- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2013

They came out of convenience, for necessity, because they could, and so they wouldn’t forget.

On Wednesday, while throngs of people filed into D.C. Superior Court to pay bills or answer for their crimes, in a quiet corner of the marriage bureau, 14 couples started the first day of their married lives on Valentine's Day.

Under a modest white canopy decorated with flowers, red rose petals scattered on the maroon carpet, Lewisberry, Pa., residents Michael Lausterer and Stephen Jarvis II said their vows to one another.

“This is a Valentine's Day gift for the both of us,” said Mr. Lausterer, 42, who made the three-hour trip with Mr. Jarvis, 32.

“We’ve got good company, and what better day to tie the knot?” Mr. Lausterer said.

The marriage court sees about a half-dozen couples on an average day, spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said, but in the spring, and on Valentine's Day, the number doubles. On Thursday, the court was the site of 14 marriage ceremonies.

The first couple to make it official was McKinley and Renee White, D.C. residents and fellow U.S. Capitol Police officers.

Joined by more than a dozen family members and friends, the two tied the knot in matching colors, she in a bronze sequined dress and satin heels, he in a black tuxedo with a rust-colored bow tie.

The pair met while working security for the president’s State of the Union address three years ago.

The couple put an official title to a relationship that Mr.White said had never been limited by a status or name.

“I knew I wanted to do it,” he said, before his bride chimed in that “He called and said, ‘We’re getting married.’”

The groom, 47, said he called the courthouse about a month ago, and when he found out a slot was open on Valentine's Day, he pounced.

Valentine's Day is always special anyway, and it was an opportunity to get married,” he said. “I saw the opening to get married on that day. I was excited I would remember it.”

The two took a long weekend off from work and will celebrate a mini-honeymoon in town before their Caribbean cruise later this year.

“We’ll stay in town, but we’ll be away,” Renee White, 45, said with a wink. “We’re going to have a good time.”

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