Stories of couples who got engaged or married on Valentine’s Day.
Love or hate it, Valentine's Day puts the pressure on all of us to step up our game and romance the heck out of our loved ones. Some people go the chocolates and flowers route. Others plan elaborate and sensuous meals. Still others look to the big day as an excuse to escape on a romantic getaway. But try living up to these couples: Some of them got engaged on Valentine's Day, and still others had their actual weddings on February 14. So was it the lovey-dovey, fairytale event they'd always dreamed of? And how do they top such a thing years later? We asked couples who took VDay to the next level about their experiences. 5 Ways To Get Psyched For Valentine's Day
Love In A... Funeral Home?
First there's Barry Schwartz, who's been married to Doris for over 50 years. One Valentine's Day he took Doris on a date to Eddie Condon's Jazz Club in New York City, with an engagement ring tucked securely in his pocket. "I have a very important question to ask you," he announced. Then he "did the ridiculous. I plopped down on my knee. ... I had cued the band and so they surrounded us and, when I proposed—I was delighted that she accepted—they broke into a jazz version of 'My Funny Valentine.'" The 10 Most Romantic Places To Get Engaged
Jennifer Campbell's story is more typical, but no less aww-inducing. Her now-husband, Carr, took her out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. "We had been dating for a little over a year," she says, "so I figured it was about time [for him to propose]. But when I saw the big present, I figured not." It turns out that the crafty Carr had wrapped Jennifer's ring inside numerous boxes, so the outside one was huge. The grand unwrapping drew quite a few stares, making for one unforgettable memory. A year later there were married on VDay, as well.
Now, meet Michael and Elizabeth Fournier. They met on Valentine's Day... at a funeral. Later on in their relationship, "Michael was processing remains at the funeral home where he worked," says Elizabeth, "and I came to hang out. We were alone, and he got on one knee while we were shutting off the lights in the visitation room. Someone was actually slumbering in the room when it all went down."
So why choose Valentine's Day as the time to pop the question? Dana Dugan said this of her husband: "He's highly sentimental and, the year before, on VDay, was the first time we'd slept together. So it was already an anniversary of sorts." Well, then.
Then there are those who were married on February 14.
Married On Valentine's Day
Terry Aldershof had no problem getting his friends to attend his VDay wedding. "We chartered a huge boat...[and] were married just as the sun was setting on the Gulf of Mexico. ... Afterward, we dined on lobster, shrimp, mahi-mahi and prime rib, then danced until we docked around 3 a.m. ... We also reserved a block of rooms and put our guests up for the remainder of that week. ... It wasn't just our wedding day. It was also their Valentine's Day, so we wanted to make sure it was memorable."
Susan Hawkins shares a somewhat different tale. "My husband and I were married February 14, 1984, which was a Tuesday," she says. "We eloped to Savannah, GA, and were married by a blind judge. His secretaries signed as witnesses but were not in chambers when he performed the short ceremony, so no one actually saw us get married." Still, no one could question the strength of their commitment. Last February, they celebrated their 25th anniversary. The 10 Best Places To Elope
Stephanie Pedersen and her hubby were married on Valentine's Day at the NYC Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Their ceremony took place under a stuffed deer head, and was performed by a "church of nature" priest. There was even a Texas lasso champion on the premises, who wandered the establishment roping couples in "Texas Love Knots."
When asked if any of her coupled-up friends balked at celebrating VDay at a wedding ceremony, she said, "Not one of our friends let Valentine's Day get in their way. These people watched us get together, were a part of our engagement, and they were along for the ride—no matter what day we chose to marry on."
Why Valentine's Day?
Couples often choose Valentine's Day because someone in their family had done the same.
Laurie A. Gray—another Valentine's Day bride—explains that she and her husband chose the day as a means of honoring her grandfather's memory. Her grandparents had tied the knot on Valentine's Day back in 1940. Before Laurie and her main squeeze could make it legal themselves, her grandfather—who had been eager to see the pair married—passed away. She recently called her 89-year-old grandmother and asked her what had made them choose that date. She said, "Oh, you know, we were in love and it just seemed like a big heart day."
Irene S. Levine, who was engaged on 2/14, tells of how her parents had previously been married on VDay, and how her dad eventually died on his 65th wedding anniversary. "My father's passing is bittersweet," she says. "I think of him with special love on that day.
Meredith Gould provides us with a cautionary tale. She was married on Valentine's Day but, after seven years, divorced. "For the first year or so," she says, "Valentine's Day was excruciatingly, emotionally painful, so I decided to establish a substitute ritual: meeting with my accountant to work on taxes. This has provided years of blog fodder and about five minutes of stand-up shtick."
Never Forget Your Anniversary
Aldershof says he chose VDay because, "I have a really bad memory, so I suggested we get married on a day that is highly publicized, and falls on the same day every year.
"Being married on that date really gives it a new meaning and a new significance. It's funny. Other than the two-month media and commercial blitz reminding me that February 14th is coming, it is now simply our anniversary. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the advance warning." 20% Of Men Don't Know The Date Of Valentine's Day
Gray agrees: "I was always ambivalent about Valentine's Day before—too much pressure when you're in a committed relationship, and a painful reminder when you're not. A Valentine's anniversary has totally purged my ambivalence."
Kurt Kutay, who was married on February 14, says, "For me, Valentine's Day is more than dinner and chocolates, because it's also our anniversary. And love is not just about two lovers, but also their life, their family and their friends. So we get much happiness by sharing our special day with other couples."
Before wrapping this up, we'd better wish Zach Leibowitz lots of luck. He's getting married this February 14. He says: "I joke that I will never forget my anniversary—or I'll be a dead man." Somehow, his bride-to-be doesn't find this as hilarious as he does.