Wedding bells chimed to the surprise and delight of guests who gathered recently for a Miami Beach Gay Pride “Legacy Couple” fundraiser at the BB&T Bank South Beach branch on Thursday, Feb. 19.

Frank Petrole and Marc Rudick, together for 55 years, and Mary Maguire and Jackie Emmett, together for 53 years were slated to be the honorees of the event announcing BB&T’s sponsorship of the Legacy Couples float in the Miami Pride Parade. Petrole and Rudik surprised all attending when they announced that they would be legally married during the event. Pride’s publicist Richard Murry of The Murry Agency, who is an ordained minister, officiated the extemporaneous ceremony.

Miami Beach Gay Pride created the Legacy Couple program during the very first year of its existence as a way to honor trailblazing couples in committed relationships for 10 years or longer. The concept has since been embraced by other Pride events around the country. The fundraiser also honored Mary Maguire and Jackie Emmett, also from Fort Lauderdale, who have been together 53 years. The other Legacy Couples featured at the event represented couples ranging from 16 to 52 years together. Additional guests were Pride donors and sponsors and BB&T Bank representatives and clients.

The impromptu wedding chapel was the BB&T Bank South Beach branch. Prior to the wedding, Arthur Costa, BB&T Regional Multicultural Markets Officer, had announced the bank’s sponsorship of the Legacy Couple program. BB&T Bank’s support includes the Legacy Couple float for the parade and a “Pride Chapel” on the beach during the festival where current and future Legacy Couples can get legally married.

“BB&T supports the individuals and organizations that broaden our perspectives and strengthen the diverse fabric of our communities,” said Arthur Costa, BB&T Regional Multicultural Markets Officer. “That’s why BB&T is proud to be a part of this day of pride and celebration of the 2015 Legacy Couples. After 55 years of happiness together, Frank and Marc chose last Thursday’s event as the date and time to get married. Truly an honor for me and BB&T.”

Miami Beach Gay Pride will take place April 11 and 12. Saturday’s beach party will feature live performances from multiple stages and festival booths. Sunday’s parade, led by Grand Marshall Mario Lopez, will feature more than 100 marching contingencies, 35 floats and 2,000 participants; the festival that follows will include performances from four stages, refreshments, fireworks and 145 LGBTQ-friendly vendors and businesses.

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