The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 8, 2013

Looking for a wedding location? Register of Deeds offers free ceremony

By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer

Friday, February 8, 2013 — If one is looking to get married or if one isn’t making enough progress in the planning of one’s wedding, one might want to stop by the Stanly County Courthouse on Valentine’s Day.

The Register of Deeds office will conduct a day of weddings for the second year in a row. Last year, five weddings and receptions were held during the day, free of charge, for couples looking to tie the knot.

Around 50 businesses from the county also did their part by donating prizes totaling more than $10,000 that were given out during the day. This year’s event is more of the same, with nine couples already lined up.

“Most people are just happy to help out the newlyweds. I guess they know what it’s like when you are first starting out,” Register of Deeds Suzanne Lowder said.

The idea came from a similar one in Catawba County. Weddings are also held at their courthouse on Valentine’s Day, but there’s no reception.

So far, the response from businesses donating prizes for the big wedding day have been impressive. Gift certificates to places such as Applebee’s, Harmanco’s, Yadkin Valley Steakhouse and the Walmart locations in Albemarle and Richfield are available. So are two 15-minute massages from Stanly Therapeutic Massage, two bottles of wine from Stony Mountain Vineyards and one four-round golf pass from Tillery Tradition Country Club in Mt. Gilead.

Couples must purchase a marriage license by Feb. 13 to be eligible for the Valentine’s Day wedding. Photography, videography, cake and decorations will be provided. The Stanly Community College Cosmetology Department is even fixing the hair of each bride an hour before their wedding.

“We tried to get pamphlets or brochures or cards from each businesses to give to all the couples so they know all the businesses that participated,” Assistant Register of Deeds Amanda Cody said.

“One couple that I know was planning a wedding and heard about this and decided this was a lot easier and decided to do this.”

Lowder said each couple can have 20-25 friends at the wedding and reception. The Clerk of Court’s office is donating two rooms for use, one for the weddings and the other for the receptions.

Couples interested in joining others in getting married on Valentine’s Day can call the Register of Deeds office at (704) 986-3640.

“Last year people were like ‘What are you doing?’ Then when everybody figured out what it was, they just thought it was great,” Cody said.

“This year is the same sort of thing. How great it is for businesses to do that. We don’t do anything except for putting it together. As far as expenses, there’s no expenses to the taxpayer. Everything that’s done is from local businesses donating their services or time for supplies or gifts.”

“I don’t know if it applies to anybody that’s getting married this year, but some of the people were unemployed and they were like ‘Yeah, we can do this,’ ” Lowder said.

“So they were able to have a really nice wedding and reception where otherwise they would just have gone to the register’s office.”