Church or bar, free Valentine's Day weddings in Elkhart

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Elkhart 54 percent of Americans will celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones. Even though that percentage is down from last year, folks are actually spending about three dollars more this year.

Friday, seven couples are not spending money at all, at least on one thing. Those couples are getting married, for free, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Elkhart.

Lead Pastor Mark Dicken says he doesn’t know where the idea came from but he thought it would be a fun idea.

“All different ages. We have rather young couples, I didn't ask the exact age. I know they're over 18, but they are ranging from late teens early twenties all the way to middle age,” says Dicken.

They even have a mother and daughter getting married as well. They will each have their separate ceremony but they will both be on the same day.

Now, before these couples are able to tie the knot they have to meet a few requirements.

“Well, we did require they spend two Sunday afternoons with me in what were premarital preparation sessions. We talked about things like communication. One of the deadliest things anyone can do in a relationship, particularly in a marriage, is assume that if my partner really loved me, he or she would know what I want or need,” adds Dicken.

Ceremonies are set to start around 1 p.m. The chapel will be decorated with flowers for the wedding service and a bouquet for the brides to carry. There will also be refreshments for those in attendance to enjoy after the wedding.

In a time where people tend to spend thousands on weddings and receptions, these free weddings allow the focus to say on the love and the ceremony.

“You have to have a bride and a groom, a man and a woman, just because of the current state of Indiana law, then someone who is authorized to be the efficient who can sign the license. Everything else is extra and our culture is continuing to pile and pile and pile,” says Dicken. “There are times I tell the couple, I'm sorry, I'm really not that interested in your wedding. I'm just more interested in your marriage, should last more than 20 to 30 minutes”.

New Paradigm Brewing Company is also offering free wedding ceremonies. It is located at 600 South Main Street in Elkhart.

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