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. This was one of our favorites as the location was just beautiful. Again, we had a wedding planner that took care of all the details, and she had a limo pick us up at our hotel to get us to and from the location. A bottle of champagne was included!
Going forward, we planned our vacations so that we could renew our vows in as many states as possible as quickly as possible. This meant that some trips included multiple vow renewals on the same day or within a few days. We started out hiring licensed wedding officiants in each state (or in a few cases there were officiants licensed in neighboring states, so we used the same officiant for multiple states). Later in our journey, we had pastors from local Methodist churches officiate our vow renewals. My husband is Baptist, and I am Catholic, but we found that we really loved the people of the Methodist churches, and they were very accommodating to us.
The following summer, 2011, we went back to Pennsylvania to visit family, and we made a trip to Niagara Falls, New York to renew our vows on the Maid of the Mist right next to the falls (our Jim & Pam moment for those of you who watch “The Office”). The following day, we were able to renew our vows in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia within 45 minutes using the same officiant. My husband and I changed outfits while driving from state to state, and the officiant & his wife didn’t even notice until we pointed it out after the third state while we were looking at the pictures.
On 11/11/11, we renewed our vows in our home state of Texas at Southfork Ranch (just down the street from our house) at 6:30 am on our way to work – of course wearing our boots and cowboy hats!! Our officiant was the pastor of the nearby church and the father of our son’s best friend. For those that aren’t familiar with Southfork Ranch, this is the location where the TV series “Dallas” was filmed.
On another summer trip, we hired an officiant that was able to perform our vow renewals in Virginia (in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial), Maryland (National Harbor), and Washington D.C. (in front of the White House) – all in the same day. During the week of that same trip, we drove down the East coast to renew our vows in North Carolina (Fayetteville), South Carolina (Hilton Head), Georgia (Tybee Island), and Florida (Daytona Beach).
Another favorite was at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on 12/12/12 where we dressed up like Elvis and Priscilla. Busloads of people stopped to take pictures of us. It was hysterical!
Also, in 2012 during a Christmas vacation in Estes Park, Colorado, we made a quick trip up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and renewed our vows at the Train Station. It is bitter cold, and our officiant was extremely pregnant, but she was a trooper! We had fun afterward driving around Cheyenne to find all the painted boots.
Another exciting occasion was renewing our vows on Christmas Eve in Keystone, Colorado by walking out on a frozen lake with our officiant and his wife. It was -24 degrees that morning, sort of scary, but breathtakingly beautiful!
During a cruise in September 2016, we stopped in Boston where we renewed our vows at Fenway Park on a rainy afternoon. While we were there, we rented a car to drive by the Army base where my husband’s father served. We stopped to take a couple of pictures at the front gate, then drove to a convenience store around the corner so I could use the restroom. When I came out, my husband was sitting in the car eating Cheetos, and he was surrounded by police. I asked them what he did, and apparently, it is illegal to take pictures of military bases. Also, there was a bombing in Manhattan the day prior, and our New Jersey plate rental car was the same color, make, and model as the suspect. After they deleted the pictures from his phone and determined he wasn’t the bomber, they laughed it off, posed for a picture with my husband, and let us go on our way. Another stop on our cruise was in Portland, Maine where we took an excursion to Kennebunkport which was another favorite spot. We met our officiant and renewed our vows on the welcome bridge overlooking the water.
We did another quick trip in October 2017 where we were able to renew our vows in 7 states over a 4- day period because Southwest Airlines had a really cheap sale on tickets. First, we flew into Las Vegas & rented a car. We renewed our vows at the Hoover Dam (Arizona side), then at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas. The next morning, we flew to Salt Lake City, Utah, rented a car, and renewed our vows at Great Salt Lake Park. We drove to Boise, Idaho from there to catch a flight to Spokane, Washington that evening. The flight was delayed due to smoke from the wildfires in California, but when we arrived in Spokane, we rented a car and drove to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for the night at the golf resort (with floating green). Before reaching our hotel, we used Siri for directions, and she was going to send us straight into the lake!! It was dark outside, but luckily, we saw the water just before we would have driven into it! The next morning, we played a round of golf (34 degrees outside but wonderful. We were the only people on the golf course, and I’m not sure our caddie appreciated it, but he braved the cold with us). After that, we renewed our vows while there, and again in Spokane, Washington (at the big Red Wagon) by the same officiant. From there, we drove to Portland, Oregon. We arrived there at night-time and met our officiant at the Ira Keller Fountain to renew our vows. From there, we, again, used Siri for directions. We put in the address of our hotel, but when Siri said, “you’ve arrived at your destination,” we were at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at a gate that said “NO ENTRY” – nowhere near our hotel. Again – hysterical! The next day, we flew to San Francisco, California where we spent the night and renewed our vows by the Golden Gate Bridge the following morning before heading to Oakland, CA for our flight back to Dallas. This entire trip only cost us about $700!
During another summer trip to visit our grandson, we renewed our vows on the front steps of Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, and we were able to tour the home while we were there which was very interesting.
We took another weeklong road trip straight up the middle of the country to renew our vows in each state - from our home north of Dallas, through Oklahoma (Choctaw Casino Resort - Durant), Kansas (Overland Park), Nebraska (Omaha), Iowa (Sioux City), South Dakota (Sioux Falls), North Dakota (Fargo), then across to Minnesota (Zimmerman – funny since it’s our last name) before stopping on our way back in Illinois to visit our grandson.
In October 2021, we made a quick 3-day trip to finish up the remainder of the East Coast states by flying into Baltimore, Maryland where we rented a car, drove to renew our vows in Wilmington, Delaware, then Trenton, New Jersey; Hope, Rhode Island; Branford, Connecticut; Nashua, New Hampshire; and finally Brattleboro, Vermont. Of course, we had to drive across the longest covered bridge and make a stop at the Vermont Country Store while we were there! Although it was a fairly quick trip, it was a very relaxing, and quite a scenic trip as well!
Another favorite was a recent trip we made on October 30, 2022, to renew our vows in Missoula, Montana. What a fun little town! We made the short drive to Darby to the ranch where the “Yellowstone” series was being filmed just a week or so before we got there. They also filmed in Missoula very close to where we were staying. This was a highlight of our very quick 1-1/2-day trip. On the way back to our hotel, the police actually shut down the road to allow wildlife to cross. Apparently, this happens every day at the same time.
We finally made it to our final state on May 6, 2023 – ALASKA (Juneau)! We found the perfect officiant who escorted us on a gondola (tramway) to the top of Mount Roberts where we renewed our vows at a beautiful overlook. Of course, there were tears of joy because we somehow completed this crazy journey, and we vowed to NEVER marry each other again!!
Our adventures all over the country have been so much fun – and FUNNY!! We can’t believe that we actually completed this quest! Many people have asked us if we would extend this venture by renewing our vows in different countries, but that answer is a definite NO!!!
Wedding Vow Renewal Locations
|2||Alaska||Juneau (overlook on top of Mountain)|
|3||Arizona||Hoover Dam (overlooking the Dam)|
|4||Arkansas||Fouke (Monster Mart)|
|5||California||Golden Gate Bridge (by the water)|
|6||Colorado||Keystone (Walked out on Frozen Lake)|
|7||Connecticut||Branford (by Marina)|
|9||Florida||Daytona Beach (on the beach)|
|10||Georgia||Tybee Island (on the beach)|
|11||Hawaii||Waialaea Beach, Oahu (on the beach)|
|12||Idaho||Coeur d' Alene (golf resort)|
|13||Illinois||Springfield (Lincoln's House)|
|14||Indiana||Santa Claus (church)|
|15||Iowa||Sioux City (Hard Rock Casino)|
|16||Kansas||Overland Park (church)|
|17||Kentucky||Owensboro (church modeled after the Grand Old Opry)|
|18||Louisiana||Shreveport (Boardwalk overlooking river)|
|19||Maine||Kennebunkport (on Welcome Bridge)|
|20||Maryland||National Harbor (Beach)|
|21||Massachusetts||Boston (Fenway Park)|
|22||Michigan||Weko Beach (on the beach)|
|23||Minnesota||Zimmerman (church by the Zimmerman water tower)|
|24||Mississippi||Tupelo (by Elvis' house)|
|25||Missouri||St. Louis (by Arch)|
|28||Nevada||Las Vegas (Little White Wedding Chapel)|
|29||New Hampshire||Nashua (church)|
|30||New Jersey||Trenton (church)|
|31||New Mexico||Roswell (Aliens everywhere!)|
|32||New York||Niagara Falls (Maid of the Mist)|
|33||North Carolina||Fayetteville (Gazebo in middle of town)|
|34||North Dakota||Fargo (church)|
|35||Ohio||Hubbard (side of the highway by "Welcome to Hubbard" sign)|
|36||Oklahoma||Durant (Choctaw Casino courtyard by pool, then went to Alan Jackson concert afterward at the casino)|
|37||Oregon||Portland (Ira Keller Fountain)|
|38||Pennsylvania||Exit 1 Rest Area by totem pole|
|39||Rhode Island||Hope (church)|
|40||South Carolina||Hilton Head (Beach)|
|41||South Dakota||Souix Falls (church by the falls/park)|
|43||Texas||Parker (Southfork Ranch)|
|44||Utah||Salt Lake City (Great Salt Lake Park)|
|46||Virginia||Arlington (Iwo Jima Statue)|
|47||Washington||Spokane (Red Wagon)|
|48||West Virginia||Chester (Gazebo)|
|49||Wisconsin||Kenosha (church - the Pastor wrote a song for us and played it on her guitar and sang to us)|
|50||Wyoming||Cheyanne (Train Station)|
|51||Washington D.C.||In front of the White House|
|52||Niagara Falls, Canada||Oakes Garden Theater (overlooking falls)|