Couples take to ice to say `I do' again

Rink: Dozens renew their wedding vows for Valentine's Day during an annual city event.

February 13, 2005|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Amy Twigg wanted to surprise her husband, Larry, for Valentine's Day. So, instead of telling him she wanted to take him to an ice rink to renew their wedding vows, she told him that she had won a radio station contest, but that in order to claim their prize, he'd have to perform a song.

When Larry Twigg saw the couples lining up at the ice rink near the Inner Harbor yesterday to renew their vows, he said he was both touched and relieved.

"I was glad I didn't have to sing," said Twigg, who owns and runs a transmission shop in Glen Burnie with his wife of 2 1/2 years.

"We didn't have a big wedding," he said. "We didn't have time between our jobs, her kids, my kids. It was nice to do this for Valentine's Day."

For some couples, the annual exchange of wedding vows on ice skates has become a Valentine's Day weekend tradition. For others, taking their spouses to the event was an alternative to the "roses-and-chocolate" or "dinner-and-a-movie" dates of the past. And for some, it was a total surprise.

Spring Metcalf blindfolded her husband of 25 years, Bruce, and brought him to the ice rink, said their 16-year-old daughter, Autumn Metcalf, as she snapped a photo of her parents during the "first skate" after the ceremony. "My mom wanted to surprise my dad," she said. "I thought it was cute."

Ken Meyer waited until Friday night to tell his wife, Carol, where they were going so she'd know to dress warmly. "She loves the ice," said Ken Meyer, a general manager for a distributing company. "I thought this would be a neat way to renew our vows."

The couple, who have been married 32 years and recently moved to Glen Burnie from North Carolina, held hands as they skated across the rink, and Carol Meyer waved her wedding veil in the breeze.

Her husband is sometimes romantic, she said. But, she added, "This tops it."

In all, about 35 couples renewed their vows at the Baltimore Ice Rink at Harbor Point during the 1 p.m. ceremony officiated by the Rev. Linda L. Armstrong, a nondenominational minister. In previous years, couples have been married during the event, which moved to this location last year. But this time, it was unclear for several months whether the ice skating ceremony would be held, said Tracy Baskerville, a spokeswoman for the city Office of Promotion and the Arts.

When radio station 101.9 Lite FM decided to sponsor the event, there wasn't time for couples to get their marriage licenses, said Hal Martin, the station's marketing and promotions director. But the station was able to pull together a rinkside reception, complete with a wedding cake, coffee, chocolate favors and roses.

Sthefane Melo and Purna Chhetri, a Towson couple who married on the ice in 2001, were especially glad the event was held. "We're going to make a record," said Melo.

The couple were wearing the same beige jackets they wore for their nuptials. But this year, they brought their 7-month-old son, Amar. They said they have fond memories of their ice-rink wedding. They were married on their lunch hour and had a reception a few days later. "I think it's fun - maybe a little crazy," said Chhetri, a waiter. "But we want to keep it as tradition to reinvigorate ourselves."

Dottie Johnson, a Social Security Administration worker, came from Essex to watch the ceremony, even though she didn't know any of the people participating.

"I just came because I thought it would be romantic," she said. "It's nice to see people renew their vows, whether it's after three years or 30 years. It lets you know love exists."

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