Valentine’s Day 2012 greeted lovers with bright sun and blue skies. A light breeze rustled perfectly coiffed hair and lifted bits of lace on white dresses. Thirty men adjusted ties and thirty women applied that last little touch of lipstick. Today was their wedding day. They would gather on the broad, bright green lawn of the Croquet Club in Florida.

As I stepped out of the car I noticed several brides heading toward the building. They were dressed in white, but some had bright red embellishments like scarlet sashes or carmine shoes. In the foyer of the club I saw more brides, and then more brides, and their outfits ranged from casual dresses, to cocktail frocks, to full white gowns with lace and beading. Ruby accents were everywhere. There was even a bride who had died her hair a peculiar shade of Titian which didn’t match the bright red embroidery of her gown or the tiara on her head, but that wasn’t important. The joy on her face made up for any lack of colour coordination.

There were grooms too, everywhere. They didn’t stand out as much, but one could locate them because of the boutonnières they sported on their lapels. Their range of dress extended from extremely casual flip-flops and jeans to three piece suits. The groom of the Titian-haired bride was wearing white with red accents to compliment his lady-love’s elaborate dress.

Most of us would not choose to get married like this, in a group setting. And yet, it was a joyous afternoon with all the families and couples celebrating a milestone together. The ceremony was short and sweet, to say the least. The moment the City Clerk pronounced them married all thirty couples kissed and gleeful cheers rocked the otherwise quiet afternoon.

I think my favourite part was the Processional. Picture this: a stream of one couple after another coming from the wide verandah, then gathering on the lawn in rows. A loud speaker blared Bruno Mars singing Marry You. It was delightful.

So…..hum along,

Just say I doooooo-ooo uhu,

Tell me right now baby,

Tell me right now baby, baby.

Oh, it’s a beautiful night,

We’re looking for something dumb to do.

Hey baby,

I think I wanna marry you.

Is it the look in your eyes,

Or is it this dancing juice?

Who cares baby,

I think I wanna marry you.