Couple Travels Around the World in 85 Weddings

by Libby Zay 
Posted Mar 4th 2011 04:30 PMUpdated Mar 5th 2011 11:44 AM

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Denise and Mark Duffield-Thomas are about to make destination wedding history. After renewing their wedding vows 85 times at 85 different locations across the world, the couple is set to apply for a Guinness World Record.

The committed couple first got married in August 2009, and after a three-week honeymoon in Asia, Indonesia and Denise's native Australia, they settled down in London, where Mark is from.

Denise tells AOL Travel News the city was "really cold and depressing" at the time, and the new couple – who had never taken a gap year or traveled extensively like their friends – started daydreaming about the faraway places they'd rather be.

So when a friend texted Denise and said "I found you the perfect job," she jumped at the chance. The newlywed couple entered a contest put on by Runaway Bride and Groom to become "The Honeymoon Testers," and after a series of interviews and challenges they beat out about 30,000 other applicants for the gig.


Runaway Bride and Groom / The Honeymoon Testers

From May until November of last year, the couple was whisked away to exotic locations all over the world. Their official job was to document their experiences at each of the honeymoon venues, but the couple suggested they could also renew their vows in each country in a bid to beat the world record.

After completing the first ten ceremonies, Denise admits she though to herself "this is going to take forever." But the couple persisted, and exchanged vows in both customary and unfamiliar ways. Besides being wed by officiates in countless churches and hotels, the couple completed ceremonies put on by a tribe of Masai in Kenya, a Druid priest in Ireland, and more.


Runaway Bride and Groom / The Honeymoon Testers

When all was said and done, the couple has now exchanged vows on a boat in Bali, underwater at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, on a mountainside in Thailand, deep in a cave in Ireland, with their toes in the sand of the Jordan desert, and inside a taxi in New York.

Denise's favorite honeymoon locations were in Ireland and in Malta. "Ireland was the most romantic with all the castles and history and green country," she says. In Malta, the couple got married 11 times. "There are 365 churches and wedding supplies everywhere," says Denise about the tiny country.


Runaway Bride and Groom / The Honeymoon Testers

Packing for the six-month trip proved to be challenging for Denise. Not only did she have to limit herself to one suitcase, but she also had to fit in a variety of wedding dresses. Two were given as part of the prize for winning the contest, while another pair of convertible dresses was donated to her.

"The white dress has been in the ocean multiple times. It's had champagne spilt on it. It's pretty stinky," says Denise, who would mix things up by going to tiny shops and buying veils and other accessories.


Runaway Bride and Groom / The Honeymoon Testers

The Duffield-Thomas' are now living in Australia, where they are still scraping together all their marriage certificates and photos to apply for a Guinness World Record for "most marriage vows renewals – same couple." If all goes as planned, they will narrowly beat out Lauren and David Blair, who had ceremonies 83 times between 1984 and 2004.


Runaway Bride and Groom / The Honeymoon Testers

"What I really, really got out of this whole experience is that there are so many things you can do on your honeymoon," says Denise. She suggests newlyweds skip sitting on the beach out of wedding planning exhaustion and really use their honeymoon to cross items off their travel bucket list.

"I've seen the variety of honeymoons you can have and I know you can plan the perfect one," she advises.

Think you have what it takes to be a Honeymoon Tester? Runaway Bride and Groom will be sending another couple around the world this year and is accepting applications for the job.



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24 Comments

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pd39

Once was enough. Anybody who can afford to do this while their fellow man is suffering out of work has too much money and should be donating to charity instead of boosting their egos.

March 06 2011 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pd39's comment
JW

Hold the indignation and pause to read this short and simple article dude.

March 07 2011 at 7:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
martbild

That's going to be a messy divorce.

March 06 2011 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
we\'re at war folks

no most people do not read the article - this is true

March 06 2011 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
we\'re at war folks

screw these two idiots -

March 06 2011 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
michael

you just need to get a life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 05 2011 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gmazzarell@aol.com

Does this mean, if they want a divorce, they must do it in 85 jurisdictions?

March 05 2011 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo2Go

That's a really cool job and a great start to a marriage, how lucky for the both of them. I encourage my kids when they get married to travel and spend a lot of time with their spouse enjoying their time together before and if they decide kids will arrive. These two show a sense of adventure and willingness to work as a team. I can't imagine it is all fun and all the experiences are something that they may be accustomed to so it could feel a bit off initially but together they challenge through the good and bad. What wonderful memories and unique experiences they are sharing to carry them through a life time. I think it is really neat what a once in a life time opportunity. Good on them.

March 05 2011 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

Does anyone really read the articles before writing these comments?

March 05 2011 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pat's comment
sexy

lol no

March 05 2011 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Now can they afford 85 divorces, maybe that was the idea for a sequel !

March 05 2011 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fcukem

Unemployment rate is up to 12% in some states, and this is a good news?

March 05 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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