February 14, 2015 5:18 pm '€¢ LU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent
SCHERERVILLE | Love triumphed over frigid weather and blowing snow at the Valentine's Day weddings hosted Saturday by Albert's Diamond Jewelers.
"This is a day for lovers, whether they are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary or their first
Valentine's Day together," said Josh Halpern, co-owner of Albert's.
Now in its 17th year, the tradition of Valentine's Day weddings began when Josh's parents, Fred and
Donna, decided to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows at the store. Their invitation for other
couples to join them and get married that same day sparked the annual nuptials and renewal of vows, Josh said.
On Saturday, couples from throughout the region said their "I do's" in a specially decorated area
of the store that was adorned with flower arrangements and large crystal luminaries. Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura and Judge
Jeff Harkin officiated at the ceremonies that united some 18 couples.
The free weddings included all flowers donated by Monarch Florist of Schererville; wedding cakes from Ultra Foods in
Highland, photographs by Bernie Zieman of Timeless Images and videos of the ceremonies by Dave Ervin of Ervin Video Service.
Svetlana and Boris Golembo, of Munster, walked down the aisle first to renew their marriage vows before Bonaventura.
Married in the Ukraine portion of the U.S.S.R. on Dec. 23, 1983, the couple brought along their original wedding
rings fashioned from rose gold to Saturday's ceremony.
"She works so hard, and it's a weekend. It's her day off," said Boris about why they chose
this Valentine's Day to renew their vows in a ceremony witnessed by their adult son, Michael.
"This is something we wanted to do for our 25th and our 30th, but it wasn't the right day (of the
week)," said Svetlana, who paired a handmade shawl adorned with birds and flowers that the couple purchased in Spain a
decade ago with her red sheath dress.
During the ceremony, Bonaventura referred to the couple's years of marriage as a journey and commitment.
"You learned through the years that life is rough until you smooth its edges. You know to forgive and forget
each other's shortcomings and keep constantly before you the thought of the love that brought you to this holy step,'" the judge said.
As he placed the rose gold wedding band on Svetlana's finger and re-affirmed his vows, Boris kissed his wife's hand.
"I missed their first wedding because I wasn't born yet, so I wanted to be there for this one,"
said Michael Golembo, of Munster, with a chuckle.
Merrillville residents Daniel Bravo, 10, and David Bravo, 6, also witnessed their parents' wedding Saturday at
"We've been together going on 12 years. Our original anniversary was last week, so we decided to get
married at Albert's," said Ana Adame before her wedding to Marco Bravo.
Instead of a wedding dinner following the ceremony, the couple planned to attend their niece's first birthday
"She's the only girl in the family," said the new Mrs. Bravo.