Valentine’s Day tradition continues with six weddings

Two violinists playing Mozart were jostling for elbow room near a cheese monger while the happy couples exchanged vows beneath a sign for pulled pork.

One wiz wit. Another to have and to hold in sickness and in health.

Six couples were married Monday amid the bustling crowds at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. The city’s tradition of marrying couples on Valentine’s Day has been going on for 34 years.

The tradition began with a Philadelphia judge named Bernard Goodheart. When he retired several years ago, he passed the torch to Judge Jeffrey Meinhart of the Court of Common Pleas. He was chosen because he has “heart” in his name.

“Quite frankly, I do nothing but homicide cases,” said Meinhart. “So it’s a nice break.”

William Duncan married his lady of 17 years, Jolie, in front of friends, family and hundreds of perfect strangers who were looking for a sandwich.

“You want the world to see,” said Duncan, resplendent in a gleaming white suit and bright red derby hat. “It’s nothing to hide, to be in love. You should never hide love.”

His new bride said it was a special day because she was getting married and it warmed up to 50 degrees outside — an auspicious start for the next stage of her life.

After eight years and two kids, Leslie Perez married her longtime boyfriend.

“I’m excited. Nervous,” said Perez. “I couldn’t sleep much last night. I don’t even know what I’m saying, I’m too excited.”

Perez said she chose the Reading Terminal Market because she has always felt comfortable there, and because it’s a city tradition.

The couples were not charged for the ceremony or the champagne reception that followed.

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