‘Renewing so many memories’: Lots of love in the ocean air this Valentine’s Day

This picture of Becky and Greg Ament was taken in the Cavalier Hotel on July 3, 1995 — their 25th wedding anniversary. It shows the Aments standing on the first floor near the entrance to the hotel's dining room. The Aments say that they keep this picture on display in their home because it reminds them of some of the most romantic moments in their marriage (Courtesy of the Ament Family via the Cavalier Hotel) Virginia Beach
This picture of Becky and Greg Ament was taken in the Cavalier Hotel on July 3, 1995 — their 25th wedding anniversary. It shows the Aments standing on the first floor near the entrance to the hotel’s dining room. The Aments say they keep this picture on display in their home because it reminds them of some of the most romantic moments in their marriage. (Courtesy of the Ament Family via the Cavalier Hotel)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Becky and Greg Ament fell in love in Virginia Beach. Playing volleyball on the beach with friends and watching live music at the Oceanfront, the couple began courting in 1969 and got married in 1970.

The Aments stayed at the old Cavalier for their honeymoon rather than the new one that overlooks the ocean.

“We both love and appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of historical buildings,” Becky said, as she recalled her time at the hotel. “I later worked in the summer at The Cavalier on the Oceanfront in the first-floor restaurant that was right off the pool.”

For their 25th wedding anniversary, the Aments stayed for a whole week at the Cavalier, “renewing so many memories of the times when we lived there,” says Becky.

The Aments are one of 75 couples from around the country who will descend on the newly renovated Cavalier Hotel this Valentine’s Day to renew their vows; all of those couples were either married or honeymooned at the historic hotel. The event is part of the Cavalier’s lead-up to its grand public re-opening on March 7.

Guests will receive a free night’s stay at the Cavalier, lunch, dinner, free photography, a reception, and have their vows renewed together by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

For Julie and Edgar MacKinlay, renewing their vows wasn’t something they considered before responding to the Cavalier’s call for couples nearly two years ago. Now that the big day has arrived, they are excited about staying at the hotel.

The newlywed MacKinlay couple leaving the Cavalier for their honeymoon on August 1, 1964 (Courtesy of the MacKinlay Family via the Cavalier Hotel) Virginia Beach
Newlyweds Julie and Edgar MacKinlay leaving the Cavalier for their honeymoon on August 1, 1964 (Courtesy of the MacKinlay Family via the Cavalier Hotel)

“My husband and I have never actually stayed at the Cavalier, although each of us have rented rooms there. Our wedding reception was at the Cavalier, and we changed from our wedding clothes into street clothes to leave on our honeymoon. So each of our families rented a room so we could make that clothes change.”

The MacKinlay’s wedding reception, which took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Cavalier, was “indeed grand,” according to Julie.

“There was an orchestra, and women in sequined cocktail dresses danced with men in white dinner jackets.”

The MacKinlay wedding part in the Cavalier's ballroom during their wedding reception on August 1, 1964 (Courtesy of the MacKinlay Family via the Cavalier Hotel) Virginia Beach
The MacKinlay wedding party in the Cavalier’s ballroom during their wedding reception on August 1, 1964, with newlyweds Julie and Edgar MacKinlay front and center (Courtesy of the MacKinlay Family via the Cavalier Hotel)

They drank champagne and ate tiny sandwiches and lacy wedding cake from a long table. Julie says “there were bouquets of flowers and potted palms everywhere.”

The MacKinlays say that they are so proud that the Cavalier is “offering this celebration as a way of reopening the hotel. It’s a real honoring of the hotel’s past in embarking on a whole new era. I am looking forward to meeting the other participants because I think we will have many feelings and experiences to share.”

Cavalier Associates LLC is renovating the Cavalier property, and has put over $200 million into the project, which also includes building homes on the land around it and redeveloping the property.

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