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Couples mark Valentine's Day with courthouse nuptials

February 14, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- After dating for the last two years, Funkstown residents Chris Schultz and Kim Lushbaugh said they decided to tie the knot during a Valentine's Day ceremony at the Washington County Circuit Courthouse in Hagerstown.

Schultz and Lushbaugh were among 12 couples who paid $85 each to exchange vows at the courthouse and alter their lives for, as the adage says, better or worse.

"It's a lot better than spending thousands of dollars on a wedding," Lushbaugh said. "He's stuck with me. We might as well make it legal."

Lushbaugh said she was "scared to death" just minutes before her wedding.

"I'm already a grandmother to three. ... Now, I'm going to be a grandmother to 17," said Lushbaugh, referring to becoming a stepgrandmother to Schultz' 14 grandchildren. "It's a new experience as far as starting over with a new life."

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Mary Ann Weber, a courthouse clerk, said Valentine's Day is the busiest time of the year for weddings at the courthouse.

Four clerks took turns administering vows as betrothed couples funneled into the courthouse from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As of 10:30 a.m., four couples had been married in ceremonies that lasted about three minutes each.

Raymond Grimm and Vanessa Melton of Hagerstown said they originally planned to marry on Valentine's Day next year, but they changed the date because Grimm wasn't sure when he would ship out to U.S. Army boot camp.

Grimm said it was his fiancee's idea to choose Valentine's Day to get married.

"It will make it easy for me to remember our anniversary," he said. "It's my sister's birthday and my parents' wedding anniversary."

Grimm said the newlyweds plan to have a traditional ceremony next year so the entire family can share their joy.

Shortly after Thomas and Dana Sheffler of Hagerstown became man and wife, they stood in a courthouse hallway and confessed to still being nervous.

Thomas said they intended to take the rest of the week off to go on their honeymoon.

"We love each other," he said. "That's all that counts."

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