Feb. 14, 2009 — "Today when you say 'I do,'" said the minister, "it's with a lot more information."
St. John snowbirds John and Barbara Achzet got the honors for being married the longest — 61 years — at the 7th annual Valentine's Day vow renewal ceremony at Trunk Bay Beach.
A total of 67 couples, from the Achzets to a pair married that day, joined hands and hearts at the ceremony, presided over by non-denominational minister Anne Marie Porter. Love was in the air, as organizer Cathy Dove urged the couples to say those three little words regularly.
"We need to take that time every day," she said.
The Achzets house guests, Pat and Ron Seitz of Webster, N.Y., were no slouches in the longevity department either with 51 years of marriage under their sandy bare feet. And renewing vows is getting to be a habit with them.
"We've done these three or four times," Pat Seitz said.
Donna and Chris Bredlow of Moorhead, Minn., will celebrate a half-century of marriage on May 30. The couple are camping at Cinnamon Bay Campground.
"We're very traditional, but maybe this is a newer tradition," Donna Bredlow said.
With 44 years of marriage on their wedding rings, Dottye and Jay Bessette of Pawcatuck, Conn., agreed that renewing their vows was important to them.
"It's a sexy thing to do after being married 44 years. It's an accomplishment to make it to 44 years," Dottye Bessette said.
Andy and Linsey Jewitt of Rapid City, S.D. were first timers at seconding vows.
"We thought it was really neat thing to do," Andy Jewitt, married 22 years, said.
Bob and Jane Karako, both dressed in pink tops, are three years married. They wed three years ago at Trunk Bay Beach — in pink.
"We're just confirming our commitment to one and other," Bob Karako said.
Dan Smallwood of Atlanta was ready to renew his vows because he wanted to let his wife, Dianne Smallwood, know how much he loves her.
"I waited a long time to find Dianne and I don't want to mess up," he said.
St. Thomas residents Mary Ellen and Jesse Thomas, married 15 years, were on hand with their children, Savannah, 14, and Gage, 9. Jesse Thomas said he thought the ceremony would be fun for the kids, and, his wife said, "to know their parents still love each other."
Peggy and David Spoth are new St. John residents who said they found it a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day. They were chatting with another pair of St. John residents, Chuck and Terry Pishko.
"It's good to remember why we're together and set aside a little time to think about it," Chuck Pishko said.
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