BY KRISTINA HACKER
What could be more romantic than getting married on Valentine’s Day? How about sharing your special day with dozens of other engaged couples during the “Marriage at the Mansion” event in downtown Modesto.
Stanislaus County Clerk / Recorder and Commissioner of Civil Marriages Lee Lundrigan and her staff will perform marriage ceremonies all day long on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, at the historic McHenry Mansion located at 906 15th St.
This is the sixth wedding event the County Clerk has conducted at the McHenry Mansion since 2003.
“The first time we did this was in 2003 and we did it for five years straight,” said Lundrigan. “More and more people came each time. The second time we had 61 couples and more as time went on.”
The mass wedding day tradition was suspended during the recession, as the County budget tightened and mandatory furlough days for all staff was implemented.
“After this really big election we just had, we needed to do something fun,” said Lundrigan about the return of the Valentine’s Day tradition.
All ceremonies will be individualized and couples must sign up in advance. Ceremonies will start at 9 a.m. and run through 4 p.m., lasting approximately 10 minutes each. Marriage licenses must be purchased and appointments made in advance at the Clerk Recorder’s Office located at 1021 “I” Street in downtown Modesto. Cost of the license and ceremony is $121 or $126 for confidential marriage licenses. Certified marriage certificates are an additional $15 and must be paid by check. No blood test is required.
The non-religious civil ceremonies will be conducted in English or Spanish by Lundrigan, her staff and invited deputy marriage commissioners. Guests are limited to 15 for each wedding, and children must be age 12 or older to attend in the Mansion.
“In the past we’ve had such a variety of weddings, it’s been so much fun,” she said remembering a time when a local fire chief arrived to the wedding on an antique hook and ladder truck.
Lundrigan said that they have dozens of volunteers to pull off the Valentine’s Day wedding extravaganza and all kinds of vendors will be on hand for the newlywed couples as well. The Mansion Gift Shop will be open with a Valentine theme; and local businesses are donating gifts. Wedding photos can be purchased. There is no flash photography in the Mansion to preserve the valuable antiques.
For more information or to set an appointment contact the Clerk Recorder’s Office at 209-525-5250 or call 209-525-5230 for assistance in Spanish.