KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jasen and Shundrekia Thomas had Valentine’s Day picked out for their wedding date. And their relationship took its next step Wednesday morning at Unity Temple in Kansas City.
For the past 18 years, the church has offered free weddings and vow renewals on the holiday all about love. In the afternoon, there is a ceremony nearly every 15 minutes.
The Thomas couple was the second wedding of the day.
“It's an adrenaline rush,” Jasen said. “It's blessings beyond blessings. She's the love of my life and I feel like I've made the greatest decision ever.”
Shundrekia agreed, saying, “He makes me feel whole. There's not a day that I don't think I can do without him.”
Pastor Duke Tufty presided over their ceremony. He launched this tradition as a way to make church weddings affordable. He said the entire day is so full of energy.
“I just start vibrating with the first wedding, looking at the people and dealing with them as the ceremony takes place,” Tufty admitted. “By the end of the day I'm exhausted, but through the day I'm charged up.”
He said love is the overriding emotion during the day-long event. He marries couples no matter their religion, race, or lifestyle. He explained the idea is to focus on compassion.
“For me that is very, very emotional,” Tufty said. “I myself, I well up with tears when I see the two people looking at each other with such a purity to their love.”
He’s hosted as many as 49 weddings in one day and has seen couples come from as far as Oklahoma and Arkansas for the free ceremony.