By LINDA M. LINONIS
Valentine’s Day means more than flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner to couples who selected the day of love to be married.
Twelve couples exchanged marriage vows and two couples renewed their vows during walk-in weddings Friday at the Chapel of Friendly Bells at Trinity United Methodist Church, 30 W. Front St. Walk-in weddings were available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
It was the second year for walk-in weddings.
The Rev. Jerry Krueger, pastor of Trinity UMC, and his wife, the Rev. Susan Brown of Canfield United Methodist Church, officiated. Pastor Krueger came up with the idea; the church’s location next to Mahoning County Courthouse was a contributing factor.
The ministers emphasized that although “walk-in weddings” is a catchy phrase, the act is a serious commitment between two people.
And that’s just how Paris Rolle and Edmund NcElroy, both of Youngstown, approached the ceremony. They’ve known each other for seven years and been romantically involved for six.
“This was long overdue,” the bride admitted. The couple had thought about getting married last November then at New Year’s, but things just didn’t work out.
“This was my mom’s idea,” the bride said.
“It will be an easy anniversary to remember,” the groom said.
As for their wedding day, he said they planned to go out to dinner and a movie. “We keep it simple,” his bride added.
Tanya Gilmer of Youngstown, the bride’s mother, said a friend saw the information in The Vindicator and passed it along. “It worked out,” she said. “It was time to get this done.”
The couple said they are “best friends” and have “been there for each other through good times and bad.”
“I love his sense of humor,” she said. “He keeps me laughing.”
“I just felt it within,” McElroy said of his love for his new bride.
Donna and Randy Kriebel of Hubbard renewed their marriage vows at 2 p.m. Valentine’s Day, the same time and date as their wedding Feb. 14, 2004, in the sanctuary of Trinity UMC. The couple said they wanted to have the vow renewal because a decade of marriage “is significant and a milestone.”
“It was exciting,” he said, adding the day of love was the perfect time.
“We wanted to reaffirm our commitment and our love,” she said.
The couple said they had planned to go to Las Vegas for a vow renewal, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Donna Kriebel said she had called Trinity about the possibility of a vow renewal and learned about the walk-in weddings. “It worked out, and this was more personal,” she said.
The two met at work, and their first date was going out for coffee. Their anniversary plans call for staying at a bed and breakfast.
In the wedding ceremonies and vow renewal, Pastor Krueger emphasized having kindness, compassion and humility.
“Clothe yourself in love,” he advised the couples. He said he hoped they would “grow in peace and love with one another and the Lord.”
Pastor Brown said marriage brings together two families and creates a new one by God’s grace.
The couples received a gift bag with the book “Celebrating the Gift of Marriage” by James W. Moore, along with Trinity mugs and church information. The fee of $50 for each ceremony will be donated to Good Shepherd Kitchen at Trinity and Operation Blessing in Canfield.