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Dinosaur-Costumed Duo Say “I Do” at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Indiana

Nearly 400 couples have married during the annual Valentine’s Day event.

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Dinosaur-Costumed Duo Say “I Do” at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Indiana
Emily Briney and Derek Keilman of Demotte, IN, exchange vows in dinosaur duds, surprising store owner Joshua Halpern, below, left.

A COUPLE OF DINOSAURS walk into a jewelry store and say they want to get married.

No punchline here. If you want to take the plunge at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Schererville, IN, and it’s Valentine’s Day, come on in. They’ll throw a party and call the magistrate. Whatever you’re wearing.

Every time that Albert’s Diamond Jewelers hosts their regionally famous “I Do” Event for Valentine’s Day, something stands out. The last time they hosted weddings in the store, in 2019, a groom played guitar and sang a song he’d written for his bride. One couple brought along a 100-person wedding party for their nuptials. Others have been hitched while decked out in what owner Joshua Halpern describes as outrageous looking tuxes and wedding gowns.

But 2023 was particularly memorable: Not only was it the first year Albert’s had held the event since the pandemic, it was also the first year that Halpern can recall a couple getting married in a costume of any kind, let alone in full dinosaur regalia.

The “I Do” event was inspired by Fred and Donna Halpern, former owners of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, who renewed their wedding vows for their 30th anniversary 25 years ago at Albert’s original location in East Chicago, IN. They’ve been married 55 years and last renewed their vows on their 50th anniversary; this year they decided to stay at home in Florida.

In past years, as many as 27 couples have participated. This year, three couples tied the knot, and a fourth, who had gotten married at Albert’s 20 years ago, returned to renew their vows and celebrate their anniversary.

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Emily Briney and Derek Keilman from Demotte, IN, the couples who showed up in dinosaur costumes, later changed into a tux and wedding dress for more traditional photos.

“They wanted to do something unique,” Halpern says. “They had planned on an elaborate wedding, and when they found out how much everything would cost, they wanted to save the money for a house or a trip.” It was a spur of the moment decision.

Dinosaur-Costumed Duo Say “I Do” at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Indiana

“The feedback is always positive, grateful and thankful,” Halpern says. “The judges and magistrates are excited, because they find it more fun than a courtroom.” This year, the weddings were officiated by Magistrate Jeffrey Miller.

Albert’s provided the newlyweds with a cake and flowers courtesy of Strack & Van Til and Denise Floral Designs. They played wedding music, set up a chapel with 100 chairs and a lighted background, treated all of the couples to dinner and provided witnesses. One of the couples also won a honeymoon package. People from the community come to observe, so wedding guests are always on hand.

The store’s marketing team shared a video of the dinosaur couple’s wedding on TikTok and Instagram, inciting an enthusiastic response. Although there is no local TV channel, the event was advertised in newspapers, on social media and radio.

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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. “It’s a community type of event that has nothing to do with drumming up business necessarily. We do a lot in our community, and we never do anything with the intent of getting something in return,” Halpern says.

Still, the publicity is a nice side effect. “There is a buzz in the community,” Halpern says. “Anytime you are a household name in your community is positive.”

Another benefit is that when couples sign up for the weddings, they often buy wedding bands. And whatever style of nuptials the couple has in mind, Albert’s will try to accommodate it.

“It’s OK to be goofy because goofy is what people talk about,” Halpern says.

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