Renewal of vows to highlight Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day will be even more romantic than usual at the CHEER Coastal Leisure Center this year. On Feb. 14, a half-dozen couples plan to renew their wedding vows, with the center and anyone who wishes to attend ready to support and celebrate the happy occasion.

Coastal Leisure Center’s Sheree Stephens came up with the idea for the renewal of vows — to be held for the first time this year. “It was just one of my crazy ideas,” Stephens said with a chuckle in the week leading up to the festivities. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done it.”

Stephens said there has been a recent rush of sign-ups for the six slots they’d opened up to senior couples wanting to take part in the renewal event. Only one couple was signed up for months after the event was announced, but now all six slots are filled. (Stephens did confide that they might possibly be able to make room for a couple more pairs of seniors, though.)

Each couple will receive a small bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere and a certificate of renewal, along with a sweetheart photo frame with a photo of the event.

All the couples are seniors, ages 60 or older — a requirement the organizers put in place in light of the venue. And that means some of the original wedding vows between the various spouses were exchanged many decades ago. “I think most of them have been married over 50 years,” Stephens said.

They’ll take the plunge once again — this time in the 21st century — on Valentine’s Day, with a reception to follow. The public is invited to the reception, Stephens noted.

“We’re going to have really good entertainment,” she emphasized, mentioning performances of Frank Sinatra’s well-loved tunes by Josie and Lou Vello, to which all the reception attendees will be invited to dance.

A special luncheon will also be available to all, at the cost of $3 each.

“What they’re most looking forward is the chocolate fountain,” Stephens said with enthusiasm, but mild concern that the temptation could be too much for some diabetics.

Still, it will be a day for sweets and sweethearts at Coastal Leisure Center this Valentine’s Day. And anyone wishing to take in a reminder of what the day is really about is welcome to join in the festivities.

“It’s going to be great,” Stephens said.

The renewal ceremony is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the CHEER Coastal Leisure Center, with the reception to follow. For more information, contact Stephens at (302) 539-2671.