Home Haddonfield News Hearts afire: Valentine’s Day heats up on Kings Highway

Hearts afire: Valentine’s Day heats up on Kings Highway

‘Open Heart’ sculpture plays host to renewed commitments.

On Feb. 14, Mayor Neal Rochford presided over almost two dozen wedding-vow renewals at the Open Heart sculpture on Kings Court. The first couple to do so, in late afternoon, were Michele and Bill Hunter — married 27 years but who renew their commitment every half-decade.

Not even a brisk wind and sudden winter chill could dampen the spirits and freeze the hearts of 40 couples who elected to renew their commitments to each other at Kings Court on Valentine’s Day. 

With the iconic Open Heart sculpture providing a poignant background, Mayor Neal Rochford and former Mayor Tish Colombi presided over ceremonies for lovebirds who braved the elements to profess their devotion. 

It happened on the second day of “I Heart Haddonfield,” sponsored by the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust, which sought to bring people together to celebrate love and appreciate art. 

Runnemede residents Michele and Bill Hunter decided to celebrate 27 years of their union in the borough. Bill was decked out in a simple suit and Mickey Mouse tie, while Michele wore her wedding gown, which she dons every five years when the couple renews their vows. The last time they went through the ceremony was in sunny and warm Amelia Island, Fla. 

Diana and Robert Cunningham, Haddonfield residents, marked 33 years of marriage by standing together as the sun dipped below the buildings within the downtown core. They decided to renew their vows because both had been through a rough year with medical issues. 

“We wanted to do this out of love for each other. It was a great idea to do this, particularly, because marriage is about ‘for better and for worse,’ and ‘in sickness and in health’ and the commitment that we’re in this together,” Diana said. 

One pair actually moved their wedding up by a year to have their union in public on Feb. 14. Cara Lynne Horner, a fifth-generation Haddonfield resident, was married to fiancé Christopher Arter. Performing the ceremony was Colombi, whose husband, Dr. Dan Colombi, delivered the bride. 

Kisses were plenty; talk was sparse. Unable to linger due to rapidly falling temperatures, the newly-minted couple nipped across the street for a reception at King’s Road Brewing Company. 

Commissioner Colleen Bianco Bezich and husband Anthony, Haddonfield residents married 14 years, decided to take the plunge as well. Despite both being visibly affected by the cold which accompanied sunset, they quickly warmed up with the impact of their spoken vows. 

Cherry Hill residents Erika and Chris Gehringer showed up with son, Matt in tow, as the night turned frigid. Married 18 years as of Feb. 16, Erika is an art teacher at Haddonfield Middle School, and their ceremony was happily interrupted by a few of Gehringer’s HMS students walking across Kings Highway. 

“We did it for a couple reasons: because we’re here to support the arts and it’s just a great idea to renew our commitment to each other on the most appropriate of days, Valentine’s Day,” Chris admitted. 

“We both love each other, and doing this vow renewal reminds us of the commitment we made to each other all those years ago,” was Chuck Michel’s rationale for vow renewal with wife Debbie. Married 29 years, Chuck was a former longtime resident of Elm Avenue in the borough, but the couple also currently resides in Cherry Hill. 

“This was our second annual Valentine’s renewal ceremony, and I thought it went spectacularly. It was a lot of fun, we had a lot of couples. We also had our first real wedding at the beginning, and we had a lot of couples who came in and renewed their vows,” said Rochford. 

“I enjoyed it, and I think everybody who came up to the event enjoyed it and I look forward to doing it again next year. The court looks beautiful and I hope everyone had a chance to see the lights set up.”

Exit mobile version