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Many couples hope 7/7/07 is an extra lucky day to wed

Trina M. Ames and Frank Licata said they don't need luck for their new marriage, but weren't about to pass up the chance to exchange vows Saturday, the seventh day in the seventh month of the seventh year of the century.

The Florida couple, who said they are superstitious, was on an already planned visit to relatives in Buffalo this week when they heard about the 7/7 /07 wedding mania in the Falls.

"The wedding was going to be in April, but then we heard about the lucky 7s," said Licata, a Western New York native and former Buffalo police officer. "And I've always wanted to get married in my hometown."

The Falls Wedding Chapel helped 27 couples from 14 states and Ontario tie the knot Saturday. That romantic feat was made possible with a team of four ministers who performed ceremonies in at least six locations across the city and in the sky.

Saturday's event broke the chapel's previous record of 18 weddings in one day, set on Valentine's Day in 1996.

The Rev. Gerard Fedell, owner of the chapel, was surprised at the interest, although he said it's not unusual to wed a dozen couples on a Saturday during the summer.

"We didn't advertise it particularly," he said. "It's been by request; a groundswell."

Licata and Ames were wed at noon before a small group of local relatives and friends in a simple ceremony in the chapel in the Quality Hotel and Suites on Rainbow Boulevard. The flowers were handpicked, and the maid of honor was Licata's 11-year-old daughter, Carissa.

Two other couples took their vows at noon, one at Terrapin Point and the other in a cathedral behind City Hall. Other weddings occurred in a helicopter above the falls, the Flight of Angels helium balloon ride and other outdoor locations.

Fedell's last wedding of the day was scheduled for 9 p.m., a double ceremony for two couples who are neighbors in Grove City, Pa., and stood as witnesses for each other.

Mayor Vince Anello said he planned to marry seven couples Saturday.

Several brides could be seen throughout downtown, going to and from ceremonies, and several "Just Married" signs had been tacked onto trucks and cars.

While Ames and Licata's wedding was planned in two days, Fedell said he got the first booking for Saturday more than a year ago and many had been long-term plans.

He said the couples told him they view it as a lucky day because it's such an unusual date, and not as a Biblical reference.

"This is a symbol of luck," he said. "It's a connotation of being lucky in love."

But all that superstition didn't stop Fedell from reading the "love chapter" from the book of Corinthians in the Bible and emphasizing lifelong commitment.

Ames, who has been married once before, -- the marriage is the first for Licata -- said it was a fitting message.

"This is going to be my last wedding," she said. "I am in love."


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