This Valentine’s Day Mark and Sandy Riggle will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary and 40-plus-year friendship.
The two were married at Albert’s Diamond Jewelers store in Schererville on February 14, 2016. They arrived that day – her in her wedding dress and him in his tux – surrounded by friends, family, and the staff at Albert’s, who were all there to witness the wedding ceremony that has been in the making since they were each five years old.
Mark and Sandy were neighbors growing up in Griffith and their two families became very close. Mark’s sister is Sandy’s best friend, and his family was like her second home, she explained.
“I drove him and his sister to school every day, we talked about all going to college together,” she said. “We started dating and had our first kiss when we were 14.”
Over the next few years, the two stayed “just friends” continuing drive together, hang out, and they even double dated at prom. After high school though the two went on their separate ways. Sandy took off to college and moved throughout the U.S while Mark stayed in Northwest Indiana, got married and raised four kids. Over the years, the two stayed in contact and saw each other at major holidays and family functions.
Then, a few years ago after several life changes for the both of them, they found themselves hanging out with each other again. They began to date, but decided not tell anyone in their family to make sure this bond was going to stick permanently this time.
It was in July 2015 - on Sandy’s birthday - when and the secret came out. Mark asked her to marry him.
“They were all thrilled,” she said. When the wedding plans started up, Sandy said she asked her mother-in-law on what date they should get married.
“She goes, ‘1989’ and I go, ‘What does that mean?’” Sandy recalled. “She said, ‘You guys should have just gotten married in 1989. I don’t know what took you so long.’”
While picking out the engagement ring at Albert’s, the staff told them about the "Say 'I Do' at Albert’s" weddings and about the history of the owners getting married on Valentine’s Day.
“We put that in the back of our minds,” Sandy said. “It was very important to us get married with our families present. We wanted something more locally and Albert’s treated us like their family. They were always super nice and extremely helpful and we couldn’t think of a better place to get married.”
Leading up to the big day, Sandy said they were both super excited, and since the staff took care of all the details, they had little to think about.
“They had a very nice setting that was chapel-like with the white drapery and plenty of seating. It was picture perfect,” she said. “It was very simple. I really enjoyed it.”
After the wedding, Sandy and Mark were told they had won a trip from Albert's through the contest of having the best love story. Each couple participating submits their story and the Albert’s staff thought the Sandy and Mark’s "neighbors-to-newlywed" story was the most romantic.
Since the two met, Albert’s has provided the engagement, Christmas, and birthday gifts, and Sandy suspects her 2017 Valentine’s Day gift as well. For their one-year anniversary, the two are celebrating with a trip to Las Vegas.
“Getting married on Valentine’s Day was the easiest day ever. That’s the day of love,” she said. “Everybody should get married on Valentine’s Day!”
For more information on Albert's Diamond Jewelers, click here.