Drive-thru wedding vow renewals at Dream Cruise

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Royal Oak — Brian and Cheryl Southern of Royal Oak drove their light blue 1967 Ford Mustang convertible into a parking lot at the southeast corner of Woodward near Fourth Street. He put a bow tie over his T-shirt and she put on a white veil. Then the couple of 37 years said “I do” — again.

Tammy and Bill Mannion, of Troy, kiss after having their wedding vows renewed after only five months of marriage in their 2012 Mini Cooper Roadster during the Dream Cruise on Woodward in Royal Oak.

Officiant Laura Jolly asked the Southerns if they would “cherish each other in breakdowns and joyrides, on routes boring and scenic, through rust and shining chrome, and forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as you both shall cruise?”

By noon Saturday, the Southerns were among about 100 couples who had renewed their wedding vows as part of Hagerty’s second Drive-Thru Vow Renewals ceremony at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

The Southerns, who are Hagerty insurance customers, attended the event last year and had so much fun they wanted to do it again. “We want to make it our tradition,” said Cheryl, 56. “This is the very first stop today.”

Brian and Cheryl Southern, of Royal Oak, kiss after having their wedding vows renewed in their 1967 Ford Mustang during the Dream Cruise.

Jolly has been officially ordained in case a couple wants to really get married — something that happened last year that she couldn’t do. Last year, 150 couples participated and this year they were busy even before the 9 a.m. kickoff, said Rachel Flynn, a spokeswoman for Hagerty, a Traverse City-based company that insures classic cars. Flynn said last year’s great response led them to repeat the event in 2016.

“There’s no better place than Woodward to celebrate cars and the love of the automobile,” she said.

Dan and Denise Hollenkamp of Rochester Hills have been married 40 years and Dan decided to bring his wife to the vow renewal while out cruising in their “Big Red,” a 1968 Mercury Monterey convertible.

“I had heard about it and I said, ‘We’re going to stop in,’ and my wife said ‘No,’ ” he said. “I said ‘It’s going to be a blast.’ So we really are enjoying it,” Dan Hollenkamp said after participating in the quick one-minute ceremony that was sealed with a kiss from his bride.

Denise said she was surprised he wanted to do it but she had fun.

The parking lot was decorated with bright red roses in tire planters and a large sign reads “As Long as We Both Shall Cruise.”

Participants early in the day included a couple in a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle who were married in 1980. The bride wore her original wedding dress, Flynn said. Another couple who also came last year rode in on an Indian motorcycle with the bride in the side car.

Ray and Nancy Hepner of Berkley have participated in the Dream Cruise for 22 years. The couple who have been married 37 years drove their blue 1967 Mercury Cougar, a car they’ve had for 11 years.

“They just made it really nice, you’re treated really great,” Ray, 60, said after renewing his vows. “It makes you feel really good inside.”

Reception favors included glass bottles of cold Coca-Cola and license plate cookies that say “JST RNWD” and “CAR LOVE.” A “Just Renewed” flag also was placed on car antennas and couples received a vow renewal certificate.

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