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Hearts fill courthouse

Employees in the Escambia County Probate office was a little better dressed than usual Tuesday as they partnered with Hope Place to make it a Valentine’s Day special for those who chose it as their wedding day.
“Last year Hope Place came to us and suggested that we partner with them on this project,” said Probate Judge Emilie Mims. “We talked about it and decided to have cake and flowers set up in the hall for those who came in to get married. Last year we had 13 couples to get married on Valentine’s Day. Today we haven’t had so many. I think the weather has had a tremendous effect on the turnout. We also have a new design marriage certificate for the family to frame.”
Representatives of Hope Place, Tyson Turner, Melissa McMillan and Traci Hughes, manned the registry table and signed each couple in, giving them wedding cake and extra to take home.
“February is Healthy Marriage month,” Hughes said. “As part of the Alabama Healthy Marriage Relationship Initiative, we handed out marriage handbooks and other materials to help the couples get a good start on their marriage.”
Judge Mims said Valentine’s Day is traditionally the busiest day of the year for getting married.
“I remember one year when Feb. 14 was on a Saturday,” she said. “We thought we would probably have a lot of people come in on Friday. Nobody came and then we realized nobody was willing to get married on Friday the 13th.”
Eight couples exchanged vows in the judge’s chambers before closing on Valentine’s Day.