Kelly Ross and Alyssa Journey, from Little Rock, Ark, got married at Berkeley’s Valentine’s Day celebration. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Kelly Ross and Alyssa Journey were married in downtown Berkeley on Friday Feb. 14, but it was fluke that it happened at all. The couple, from Little Rock, Ark., was traveling to New York with plans to get married when their flight was cancelled. They rerouted to San Francisco and happened to see on Facebook that Berkeley was holding a mass wedding on Valentine’s Day. They decided to head here to tie the knot.

Ross and Journey were one of several couples, straight and gay, who were wed or who renewed their vows at a mass celebration at BART Plaza in downtown on Friday.

The event was orchestrated by the Downtown Berkeley Association on the first Valentine’s Day since the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and the overturn of Proposition 8.

Couples were wed and renewed their vows in a mass ceremony in downtonwn Berkeley on Friday Feb. 14, 2014. Photo: Nancy Rubin

Writing on the Downtown Berkeley Association’s Facebook page, Ross said: “For Alyssa and I, you made Valentine’s day a day we will never forget and simply one of the best days of our lives. From what could have been a real disappointment in NYC you turned Berkeley into a place we will always return. Hugs to all of you”

DeWitt Hoard and Ronald Wong of San Leandro took part in the mass celebration to mark their 10-year anniversary of being married by then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Berkeley councilwoman Susan Wengraf and her husband Mark Berger renewed their vows at the ceremony, as did Linda Schacht-Gage and her husband John Gage.

DeWitt Hoard and Ronald Wong of San Leandro took part in the mass celebration. Photo: Nancy Rubin

The licensed officiates at the ceremonies were Berkeley city councilman Darryl Moore, Berkeley School board member Judy Appel, and Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Polly Armstrong. DJ O Aces spun romantic tunes for the couple’s first dance.

Three couples — Ross and Journey, Hoard and Wong, and the Gages — won a special honeymoon package: two nights at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, a late Friday night dinner at Eureka!, the new hamburger restaurant on Center Street, breakfast in bed at the hotel, Saturday lunch at BUILD Pizzeria Roma, dinner at FIVE restaurant, Saturday night tickets to The House that will not Stand at the Berkeley Rep, and Sunday matinée tickets to Endless Love at Landmark Shattuck Cinemas; not forgetting a couples massages at Milagro Massage Studio, a bouquet donated by Darling Flower Shop, and a wedding cake made by Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Other downtown merchants are also providing month-long specials during February for all lovers, couples and friends.

Contributing photographer Nancy Rubin, who took the photographs here, said she was impressed with “the intense love flowing between the couples who participated.”

A couple exchange rings at the mass celebration at downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. Photo: Nancy Rubin
The small group of couples who participated clearly very much enjoyed themselves. Photo: Nancy Rubin
John Gage and Linda Schacht-Gage renewed their vows at the Valentine’s Day celebration. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Even the very young had fun at the event which was organized by the Downtown Berkeley Association in association with several local businesses. Photo: Nancy Rubin

See many more photos of the couples’ celebrations at the Downtown Berkeley Association’s Facebook page.

Berkeley to celebrate Valentine’s Day with mass wedding (02.10.140)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...