A group of smiling couples came together on the ice in Blue Arena Wednesday afternoon in a gathering of love and commitment. For some, it was the first time they vowed to be there for each other til death do they part while for others it was a chance to reinvigorate the heat of romance despite the chill radiating up from the frozen floor.

A total of 20 couples took part in the eighth annual Loveland Group Wedding and Vow Renewal Ceremony, returning for a second year straight to Blue Arena and taking place just ahead of the Colorado Eagles Sweetheart Hockey Game against the Bakersfield Condors, which the couples got tickets to attend.

“We are happy to have 20 couples who are all in love and excited to participate,” said Christine Forster, CEO of BIG DEAL Company that put on the event.

Throughout the late afternoon ceremony, the couples gathered together on the ice rink, some in wedding dresses and suits, some in sweaters commemorating their many years of marriage and some even in Eagles jerseys. The smiling pairs got to share vows with each other, slow dance and be together as music played overhead, surrounded by others enjoying their own loves.

The group ranged from those who were saying “I do” for the first time to those celebrating decades of marriage.

Otis Dingle and Rachael Bryant, who recently moved to Loveland from Baltimore, were among those getting married during the ceremony.

“It’s Valentine’s Day,” Bryant said when asked what made them want to be part of the group wedding. “It’s a day to remember.”

“Since family isn’t here, we wanted to do something memorable,” Dingle said.

Kareem and Angela Schmidt were also one of the newlywed couples the ceremony created. While they had hoped to get married years prior, the pandemic had caused difficulties in them tying the knot, Angela Schmidt said.

“This felt right for us right now,” she said.

“And it’s a long time coming,” Kareem Schmidt added.

Some of the couples were return customers, having been married at the ceremony previously and returning for a vow renewal. Cassidy and Casey Moore got married at the event last year and returned for another ceremony. Cassidy Moore said last year was their first time at an Eagles game, something they became enamored with.

“We fell in love with the Eagles after that,” she said; the pair even dressed in Eagles jerseys, smiling and kissing in front of a flower arch before the ceremony began.

Lloyd and Nichole Gould, who have been married for 15 years, were the winners of a free ticket provided by Pirate Radio 93.5. Nichole Gould said while they had wanted to be one of the couples involved, medical and financial issues made that difficult. She said they felt that if God wanted them to do it, they would win the free tickets given out to one couple to participate.

“And we did,” she said. “It was meant to be.”

Gould said while she was extremely excited to press the buzzer at the opening of the Eagles game that night — which she said was the best of the prizes —the opportunity to renew her vows with her longtime husband meant a lot, especially after the challenges they have faced recently.

“We wanted to make sure our foundation is strong and recommit to each other,” she said.

While the team behind the wedding tries to switch the location up every year, when the Eagles were given another home game on Valentine’s Day and invited BIG DEAL to hold the wedding on center ice once again, they decided to bring it back, Forster said.

She added that it is nice to have an indoor venue so participants don’t have to battle potential elements, and the team was happy to return to Blue because of their partnership with the American Hockey League team.

“They are such a great community partner,” Forster said, later adding “It was tough to turn down because they are just amazing.”

She said these couples joined the more than 300 others who have been married during the years of previous group weddings.

Forster said the event is not so much about making money, but giving back to the community.

“That is important to us, because we are the Sweetheart City,” she said. “Being involved in all these traditions and giving folks across the country (something) to do in the Sweetheart City means a lot to us.”