Note: To register for the Valentine’s Day wedding, application for marriage licenses must be made no later than February 11. You may apply online here.
When Flagler County Clerk of Court Tom Bexley announced at the end of his inaugural year that he’d start a new tradition every Valentine’s Day on the steps of the county courthouse, the response was all adoration and wedding bells: 16 couples turned out to be married, and five to renew their vows.
Among those renewing vows were Bexley’s own parents, Carol and Bill, who were marking their golden jubilee, and Mike Zack and Pam Richardson, the Realtor and occasional political candidate, who were marking their silver jubilee. Yet another couple had been married 60 years–a diamond jubilee.
The brides filed out on the plaza in front of the Kim Hammond Justice Center to the rhythms of a string octet, bunches of colorful flowers everywhere more than compensated for February’s gray skies, and Bexley presided over the ceremony.
Of course it’s back.
The next Valentine’s Day wedding ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 14 at noon again on the courthouse steps, with Bexley presiding, and with an ensemble of the Flagler Youth Orchestra performing.
“This is the second of what will be an annual event,” Bexley said. “Last year’s inaugural ceremony was a memorable occasion that really was special for us and the participants. We hope the community will look forward to celebrating with us. We are always thankful to the couples who allow us to participate in their day, and if last year’s event is any indication, this one will be equally as special.”
Not to worry: it’s strictly non-denominational, both in religious and gender terms, this being a civil ceremony: all couples of age are welcome, whatever their sectarian background or choice of combinations.
“We’re in the process of confirming and nailing down the entertainment, which should be fantastic again,” Luke Givens, the chief deputy and chief operating officer at the clerk’s office, said today.
There’s an advantage to participating in that particular ceremony: Bexley is waiving what would normally be a $30 ceremony fee (26 euros or 200 yuan for your visiting lovebirds from east or west: there was a Chinese couple last year). Standard license fees will still apply.
To register for the event, application for marriage licenses must be made no later than February 11. You may apply online right here.
There is a limit of 25 couples, though as of today, just two couples had applied, perhaps suggesting a small stampede of cold feet that should listen to Prince Andrew’s advice to Pierre in Tolstoi’s “War and Peace”: “My dear friend, I entreat you, don’t philosophize, don’t doubt, marry, marry, marry.” (A few million words later Pierre and Natasha do, and have four children.)
Marriage is still almost twice as popular as divorce in Flagler County: according to the clerk’s office, there were 663 marriages recorded by year’s end in 2018, and 374 divorces.
At the Valentine’s Day ceremony the couples and their guests will celebrate with refreshments provided at the end of the ceremony. Couples will receive a special Certificate of Marriage commemorating the day. The certificates will be given at the end of the ceremony.
For more information, contact the Recording Department at 386-313-4360, Kim C. Hammond Justice Center, 1769 East Moody Boulevard, Building #1, Bunnell.