Olentangy Valley News

Love, Delaware style

Couples gather in county seat for group wedding that mayor hopes will become a V-Day tradition

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RYAN M.L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
Lynn and Chuck Searl seal the deal with a kiss during a group wedding ceremony held on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, at Delaware City Hall. Ten couples were married or renewed their vows that day in Delaware.
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As they awaited the start of their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony, Julius Gandy and Needra Foston were all laughs and no nerves.

The Powell residents, who met at their gym three years ago, were debating who noticed whom first as other couples entered Delaware City Council chambers.

"Well, she's been stalking me," Gandy said.

Foston interrupted with a laugh and a declaration of "That's not true" before Gandy continued to build his case.

"You said you were stalking me," he said. "You were watching me work out, watching me swim."

Gandy must not have minded too much, because he followed Foston to Delaware City Hall for the city's first Valentine's Day wedding and vow-renewal ceremony.

The couple, both previously married, said they wanted something simple this time around. They considered getting married in Franklin County before settling on the uncomplicated, convenient ceremony in Delaware.

The event was the idea of Mayor Carolyn Riggle, who wanted to host a Valentine's Day-themed fundraiser for the planned veterans memorial adjacent to the Delaware Community Center YMCA. The city charged couples $20.14 for the ceremony instead of the usual $50 in honor of the holiday.

Riggle said the event raised $1,000 through fees and donations. Five couples were married at the 3:30 p.m. ceremony and four renewed their vows.

Riggle later that evening married a couple who could not make the afternoon ceremony.

Doug Carrico and new wife, Carole, both of Concord Township, said they met more than 20 years ago as neighbors and reconnected on Facebook four years ago. That rekindled friendship led to their Valentine's Day wedding in Delaware.

The couple said they both have a strong work ethic, but also love to relax and hang out together in their free time. As the couple began their second marriages Friday, Feb. 14, both had the same advice for young folks thinking about walking down the aisle.

"Don't get married after just knowing somebody for a very short time," Carole Carrico said. "The longer you date, the longer engagement, the better."

Gandy said couples need to have a lot in common and love spending time together before they get married.

"Sometimes people get tired of each other because there's too much togetherness," he said. "We don't have that issue."

Riggle, who said performing marriages for happy couples is the best part of her job, said she would like to see the Valentine's Day wedding ceremony become a Delaware tradition.

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