When Joy Medlock went to Paris two years ago, she was inspired to see a bridge with thousands of locks, known as Love Lock Bridge, where couples put padlocks by the river Seine to show their love for each other.
Back in Florida, Medlock, vice president and general manager of The Palms at Town & Country, decided to bring the tradition to the bridge at the shops in Kendall.
“People have gotten engaged here,” said Medlock, adding that not just couples lock their love on the bridge. “It’s also for families and those who want to commemorate a loved one.”
Currently, the bridge has about 200 locks.
People personalize their locks, latch them onto the bridge and throw the keys into the water to symbolize their love for each other.
George Brodermann is one of them.
He proposed to his girlfriend, Carmen, on the bridge in 1991. Now married, George and Carmen, both 46, recently revisited the bridge where he popped the question.
“We walked over to the same spot where we stood when I had originally asked her to marry me, and we put a lock, finally, so many years later,” Brodermann said.
The bridge, which overlooks a fountain in the lake, is now called Love Lock Bridge, like the one in Europe.
The bridge was originally built in 1985. In 2007, the enclosed mall was demolished. Two years later, a new outdoor lifestyle mall was built and the bridge went through renovations.
Michelle Davis, 22, a server at the Italian restaurant Carmine’s La Trattoria, said she has seen an increase in business because of the bridge.
“I see people stop at the bridge all the time. It’s so romantic,” she said. “Sometimes people come to the restaurant just because they heard of Love Lock Bridge.”
Medlock said that initially it was difficult to get people to put locks on the bridge because they didn’t know it was allowed. To promote it, the management team put their own locks, gave locks to visiting business professionals and advertised it on social media.
“We had a Valentines Day promotion on Instagram giving away an engraved lock and a dinner for two at Devon Seafood + Steak,” Medlock said. “The shops are the only large commercial property in Kendall that have a lake feature that large. The shops are community-based because people can enjoy being outdoors together while enjoying the view of the lake and bridge.”
For Jason Matthews, the lake is where he made a life-changing decision.
Ten years after meeting Ashley in high school, Matthews, 25, got engaged to her and locked in their love on the bridge. He asked family and friends to hide and then meet them on the bridge soon after he proposed.
“That night, he was very fidgety. We walked over to the bridge and when I turned around, he was on one knee,” said Ashley, 24, who tears up while recounting that night. “I always make it a point for us to stop at the bridge when we are there, so he knew it meant a lot to me that he proposed on the bridge. He had a lock with our initials on it, and that night we locked it onto the bridge and threw the key in the water.”
If you go
What: Love Lock Bridge at The Palms at Town & Country
Where: 8268 Mills Drive, Miami, FL 33183
Mall hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.
For more information: email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.thepalmsshops.com or Instagram at thepalmsshops / #palmslovebridge