When a Columbus cardiologist thought about possible wedding dates to fit into her busy work schedule, one immediately came to mind as nearly perfect.
Heart doctor Samantha Svarczkopf picked Valentine’s Day to pledge her heart to her fiance, Richard Lucas.
“I just thought it was kind of romantic,” said Svarczkopf, 36, of Columbus, who liked the idea of having Valentine’s Day listed on their marriage certificate.
She also had a sentimental attachment to the day since her grandparents were married on the February lovers’ holiday and spent 49 years together.
Lucas, 37, said the idea came in a heartbeat for the couple, who were married in a 4 p.m. Thursday ceremony in Circuit Court at the Bartholomew County Courthouse.
They have been friends for more than two years and have been dating since October. Originally, they considered an April wedding but about two weeks ago switched to a more meaningful date.
“We were looking forward to spending our lives together, so we figured why not go ahead and get started,” Lucas said, adding that he easily found his romantic side with Svarczkopf.
“(Valentine’s Day) seemed right. It was something memorable,” he said.
Wearing a white, red and black dress and carrying a bouquet of red, pink and white roses, Svarczkopf pledged her love to Lucas, who stood nervously, but smiling broadly, as he held his fiancee’s hand in the courtroom.
Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann, wearing a tie decorated with hearts under his black robe, asked the couple to always cherish, love and trust each other.
After being pronounced husband and wife, a big hug and kiss ended the ceremony, and the new Mrs. Lucas tossed her bouquet to friend Jamie Collier.
“I love you. I’m so proud of you,” Svarczkopf’s mother, Kathie Boone, said as she wiped away tears.
Her father, Steven Boone, hugged his new son-in-law and said, “Take care of our little girl.”
Day to remember
In matters of the heart, Svarczkopf has devoted her medical career to helping others. But this Valentine’s Day, she was enjoying experiencing a heartwarming day for herself and Lucas.
Svarczkopf took Wednesday and Thursday off work but will be back at her Columbus office this morning at Indiana Heart Physicians, where she has worked since 2011.
She treats patients at Columbus Regional Hospital and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.
Lucas, who previously lived in Indianapolis, runs a home-based Internet business selling electronics on Amazon.com. The two make their home together in Columbus.
Although she is used to a set schedule for patient appointments and procedures, Svarczkopf also is accustomed to last-minute emergencies and sudden schedule changes.
Planning a spur-of-the-moment wedding was no problem, but making sure all the pieces were in place — including the dress, rings, dinner and hotel reservations — took some quick maneuvering.
“It was kind of a last-minute thing,” Svarczkopf said about the wedding plans squeezed into two weeks.
Svarczkopf already had her engagement ring, but they had to quickly find wedding rings. On Wednesday, the bride-to-be was making sure last-minute adjustments on her dress were complete.
The couple went last week to the Bartholomew County Courthouse to fill out paperwork for their marriage license in the clerk’s office and up to Heimann’s courtroom to secure a spot on his calendar.
Luckily, Heimann had no other weddings scheduled this Valentine’s Day, so the 4 p.m. nuptials were set.
In a courtroom usually filled with criminal proceedings, weddings offer a change of pace with hugs, kisses and promises to share love forever.
Heimann said he usually officiates three to five weddings each Valentine’s Day, so having only one this year was surprising. The civil ceremonies that take place in his courtroom typically take about 15 minutes.
High school classmates
Svarczkopf and Lucas both went to Kankakee Valley High School, in the northeast Indiana city of Wheatfield, and Purdue University; but they didn’t really know each other because they hung out in different circles of friends, Lucas said.
More than 15 years later, they connected on Facebook through common friends. They began chatting online and later dating.
Their friendship grew into love as they enjoyed similar interests, including watching movies and UFC Ultimate Fighting. They also felt a special chemistry, Lucas said.
The courthouse wedding was a small affair with just Collier and Svarczkopf’s parents, who drove from their hometown of Wheatfield. Lucas’ parents live in DeMotte.
Before planning the Feb. 14 wedding, they both called their parents to assure them they indeed would plan a bigger, fancier wedding this summer.
The second nuptials will be a chance for friends, more family members and co-workers to help the couple celebrate.
Svarczkopf said she knows the staff at her office already are happy for her.
First, because she got married, Svarczkopf said. And second, because she will have a much easier last name to spell for patients.