Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2011
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Reporter Rebecca Berfanger wrote this blog post.

Starting in 2007, each year the clerk’s office in Marion County does a “Chapel of Love” event where couples can get married on Valentine’s Day for a donation to the American Heart Association. This year the clerk’s office had 35 couples scheduled to get married today between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to a release the office sent Friday.

A $50 donation to the American Heart Association is in lieu of an officiant’s fee. Since 2007, the event has raised more than $5,500 and 134 couples have been married prior to today’s event.

A year ago today, my friend Natasha Wheeler, who got engaged the previous October, got married at the Marion County Clerk’s Office and has no regrets.

Natasha and her husband first learned about this event through an article they saw in NUVO, and later through the blog post I wrote the Friday before the 2010 event, which I posted on my Facebook page.

She sent me a text that Friday evening because she had called the clerk’s office and was told they didn’t have any openings. I don’t have an “in” with the clerk’s office myself, but I did tell her when I called for more info earlier that day I was told they might be able to take walk-ins.

They got to the City County Building Feb. 14, 2010, about an hour and a half before the scheduled start time for the event, begged for a marriage license (the clerk’s office recommends couples get these ahead of time but did grant one to my friends), and they were the first couple to be married.

About a month later, they hosted an open house at their condo and shared photos and their story from that day. An e-mail I sent to her about the press release for the event was included in their wedding album.

Since then, Natasha and I have talked about her experience. Last month I joked with my coworkers that my boyfriend and I would do this today (we’re not, for the record and in case my mom is reading this).

Before deciding to do this, Natasha and her husband had looked into more traditional options for their wedding, and had even researched the costs for Las Vegas wedding, but they are happy with their choice to get married at the “Chapel of Love.”

“When planning a traditional wedding became too stressful and expensive, we decided to do something more fun, unique and philanthropic,” she texted me on her one-year anniversary.

In related news, the cost of a marriage license might increase if a bill passes this session. HB 1248, currently in the Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs, would increase the fee from $18 to $72, effective July 1, 2011. Couples who take a premarital preparation course would still only pay $18.
 

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  1. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

  5. To Bob- Goooooood, I'm glad you feel that way! He's alive and happy and thriving and out and I'm his woman and we live in West Palm Beach Florida, where his parents have a sprawling estate on an exclusive golf course......scum bag

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