By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Seven local couples gathered in Reading Terminal Market’s center court today to take part in a very special Philadelphia tradition.
Each year on Valentine’s Day, Judge Jeffrey Minehart takes a break from his high-profile homicide trials to preside over wedding ceremonies and put a special stamp on marriage certificates dated February 14th.
Juan and Melanie (below) were among those tying the knot.
“It’s about love, devotion, and trust,” he said.
“I’m excited and overwhelmed by all these people,” she added. “I just hope I don’t trip.”
Harold and Aleshia also exchanged vows.
“It’s all good,” Harold said. “It’s a good day to get married — in Philadelphia, in the Reading Terminal.”
His new bride agreed with everything he said, but admitted that may change once their vows are exchanged.
The tradition began in 1977 when a confused couple wandered into a Philadelphia courtroom in which Judge Bernard Goodheart was hearing a jury trial. During a break, he married them. Every year thereafter, until his retirement in 2005, Goodheart oversaw hundreds of couples exchanging vows on Valentine’s Day at City Hall.
The ceremonies moved to the market in 2002, and now Goodheart’s colleague, Judge Jeffrey Minehart has taken up the lovely duties on Valentine’s Day.
And Reading Terminal merchants show the love, too. Brides carried bouquets from Market Blooms, Termini Brothers whipped up a wedding cake, Iovine Brothers brought fruit, and they savored it all with Old City coffee.