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Couple renews vows live on TODAY after pandemic postponed 50th anniversary plans

See the sweet ceremony, and the surprises they never saw coming.
/ Source: TODAY

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Grab a tissue and get ready to shed some happy tears for this bride and groom!

Emory and Helen Westcott intended to ring in their landmark anniversary surrounded by loved ones last year, but lockdown dashed their dream for a big 50th celebration.

Now, just days after their 51st anniversary, the couple are making up for that missed milestone — right here on TODAY.

The TODAY plaza was transformed into a park with the perfect wedding gazebo. Nathan Congleton / TODAY

On Tuesday morning, Emory and Helen renewed their vows live on the plaza, and TODAY anchor and part-time officiant Hoda Kotb was on hand to lead the ceremony.

Before Hoda got to the “I dos,” she presented the Westcotts with a wedding do-over surprise. Since they didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen to stand alongside them, she ushered in a few — their adult children, daughters Cathy and Amy and son Chris, who they haven’t seen since 2019.

Suddenly there wasn’t a dry eye on the plaza, and the renewal wasn’t even underway yet.

The vow renewal turned into a family affair.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

"Oh my goodness, what a surprise!" Emory said as he wiped away a tear. Helen welled up, too, as she hugged their unexpected guests.

The emotional moment proved just how much the pair wanted to mark their long union with their family, and just how disappointed they must have been when the pandemic caused them to cancel their original plans.

On the left, Helen and Emory swapped vows for the first time in 1970,at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sigourney, Iowa. On the right, the couple dressed for the part again last year, with Helen wearing her original wedding gown, in a photo they sent out to friends and family when they cancelled their 50th anniversary party. TODAY

But they more than made up for any past disappointment Tuesday.

Emory, decked out in a dark suit, stood beside Helen, who wore a stunning gray dress, and they looked into each other's eyes as they read the vows they wrote themselves.

After more than a half of a century together, the Westcotts declared their devotion to each other again.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

"Helen, I give to you a new promise, but not so new," Emory began. "A new husband, but not so new. A new affirmation of love, from the heart that has loved you for over 51 years and will love you for as many more as God allots us."

When his heartfelt message was over, Helen delivered her own, saying, "Emory, 51 years ago, we professed our love and devotion to each other. Our wedding was a special day, but our marriage has been 51 years of special memories and moments. We've gone from the innocence of young love to the reality of growing old together. ... We do not know what the future holds for us, but whatever it may be, I pledge you my eternal love."

“May your words be a reminder of the love you’ve shared over the past 51 years, and may this love will continue to grow,” Hoda said, as she shed a few tears of her own and invited Emory to kiss the bride.

Emory and Helen Westcott sealed the ceremony with a kiss. Nathan Congleton / TODAY

The end of the ceremony wasn’t the end of the fun for these two lovebirds. There was still one more surprise to come, and Al Roker told them all about it.

“We have a suitcase here, because we told our sponsor, Mastercard, all about your lovely story,” Al teased. “And if you enjoyed your first honeymoon, we hope you're going to love your second one, because they are giving you a honeymoon to Napa Valley in California.”

Needless to say, the Westcotts were thrilled. What a way to celebrate more than a half-century together.

This summer, Mastercard is also giving away reunion trips every day until July 4th as part of its Priceless Reunion Sweepstakes.

Here's to the happy couple!Nathan Congleton / TODAY