Delaware News

Valentine's Day in Delaware

10 couples will pledge vows in mass ceremony

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Can anyone really put a price on everlasting love?

The city of Delaware can -- and discounts were available.

Delaware Mayor Carolyn Riggle will preside over a mass ceremony on Valentine's Day for couples who want to get married or renew their vows.

The wedding fee has been reduced from $50 to $20.14 in honor of the holiday.

Registration for the event, which likely will be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, in Delaware City Council chambers, closed last week. City spokesman Lee Yoakum said 10 couples had registered as of Thursday afternoon, Feb. 7.

Riggle said she came up with the idea for the event -- the first of its kind in the city -- as a way to celebrate the holiday in her capacity as a public official.

"I just think it's a happy time," she said. "It's probably the best part of my job."

Riggle said she's performed about 135 weddings since she became the city's vice mayor in 2005. She has served on Delaware City Council since 2003.

"When I was no longer vice mayor, I was still getting phone calls (about weddings), so I got ordained," she said.

Riggle said her enjoyment of seeing people in love led her to pursue a ordination online so she could continue to offer nondenominational marriage ceremonies

. When Riggle was appointed mayor by council in 2013, she once again was able to marry couples as a city official.

The proceeds from the ceremony will go into the Delaware Mayor's Fund, and Riggle said they will be used toward the construction of a planned veterans memorial outside the Delaware Community Center YMCA building on South Houk Road.

The memorial, which will feature flags and plaques honoring America's armed forces as well as seating for special events, has been privately organized and financed but supported by city officials.

"My love is for the veterans," Riggle said.

Yoakum said the idea of city officials performing weddings is not new.

"It's a common practice for our mayor and vice mayor to perform these kinds of ceremonies," he said.

What's different is the timing and scope of this ceremony, Yoakum said.

He said the city had considered moving the ceremony to the YMCA building or to Mingo Park if enough people signed up.

Riggle said she hopes Delaware's Valentine's Day ceremony will grow and become a local tradition.

"I just want people to have a good time and renew their love in Delaware," she said. "We're the heart of the heart of Ohio."

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