Valentine’s Day is upon us. It’s maybe a day to reflect on when the words, “I do.“ filled our hearts with promise or a day to ask someone special, “Will you be my Valentine?”

One of the best parts about being Mayor is that you get to perform wedding ceremonies. It’s a bit like being a ship’s captain. Over the years I’ve performed many in seemingly every shape and size – the one thing they have in common is an overwhelming sense of hope for a future shared with a chosen companion. Not so long ago I was honored to perform one of the first same sex marriages in Orange County – a sweet, simple ceremony in the herb garden behind the 1810 House. Since then I’ve performed countless ceremonies to couples who so appreciated to be recognized and who’s love for each other has been made stronger through their public declaration and formal union.

On a lighter side, I’ve performed a marriage that involved a pair of canines to raise funds for our Animal Shelter and I’ve done a ceremony that had a puppy as a ring bearer! Some of the weddings I’ve officiated are small with little fanfare others larger in scope filled with rich ceremony, words and symbolism but no matter the scale the true purpose of love’s commitment always shines through. I think the most memorable weddings have been for soldiers about to embark on tours and these I can say are emotional events underscored by a sense of profound urgency. The mixture of youth, patriotism and idealism are as old a love story as was ever told. Interestingly, vows are sometimes taken by couples who have shared a long life together and even after this shared companionship the decision to marry catches them by surprise. I have witnessed the groundswell of human joy that this ceremony can bring.

I’ve been honored to share this intimate and important moment in the lives of many. Each is its own story with a unique script. I guess it is a starting point of sorts – the first words to a new paragraph, a book to be filled. It has given me great pleasure to reconnect with some couples who have started families and to watch a new love unfold. So many chapters to a really good love story!

I’ve always said that Warwick was a place for lovers. With so many romantics living in the same vicinity it’s a wonder we get anything done. Well actually there is a great deal done and all because we have fallen in love with this Valley. So Happy Valentine’s Day Warwick – continue to share the love!