Lyle and Daphne Hoffman renewed their vows after 32 years of marriage Saturday. On a special day, at a special place and with special friends.
They did it on 12/13/14, the last sequential date of the century.
They did it high above Las Vegas while riding the High Roller, the tallest observation wheel in the world.
And they did it with another couple who have been their best friends for decades.
The couple who met at Las Vegas High School thought renewing their vows on the date would be sensational.
Love was literally in the air when the Hoffmans, their best friends Kim and Bill Toffelmire and three other couples said “I do.”
“They are junior high school lovers,” Kim Toffelmire said of the Hoffmans.
Kim Toffelmire and Daphne Hoffman served as the maid of honor in each other’s first weddings all those years ago and have remained friends for 43 years.
Betrothed couples from near and far braved the cold for hours Saturday, hoping to board Las Vegas’ nonstop wheel to commit to one another.
Many of them believe that tying the knot on a numerically interesting date can bring prosperity, said Philip Auerbach, senior vice president of Caesars Entertainment Corp.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Auerbach said.
In the loading area, the first same-sex couple to marry during the wheel’s first sequential day of ceremonies waited patiently, holding hands.
Once the couples, witnesses and the minister boarded the cabin, the ceremony promptly began.
“We rejoice for you and with you,” ordained minister Linda Pirrello said to the couples in cabin 15.
“It’s lucky cabin 15!” the couples called out, because the sequence was now 12/13/14 … 15.
The ceremony consumed only a few of the 30 minutes required to complete the full rotation above Las Vegas. “And we’re at the top, how wonderful,” Pirrello said just as the newly remarried couples kissed and said “I do.”
“Your future is stretched out before you, just like the skyline of the Strip,” Pirrello said.
Daisy Hurtado, a local bride, mouthed “I love you” to her husband of six years, Michael Hurtado, as the ceremony came to a close. “Marriage is not meant to be the final step,” Pirrello said.
As the ride came to a close, the happy couples were greeted with a champagne toast.
Through the windows of the oncoming pods, brides and grooms who had just finished their ceremonies were seen laughing, jumping and crying.
Out-of-towners Angel Dodson and Jeremy Cardon, accessorized in bright tangerine, were filled with emotion as they entered the lounge area. “We drove here from Colorado,” Dodson said.
“This will be the last of these numerically interesting days for us,” Clark County Clerk Diana Alba said in a news release Wednesday, when she said she expected longer lines at the Marriage License Bureau.
Other popular dates since 2000 have been Jan. 2, 2003, written as 1/2/3, and the most recent sequential date, Nov. 12, 2013, or 11/12/13.
“We’ve been planning this since before we even opened,” Auerbach said. The wedding day had been in the works for at least eight months.
Some of the couples participated in the ceremony because it was free. The cost of a private cabin ceremony is about $1,700, Auerbach said.
“I didn’t know it was 12/13/14,” said Sue Carrow, who decided to renew her vows with husband Richard Carrow on a whim while waiting for her daughter.
The Carrows’ daughter, Brandi Hooker, eloped with Cory Hooker in Reno just three weeks ago. Richard Carrow insisted his daughter participate in the ceremonies so he could attend a wedding for her.
“Brandi is my first born,” Richard Carrow said. “I had a second chance.”
At least 70 couples registered to commit to one another on the observation wheel, Caesars spokeswoman Crystal Robbins said.
People traveled from all over the world, but there were many locals, Robbins said. Half of the couples were saying their vows for the first time, and half were recommitting to each other.
Some of the love birds braved temperatures in the low 50s for more than two hours to earn their spot.
“There were already 10 couples here by 8 a.m.,” Caesars public relations intern Louisa Gonzales said. The ceremonies lasted from 10:11 a.m. to 12:13 p.m.
By 9:30 a.m., the holiday-decorated Linq Promenade was filled with brides and grooms.
Many brides dressed in traditional white gowns, although some chose to stand out in period-themed outfits, casual sneakers or street clothes.
It wouldn’t be Las Vegas if there wasn’t at least one Elvis in the building.
One of the 20 officiants spinning on the wheel of love, Travis Allen, dressed like “The King” in black slacks, slicked-back hair and a gold jacket.
“Some of these people got ordained just for this,” Auerbach said.
The ordained ministers were compensated with a one-night stay at The Linq and $100 to spend there, Pirrello said.
Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV.