They say love can weather any storm, and more than 500 couples arrived at the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion to prove it Thursday, Feb. 14, as part of the annual Valentine’s Day vow renewal ceremony. Sarasota Parks and Recreation has hosted the ceremony every Valentine's Day for the last 28 years. Couples picked up flowers, had their photos taken and renewed their wedding vows.
Richard and Rita Weingarten
Married: 61 years
Met: At Rita Weingarten’s grandfather’s hotel in New York City.
Secret to a happy marriage: “You have to have perseverance,” says Rita Weingarten. “Stick with it — it usually turns out good in the end.”
Reason for renewing vows: “This is the first time we’ve done this,” says Rita Weingarten. “It was his idea. I was delighted.”
Janet and Steven Hazuda
Married: 22 years
Secret to a happy marriage: “Communication and trust,” said Janet Hazuda.
Advice for newlyweds: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” said Janet Hazuda. “It usually doesn’t matter.”
Jason and Tami Budisic
Married: Three years
Met: Seven years ago, through friends
First impressions: “I thought she was beautiful,” said Jason Budisic.
Reason to renew: “He was in the Army for two of the three years, so we thought it’d be nice to renew our vows,” said Tami Budisic.
Secret to a happy marriage: “Communication and compromise,” said Jason Budisic. “You have to like to do things together.”
Helen and Richard Kotal
Married: 59 years
Met: In Chicago, through work
Secret to a long marriage: “Listen to your wife,” said Richard Kotal.