WELLSVILLE - It's no surprise that Valentine's Day, set aside on the calendar as a day to celebrate love and romance, is a popular choice for weddings. One local couple decided to make their union official on Friday, but without any over-the-top, heart-themed invitations, decorations or other miscellania.
Instead, the nuptials of Darrick Stoll and Elizabeth (Reed) Stoll took place in the office of Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh, with the bride's parents - Wellsville Fire Chief Bill Smith and his wife Cindy - as witnesses and Haugh as the celebrant.
While nicely furnished, the mayor's office might not strike some couples as the ideal venue to exchange vows, preferring something a bit more lavish or romantic. According to Elizabeth and Derrick, however, it was just what they wanted.
Wellsville Mayor Susan Haugh (left) performed the ceremony that united Darrick Stoll and Elizabeth (Reed) Stoll in marriage on Friday afternoon. Elizabeth said they both wanted a small, quiet wedding, but the idea for it being on Valentine’s Day came from her daughters. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
Both bride and groom had been married before in big, traditional ceremonies, which led to marriages that ended unhappily. Being married in a small, casual civil service instead held much greater appeal than staging a large, expensive ceremony and reception again.
"We both had big first weddings, and it didn't work, so why go through all that?" Derrick said. "Let's do it this way, and it will work out just fine."
While the idea of a simple wedding was the obvious route for Elizabeth and Darrick, the romantic choice of Valentine's Day came from an interested third party - Elizabeth's two daughters, 11-year-old Amiya and 8-year-old Madison. "It was their idea," she said.
The bride and groom first met eight months ago, and both say the outcome was obvious from the start. "We knew the first day," Elizabeth said. Both were confident that this second marriage would also be their last. "No third times. We're quitting now," Derrick said.
Congratulations were exchanged among all parties afterward, with Haugh, Chief Smith and Mrs. Smith wishing them the best of luck. "I'm very happy for them," Mrs. Smith said.
Haugh says she is very selective about her duties as a wedding celebrant, having wed only eight couples since becoming mayor in 2012, preferring to marry couples that she knows personally or through a family connection.
"I just think it's a very sacred thing and I'm not real comfortable marrying people unless I know they're going to be together forever," she said.