Friday the 13th is lucky for newlyweds

February 14, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Cupid and the weekday calendar didn't align this year.

A civil wedding on Valentine's Day at the Washington County Courthouse was impossible because it's closed today.

Terry Coblentz and Michelle Lantz did the next best thing, though, by getting married Friday.

With their 14-month-old son watching - sort of - and Michelle's sister, Christina Royer, snapping pictures, Terry and Michelle got married in a tiny room tucked in a bottom-floor office.

Nattily dressed in a white tuxedo shirt, black jacket and red bow tie, Washington County Chief Deputy Circuit Clerk Rick Hemphill used a firm but gentle voice to guide the couple through the five-minute ceremony.


Hemphill started by asking Terry to switch places with Michelle and stand to her right. You'll be properly positioned "to draw your sword when somebody objects," Hemphill quipped.

The number of civil weddings at the courthouse peaks each year on Valentine's Day, or comes close to it. The Valentine's Day wedding record is in the high 30s, Hemphill said.

But 2004 was unkind and unromantic. The closest that couples wanting to marry on Valentine's Day, a day of love, could get was Friday the 13th, a day of bad luck for the superstitious.

By noon, though, four couples boldly had thrown their fortunes to fate.

Terry, 24, and Michelle, 28, who live in Cascade, were the fourth couple to marry.

As he does each time, Hemphill stressed the gravity of the institution of marriage before proceeding to the vows.

After the pronouncement that they were husband and wife, the couple laughed with delight and kissed with purpose.

Their son Terry - dressed in a blue shirt, dark slacks and a black necktie about half as tall as he is - wandered off to explore the outer office.

Michelle said their daughter, Tiffany, 8, chose to be at a Valentine's Day party at school instead of the wedding.

Michelle, a clerk at Moore Business Communications Services in Thurmont, Md., and Terry, a logger in Thurmont, met through friends.

Their first date, a meandering drive, was livened when their vehicle almost hit a horse in Sabillasville, Md., Michelle said.

It got them talking, anyway.

"It was something good to look back on," Terry said.

They were engaged for about four years before they married Friday.

"I finally pinched her enough," Terry said.

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