Feb. 14, 2004 More than 60 couples renewed their wedding vows on Saturday as the sun began to go down over Trunk Bay on St. John.
"This represents more than 1,200 years of marriage," organizer Cathy Dove said.
St. John snowbirds John and Barbara Achzet, one of four couples married more than 50 years, were married the longest: 55 and a half years. The couple also renewed their vows last year — the first year Dove and nondenominational minister Anne Marie Porter organized the event.
Porter said that the event was an opportunity for couples to reconnect or connect on an even deeper level and to celebrate their commitment to their future together.
She then added that the ceremony was an opportunity for couples to begin their relationship all over again.
Dove said that she recently heard on National Public Radio that love only lasts two or three years, but the love shared by the 60-plus couples on the beach disproved NPR's theory.
"There's so much love on this beach," she said.
The couples also exchanged wedding rings, some of them worn very thin after many years of marriage.
The ceremony drew residents and visitors, many of whom timed their vacation so they could participate.
Software engineer Barry Glunt and his wife, estate jeweler Elizabeth Norton, of Northwood, New Hampshire, was one of those couples.
"After 12 years of marriage you find that lots of things can get lost day to day," Glunt said. He added that while being on St. John was in itself a renewal, the ceremony was a good way to celebrate it.
Retired teacher Sandi Klose and her husband, retired ship designer John Klose, of Surf City, New Jersey, were married three years ago in a ceremony performed by Porter. They decided to return for the vow renewal ceremony. "It's Valentine's Day and we love each other," John Klose said.
Married just nine months, St. John residents Pat Noone-Fisk and her husband, Bill Fisk, participated to renew their faith and love in each other. "It's a wonderful celebration," she said.
Married for 26 years, St. Thomas residents Ellis and Judith Christian, owners of Christian and Christian Insurance, were back for the second time. Ellis Christian said renewing their vows set a good example for children.
Fisk said the vow renewal ceremony was an excellent way to "show the world marriage is a commitment and that devotion is still alive."
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