Today I arrived at the County Recorder's Building right at 1:00. There were people all over the place. Brides in long white dresses, short white dresses; little boys in suits, little boys in fancy vests; men in suits; and everyone had flowers. Where did all these people come from? We don't get busy until 3:00. What is going on? I literally had to fight my way through hordes of people to get to the door to the area where my desk is.
One of the clerks said to me, " It's 8-9-10 today." Oh, people like fun sequences of numbers. On 08-08-08 and on 09-09-09, we had people lined up down the street. Other dates have brought in lots of couples to be married. By the time I got there today they had already done a lot of weddings, with no volunteer to help. So they were thrilled when I arrived.
One wedding was very upsetting for me. The couple had had a big "wedding". Except their friend had not done the paper work to be a one day marriage commissioner. So they really had a party. They wanted the down and dirty ceremony from me. I hate those. But I did it: three legal sentences are all it takes. Do you take_________ as your wife? Do you take ________ as your husband? By the power vested in me by the state of CA, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Isn't that sad? But that is what they wanted.
One bride was in a long puffy strapless dress. Every time I saw her in the lobby, she was tugging on the dress to pull it up. During the ceremony she was still tugging. She also was very teary and shaky, I thought she might pass out. I stopped at one point for her to breathe (yes, people forget to do that).
The best wedding today was very small. We had the groom, the bride, and his son E as the witness. E was 7 years old. He wore a blazer, an oxford cloth button down shirt, a tie, and dockers. he was a mini Daddy. He had one accessory, a very fancy pen. E told me he had been practicing writing his name all week and this was the pen he was going to use. I never let anyone use their own pen. I have to be sure the pen is black ink or a dark blue. Oh dear what if his pen is purple or green or pink ink? He is 7, I can't disappoint him. But we have laws on the color of the ink. We tested the pen, yay it is blue. He can use it.
The couple asked me if I would take pictures after the ceremony. I said let E take them during the ceremony. They weren't sure, but we all know electronics and 7 years are perfect together. E was like a pro, he was on his knees shooting up at them. He turned the camera, he walked around the room getting every angle. Daddy looked at the pictures after the wedding, he was amazed how great the shots were. E kept saying, "I did a good job, didn't I Daddy?"
Then we signed the license. E did the souvenir license first, perfectly printed out first and last name. Then we did the real license. Where he had to sign was not as wide as my little finger and not very long. Adults mess it up all the time. Not E, perfect again. This was a very proud little boy and rightfully so.
I always try to make my couples and their guests comfortable. But the above wedding I really worked to make that child comfortable. Signing as a witness for your father's and stepmother's wedding is huge. And I was rewarded. The father told me he was so glad they got me as their commissioner. He thanked me for being so nice and so kind to their son. And that is another reason I volunteer.