WESTLAKE, Ohio — Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone, gal pals, friends or family, Valentine’s Day is a day all about love.
Fifteen couples said their vows at the third annual Say “I Do” event held at Crocker Park.
The ceremonies began around 11 a.m. and lasted about 15 minutes each. Couples paid a $100 fee that included the ceremony and a special gift bag with giveaways.
“I know some might think it’s cliche, but that’s what it’s all about today,” said Natalie Gurko. Natalie and her new-husband Tim were one of the couples married on Sunday.
“I won’t forget the date, that’s for sure,” Tim said.
The pair became engaged last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the wedding planning industry. Many couples have been forced to cancel and reschedule planned events and ceremonies.
“It was almost impossible to plan anything without things changing,” Natalie said.
When the opportunity presented itself to get married on Valentine’s day, the couple jumped at the chance to tie the knot.
“They simplified things for us and took a lot of the stress out of it,” Tim said. “The timing was right. Everything fell into place just like our relationship.”
Karen Hirsh operates the wedding planning business Perfectly Celebrated. She’s seen the changes to the industry first-hand. Hirsh became ordained to officiate weddings in case she was needed in a pinch, but quickly fell in love with officiating weddings.
She had never officiated a wedding on Valentine’s Day, by the end of the day she will have 15 under her belt.
“It’s fantastic, officiating is. How wonderful it is to be part of that moment in someone’s life,” Hirsh said. “With things going on the past year., boy, it does your heart good.
Despite the pandemic creating some less-than ideal circumstances for the newlyweds, it was a match made in heaven.
“It feels more meant to be,” Natalie said. “There was no work and it just makes it more special and a lot of ways.”
The brief, intimate ceremonies were held with spaces chairs for the limited guests to for safety during the pandemic.