Franklin County courthouse hosts record Valentine’s Day weddings

Almost eight years after the Columbus couple met through a vegan Facebook group, Jaimie Scott and Jordan Myers celebrated Valentine’s Day by reliving their first date with some vegan hot dogs at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace. 

But first, the couple got hitched at Franklin County Municipal Courthouse Tuesday morning during what the court staff calls their annual “wedding palooza.”

Scott (soon to be Jaimie Myers), 31, said she and her new husband chose to get married at the courthouse in front of a handful of family members to save money.

“When I started wedding planning, I started looking at venues and I was like, ‘no,'” Scott said. “Thousands of dollars for one day?”

“And the stress. Both of us are terrible planners,” Myers, 34, said.

According to the Wedding Report, a research company that collects statistics on the wedding industry, the average cost of a wedding in Columbus in 2021 was about $27,600.

To get married at the courthouse, it cost $25, plus the $65 for a marriage license.

Franklin County residents regularly get married at the courthouse, but every year on Valentine’s Day, staff decorates a courtroom with red hearts and judges officiate dozens of weddings one after the other. This year, the court broke its record for most weddings in one day: more than 80. The previous record was 75 and occurred on Valentine’s Day a couple of years before the pandemic, according to court staff.

Couples queued Tuesday — some dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts while others, like Scott and Myers, wore more traditional suits and sparkly white dresses — down the hall from where other courtrooms were dealing with business as usual: traffic violations and criminal cases.

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The ceremonies on Tuesday lasted only a few minutes but they weren’t short on heartfelt emotions. The Myers wedding brought tears to the couple and their family members.

“Nearly eight years of growing together has only proven time and again that you are everything that I could ever want in a life partner,” Myers said during his vows.

“There’s no one else in this world I would rather fumble through life with,” Scott said during her vows. “I look forward to you showing up late to every event we attend for the rest of our lives,”

Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Mike McAllister said officiating weddings is the best part of the job.

“It really is. It’s so fun. Everybody’s happy,” McAllister said.

Judge Cynthia Morehart agreed, saying, “Everybody’s smiling and no one’s yelling at me or calling me names.”

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Couple who grew up together in Youngstown reconnects in Columbus

Krishanna Bell, 36, and Eugene Ward, 40, grew up together in Youngstown and were among those who came to the courthouse to get married Tuesday.

About four years ago, Ward messaged Bell on Facebook in an attempt to reconnect.

“Her response to me was, ‘I don’t live in Youngstown. I don’t do long-distance relationships.’ I said perfect, me either,” Ward said.

Both had moved to Colombus. The couple ended their first date by walking along the Scioto Mile.

“It was under those stars and on that riverfront, we fell in love,” Ward said. “I thought Cupid was fake until he shot us.”

The couple decided recently to quit procrastinating. When they went to the courthouse a couple of weeks ago to get their marriage license, they were told Valentine’s Day would be the next available appointment for a wedding. On Tuesday, the East Side couple brought Bell’s sons — Tyler, 7, Raejon, 12 and Dana, 18 — with them.

The excitement was evident on her youngest son’s face as he and his brothers filmed the wedding with their cell phones.

Teen: parents’ marriage was overdue

Donny and Dia Jackson of Whitehall brought only their 17-year-old daughter, Dai, to their courthouse wedding Tuesday.

“It was the appropriate time. It’s overdue,” Dia Jackson said.

To which her daughter, said. “It was way overdue in my opinion.”

The couple wore matching custom t-shirts that said “Loc’d in Love” to the courthouse.

Dia Jackson said she got off work a few hours prior to the morning wedding so she was going home to get some sleep.

“We’re going home, she’s going to sleep, I’m going to be cooking dinner, just like yesterday,” Donny Jackson said.