Couples say 'I do' at courthouse

February 14, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Fred Hall II, left, holds his marriage certificate with his wife, Dolly Hall, on Monday afternoon after their wedding at the Washington County Courthouse.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Love was in the air Monday at the Washington County Courthouse, but the number of marriages that took place was nowhere near that of years past.

Fred Hall II and Dolly Clay, both of Hagerstown, exchanged vows at noon during a brief ceremony in the marriage room of the courthouse, which was crowded with relatives. They were the last of the half-dozen couples to tie the knot on Valentine’s Day.

Sheila Brown, the circuit court deputy clerk who presided over the two-minute ceremony, said records show there were 27 marriages on Valentine’s Day in 1997, 30 in 1994 and 31 in 1992.

Clerk of the Circuit Court Dennis Weaver said last week that he thought 31 was the record. Valentine’s Day was on a Friday that year, he said.

“We were originally engaged on St. Valentine’s Day in 2006,” the future Mrs. Hall said a few minutes before the double-ring ceremony. “I just told him I’d like to get married on St. Valentine’s Day.”

Clay said it would make it easier to remember their anniversary.

“We just wanted to have something real short and real simple,” Hall said.

Dolly’s twin sister, Margie French, served as matron of honor. Her husband, Richard, was best man.

Among those present was Clay’s daughter, Bessie Rice. She got married in the courthouse one week earlier, she said.

“It was supposed to happen on Valentine’s Day, but I gave (the day) to them,” Rice said.

Despite having been engaged for several years, the Halls confessed after their wedding to having some butterflies.

“She says her stomach has been twitching, and mine has, too,” Fred Hall said.

The marriage room measures about 8 feet by 8 feet, and with more than a dozen people inside and the door closed, it was a tight fit for the wedding party.

Neither of the Halls was dressed for a formal wedding, but courthouse security personnel said one woman showed up earlier in the morning in a wedding gown.

A ceremony in the courthouse marriage room costs $25, Brown said.

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