MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Wedding cake was on the lunch menu for a few dozen couples at Hennepin County Government Center Thursday.
A dozen Hennepin County District Court judges became wedding singers, musicians, and wedding officiants over the noon hour, helping 36 couples get married in what has become an annual tradition.
A year ago the Mbonfals met at work. During the lunchtime nuptials, they tied the knot in a free ceremony.
“Valentine’s Day has always been a special day to us, and we wanted to make it even more special by getting married today,” Mariah Mbonfal said.
Another couple — Dragon and Kari Sky, from Richfield — have been dating seven years and decided today was the day. They said they looked at the possibility to get married in Las Vegas.
“And there was more paperwork and it was like, ‘Ah, I don’t know.’ And then we saw this,” Dragon said.
The honorable Gina Brandt officiated their ceremony, a welcome change of pace for the judge.
“It’s such a nice thing to be able to have good happiness in this courthouse,” Brandt said. “I love being part of love, and this is a great event every year.”
While the couples hope this is the only year they participate, the judges come back as often as they can. For Brandt, this is the seventh year. Judge James Moore said this is his third time.
“I volunteer every year, but a lot of judges volunteer, and so we take turns. Last year, I got aced out,” Moore said.
“This is so heartwarming, I’m a die-hard hopeless romantic and so this is just sweet as pie to see a bunch of people come out and celebrate Valentine’s Day,” Brandt said.