24 couples renew their vows on Valentine's Day in Haddonfield

HADDONFIELD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- About two dozen couples gathered in Haddonfield, New Jersey on Valentine's Day to renew their vows and reaffirm their commitment to love as part of an event called "I Heart Haddonfield."

Celeste and Ernest Merriweather from Voorhees celebrated 20 years of marriage in front of the "Open Heart" sculpture in King's Court.

"Because we've been through so much and our boys are here and we just love them so much and this is just another time for us to affirm that, through it all, we love each other and that with each other we can do anything," said Celeste.

Event organizer Stuart Harting began the tradition three years ago when the borough purchased the "Open Heart" sculpture. He said the Valentine's Day event is very fitting.

"My favorite part is when they get a rose and they actually stand there and look at each other after reading the vows," said Harting, founder and chairman of Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust.

For Bill and Michele Hunter of Runnemede, this Valentine's Day marks 28 years together. They attribute the success of their marriage to a lot of laughs, patience and communication.

"The significance is basically just saying to him that I really do appreciate him and that I want to continue growing old with him," said Michele Hunter.

Officiants led the ceremonies under heaters and couples held flowers.

Cara and Chris Arter of Haddonfield got married in King's Court last year and wanted to come back to renew their vows. They said they hope to return every year.

"It's really inspiring to see couples really make it through and stick together and be best friends through all of that as well," said Cara.
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