Sweet Romance reads/Wedding Wednesday.
While on a work assignment at the St. Louis County Courtroom, I learned a few things about cases that are heard in the courtrooms. Mondays are reserved for people who want to change their names; Paternity Tuesdays need no explanation, Wedding Wednesdays, which are open to the public; Probation Revocation are heard on Thursdays; and divorces are granted every day of the week along with other civil and criminal trials.
After learning the schedule of “appearances,” I opted to witness my first courthouse wedding. I was hyped as I counted down the days to Weddings Wednesday. With thirty to forty marriages to preside over in one afternoon, judges’ one-minute nuptials would put speed dating to shame.
Judges performed the ceremonies on a rotating schedule. One judge walked in late, carrying his black robe tucked under his arm. By the time the bailiff had assembled the couples on a first come, first serve basis; the judge had slipped on his robe while cracking jokes to stir up couples and their witnesses. I later found out, ironically, that divorce judges also act as justice of the peace on Weddings Wednesday.
I didn’t know what to expect as I entered the crowded courtroom, but I did hope to capture that “look of love” on brides and grooms’ faces. It was odd to see some couples repeat their vows to the judge instead of gazing into their beloved’s eyes. On my wedding day, thirty plus years ago, I wanted my husband to look me in the eye when he made his promises!
Being a bystander wasn’t enough. Since I’m nosy by nature, I had to ask some brides why they chose the courthouse. Their reasons varied.
“We’ve been together for twenty-five years. We decided to make it legal,” said a woman sitting on the last bench. It seemed to be no big deal to her hubby to-be either who sat stoically beside her.
I moved on to another bride-to-be and asked a similar question.
“We had planned to get married last year, then I got pregnant with her,” she pointed to the toddler playing at her feet, “so since we’re trying to buy a house, the courthouse worked.”
Besides her, there were a good number of women marrying the father of their children, including some who were pregnant.
The dress attire was as diverse as the nationalities tying the knot. I could count on one hand, okay, maybe seven fingers how many had dressed for the grand occasion. Some looked like they were on their way to a movie, shopping, or even heading back home after the certificate was signed.
There were some eye-catching fairytale brides who wore white or off white. One woman had on a long cream dress. Her hair was adorned with flowers as if they were on a vine. She bounced a baby girl in her arms who was outfitted in a cute orange chiffon dress. “I have my flower girl and bouquet wrapped up in one,” she told me with a smile.
“What made you decide to get married at the courthouse?” I asked.
The groom, decked out in a suit and tie, answered, “I’m about to enlist in the U.S. Navy and I had to be married to make sure my family was taken care of.”
“Awww, so when are you enlisting?”
“You’re just making the cut,” I told him and thanked him for his upcoming service.
On another Weddings Wednesday, I chuckled after a woman, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, rushed inside the courtroom. “Did I miss it?” she asked a couple across the aisle in a voice that wasn’t a whisper. The embarrassed bride and groom shook their heads no.
There so much more, but I’ll share them in a blog or include them in an upcoming story.
Here’s some pictures to share:
This bride, a native of Nigeria, and her fiancé arrived three hours early to be the first couple married.
The more matured …
Nothing was stopping these lovebirds
From one Mrs. Simmons, I congratulated the Mrs. Simmons, so of course I had to take a picture. Her reason for a courthouse wedding was to give her Midwest family a ceremony, and then have one later in Baltimore for other family members.
On this Weddings Wednesday, a friend of a bride-to-be passed out napkins to newlyweds as they left the courtroom. “I wanted them to have something special from this day,” she said.
Well, that’s it for me this month. I can’t wait to see the July weddings!
I’m Pat Simmons, author, romantic at heart, and your Weddings Wednesday roaming reporter.
Pat is the multi-published author of more than a dozen Christian titles and is a three-time recipient of the Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, Pat is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels. She describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.
Pat is currently overseeing the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions. She has a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Pat converted her sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.
Read more about Pat and her books by visiting www.patsimmons.net or on social media.
Download her newest release:JET: Back Story to LOVE LED BY THE SPIRIT for .99.