This New Video Series About Senior Couples and Their Love Stories Is Going to MELT YOU
Love Stories TV is built around the idea that videos are special, especially the ones that feature real couples with real stories to tell. Wedding videos are an obvious example of this, as they become increasingly more important to brides and grooms. But what about the love stories of our parents and grandparents? Wedding, documentary and small business filmmaker Stephanie Vermillion is ready to tell the stories of the people who have shaped our lives in her new project Chasing Love Stories. Her new series features the love stories of senior couples who have been together for, in some cases, over 50 years. We're so excited to debut the first episode on Love Stories TV. Watch it in full below and read our interview with Stephanie for more on how she came up with the idea for her series, and why she loves creating videos that preserve the memories of our parents and grandparents.
Why did you decide to start the Chasing Love Stories series?
During adolescence, we focus almost entirely on ourselves – what our “crush” thinks, where we’re going to college, who got invited to which party – and we fail to look around and understand the absolutely incredible stories of the people who’ve shaped our lives. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, because really it’s just a phase of life (and I’ll be the first to say I was the absolute worst), but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I’m fascinated by the love stories of, say, my parents, who met then wed then backpacked together through Africa, or my grandparents, who met in Lithuania and were separated five years during World War II.
I started Chasing Love Stories, a series that highlights the love stories of seniors, to preserve the fleeting memories of love and life pre-smartphone, and to encourage viewers to take a step back and ask parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to share their love stories while they’re still fortunate enough to have them around.
The first episode features Sig and Mary, an adorably sweet couple who met at age 17 on a beach in Southern Michigan. How did you meet Sig and Mary, and what do you think makes their love story so great?
To be honest, starting this series was a labor of love (pun not intended, although, I guess it’s fitting!). I have no relatives in the NYC area, so I had to start by cold calling and emailing senior facilities or senior group organizers to see if someone could help me kickstart the project. I had door after door closed on me (which makes sense – until you see the actual series it’s hard to visualize what I’m asking!). But, to me rejection is one of the best motivators, so I moved on to different platforms to find an “in” and eventually found Sig and Mary through the neighborhood app, Nextdoor.
Any marriage that lasts 60 years is a huge accomplishment, but I think what makes Sig and Mary so incredibly special is that they don’t have just any old marriage – after 63 years together, they’re still head over heels in love. (They both admitted getting butterflies when they see each other!) Being a huge travel lover myself, I was also captivated by their tales of adventure. They’ve traveled to over 50 countries together, and have a “hugging wall” in their Manhattan apartment where they hang pictures of them hugging in their favorite places around the world.
How has filming the loves stories of longtime couples compared to shooting weddings? What has surprised you the most while working on this series?
I love filming weddings because, among so many other things, they symbolize two people who are just beginning to write their love story.
Now, as I’m sharing seniors’ stories of love and adventure, I get the opposite side of that. It’s almost like my wedding films are the Disney fairytales, and Chasing Love Stories is the happily ever after.
These couples have, for the most part, written their stories. They’ve gone beyond the white dress and honeymoon – for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, the senior couples I interview prove “until death do us part” is possible, if you do it right.
It seems like this style of video would be a really amazing gift for parents to give to their grandparents or vice versa. It would be so amazing to have a video like this to look back on, similar to a wedding video. Do you think this type of love story film will become more popular?
I hope it does. Beyond the preservation of memories, I think these films are a great way to connect kids and teens with their parents and grandparents in a relatable and valuable way. Life was so different, and in many cases tougher, when today’s seniors were growing up, and by preserving and sharing their stories, we’ll never forget how resilient they were – and how fortunate we are today.
What do you hope people will ultimately take away from Chasing Love Stories?
To me, one of the most important elements of Chasing Love Stories is the raw but beautiful honesty of what a strong marriage really looks like. Marriage has struggles, laughter, adventure, stress. There are times you feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting, and there are times your partner’s keeping you afloat. Over the years, your spouse becomes more than just the live of your life – they become your best friend. During Sig and Mary’s interview, this theme surfaced time and time again; it was the perfect reminder for me about why I started this series and how these stories can help us true love alive.
Know a senior couple who'd be a great fit for Chasing Love Stories? Contact Stephanie Vermillion Studio here.