Although the historic City Market has been, for 157 years, a gathering place for regional farmers selling fresh produce and local customers looking for fruits and vegetables, this Valentine's Day will feature something different in the facility's heated pavilion: a minister, flowers, a red carpet, and the opportunity to be married between noon and 3 p.m.
This will be the third year that the City Market has offered a limited number of free weddings on the property, conducted in 15-minute intervals, giving the bride, groom and wedding party the opportunity to shop and even eat lunch in one of the City Market's restaurants.
There's no charge for the service, says Deb Churchill, the City Market's property manager, but couples are required to bring their wedding license with them. "Otherwise," she says, "we can't do a wedding."
The City Market provides the minister (the Rev. John Navarre is officiating this year), the decorated pavilion -- with a red-carpet runner, seating, twinkle lights, and flowers -- and miniature cakes provided by Bloom Baking Company. As of today, five couples have been booked for the event with only seven slots still open. Interested couples should call Churchill at 816-842-1271 for reservations and more information. "It fills up pretty quickly," she says.
"I've seen everything," Churchill says, "from formal bridal gowns and tuxedos to full military garb to a Harley motorcycle rider in a leather vest and jeans."