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Court becomes ‘wedding central’

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Surrounded by family and friends, Maureen Rader and her soon-to-be-husband Marc Machon share a private moment before their wedding at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court on the 9th Floor, which was transformed into “Wedding Central” on Valentine’s Day. Behind Maureen is her brother Brandan Everett, right. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After Marc Machon proposed at Christmas dinner, he and his fiancée, Maureen, started planning a big, early-summer wedding.

“It just got complicated,” Maureen said, sitting in the hallways of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse on Wednesday, hearts and flowers taped to the walls behind her.

Weeks ago, she said, the couple abandoned their original wedding plans and settled instead on a simple, intimate ceremony at the courthouse Downtown.

“When we were looking to pick a date, we just thought Valentine’s Day would be the perfect day to do it,” she said. “It’s a day to celebrate love.”

Surrounded by their kids, siblings and parents, the two held hands as they promised before Judge Frank Sedillo to love, honor and cherish each other.

The Machons were among more than 70 couples to say “I do” at Metro Court on Wednesday, which transforms its ninth floor into “Wedding Central” on Valentine’s Day each year.

The courthouse hallway buzzed as couples kissed and posed for photos with friends and family members. Mothers wiped tears and straightened bowties. Congratulations were exchanged and dressed-up toddlers corralled.

Sedillo, who in a normal week performs six to 12 ceremonies, said that every wedding is special, and each couple unique. He says he encourages everyone to consider the simple, practical, affordable courthouse option.

“We’re getting ready for a royal wedding in England here, and I bet you they’re going to spend millions of dollars to accomplish the exact same thing,” he said. “Why not do it this way? It makes perfect sense to do it this way. The love doesn’t change.”

David and Kali Beaty, who are expecting a baby boy, said they may spring for a bigger wedding in the future, but for now, they were relieved to be saving some money.

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Kali Beaty, who is eight months pregnant, and David Beaty exchange vows as Judge Frank Sedillo holds one of their daughters, Khloe, 1, while officiating their wedding at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court on the 9th Floor, which was transformed into “Wedding Central” for Valentine’s Day weddings. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

As the Beatys said their vows, their two oldest daughters – wearing color-coordinated dresses with perfectly styled hair – stood at their sides beaming. Their smallest daughter, Khloe, bounced around the courtroom for much of the ceremony carrying her own tiny bouquet of flowers.

Afterward, Kali said her courthouse wedding was perfect and David said he was grateful that they’d chosen to tie the knot on Valentine’s Day.

“It makes it easy to remember my anniversary,” he laughed.

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