CEDAR RAPIDS — Three area Hy-Vee’s decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early, by renewing about 120 people’s wedding vows Saturday afternoon.
Store director Jeff Deahr said this is the first time the Collins Road Hy-Vee has done an event like this. Deahr said about 50 people renewed their vows at the Collins Road location.
“It’s the month of love,” Deahr said with a smile.
Dozens of couples took their turn renewing their wedding vows in front of strangers, friends and family. Each couple received a miniature wedding cake, two glasses of sparkling grape juice, a bouquet of flowers, a picture frame and a chance for a weekend trip.
Erica and Chris Gehrke have five children and have been married for 11 years; they met in high school biology. Erica didn’t think of entering the contest, but one of their daughters thought it would be a cute idea.
John Keizer, pastor of the United Methodist Church in Springville, led the ceremonies, and mentioned he has married and renewed many vows over his 16 years as a pastor.
“I’ve done renewals, but never in a Hy-Vee,” Keizer said with a smile.
Lisa and Michael Wojcik said they are lucky in love and have renewed their vows several times over their 15-year marriage that began at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. The couple said “it’s in the cards” for them to be married for the rest of their lives.
“My parents celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary, and his just celebrated their 50th,” Lisa said.
The Wojciks didn’t mind sharing their wedding vow renewal date with more than 100 other people. “It’s just as special for us as it is for them,” Lisa said. The couple acknowledge every month that it has been another month in their happy relationship.
Joyce and Chuck Bruggeman have lived in Cedar Rapids since 1975 and have been married for 38 years. Joyce said she passed the submission box for the wedding renewal event nearly 10 times before she decided to enter her and her husband.
“I know he loves wedding cake,” Joyce said with a laugh. Her husband jokingly responded, “I’m here for the wedding cake.”
The Bruggemans held hands almost the entire ceremony.
When asked if they had ever renewed their vows before, Joyce said she didn’t recall they ever did. But Chuck looked at Joyce and said, “We renew our vows every morning.”