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Eileen McClelland

Albert’s Diamond Jewelers’ Valentines Day Wedding Tradition

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Valentine’s Day engagements are a tradition for people from many regions and walks of life.
At Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, a family-owned company in Schererville, IN, Valentine’s Day weddings are, too.

On Friday, a couple came to the store and bought a $14,000 engagement ring and announced plans to wed at city hall, says Albert’s president Joshua Halpern.

“I said, `you can get married here tomorrow,” Halpern says. “So they ran down to the courthouse to get a wedding license and came back the next day.”

Sixteen couples in all got married in the store this year on Feb. 14.

Joshua Halpern, owner of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, at right, with Valentine’s Day newlyweds Brian and Stella Melby.

Josh Halpern’s parents, Fred and Donna Halpern, were married 47 years ago on Valentine’s Day. The tradition of holding free wedding ceremonies at the store began in 1998 when Fred and Donna decided to renew their wedding vows there.

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“We’re in the love business and what better way to help our customers share their love than to offer free wedding ceremonies on the national day of love, Valentine’s Day,” Josh Halpern says.

The company’s flagship store on Main Street in Schererville is one of the largest jewelry stores in the U.S.

Albert’s has 120 employees. But Halpern says the nuptials are planned and organized by just three staff members. Much of the responsibility includes finding partners to donate everything needed for the weddings – cake, music, flowers and champagne for the newlyweds and their guests.

Although there is no dress code, most brides wear wedding gowns or cocktail dresses, and their grooms dress formally, as well.
Couples do not have to buy their rings in the store – or anything else – to be eligible to get married there, but the event does build loyalty and foster relationships. They’ve married well over 300 couples over the years. Most years, 20 to 30 couples sign up for an in-store ceremony.

“It’s a beautiful setting,” Halpern says, “We build a beautiful chapel in the store. It’s much nicer than going to the justice of the peace.”

Albert’s sets up about 50 chairs for spectators, and the weddings are open to the public.

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“The community loves it,” Halpern says. “People who were married here come back and thank me on Valentine’s Day. It’s overwhelming the gratitude we see for doing things like this.”

Halpern suggests jewelers make friends with local media when planning this kind of event.

“We work with the local newspaper and call them about everything we’re doing. We always have reporters and photographers in our store, and we make sure we spend money with them. We advertise. There’s still a real need for newspapers, especially in a community like ours.”

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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