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550 couples wed in mass vows in Nicaragua

Thursday - 2/14/2013, 10:08pm  ET

Couples participate in a mass wedding in Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday, Feb 14, 2013. A public square in Nicaragua has become an improvised wedding chapel for 550 couples who took their marriage vows on Valentine’s Day in a mass wedding. Mass weddings have become a tradition in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua since they began a decade ago. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- A public square in Nicaragua became an improvised wedding chapel Thursday for 550 couples who took their marriage vows en masse on Valentine's Day.

Mass weddings have become a tradition in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua since they began a decade ago.

Sponsored by the government and a radio station, and broadcast on television, the ceremony in the Plaza Maya square featured brides in white dresses and grooms in suits.

Bride Lilieth Obando said Thursday that the mass ceremony was a big help for couples like her and groom Leoncio Martinez. They had lived together for two years, but didn't have the money for a private wedding.

A smaller Valentine's Day group wedding was held Thursday in Peru, where 24 couples were married at the same time on a beach north of Lima.

The Peruvian couples, clothed all in white and wearing flowers around their necks, then toured the coast in boats. Local mayor John Barrera reread the couples' pledges while they were afloat, and the newlyweds responded "Yes!" in unison

Three of the couples celebrated by hurling themselves into the water.


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