ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Judge Frank Sedillo’s days at Metropolitan Court are often full of conflict.
As a civil judge, he deals with disputes: landlord-tenant disputes, relationship disputes, disputes between businesses and customers.
“Whatever can happen in life where conflict can arise,” he said, “oftentimes those types of cases find their way here.”
But all of that changes on Valentine’s Day, when happy couples flood into the courthouse, ready to say, “I do.” This year around 150 weddings took place before six judges as part of the court’s annual Wedding Central event, court officials said.
“How many times have you seen roughly 250 people in the same place, at the same time, smiling, in love, happy, and it’s not a sporting event?” he said.
As couples milled around, surrounded by their closest friends and family members. Sedillo said he could feel a kind of electricity in the air.
“The emotion is infectious,” Sedillo said.
Candace Hopkins, who is Candace Rosas as of Tuesday, noticed that atmosphere last year when she covered the Metro Court Valentine’s Day event as a reporter for KRQE.
“I thought it was really sweet and it kind of changed my opinion of court weddings,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, that could be nice.'”
And so when she and KRQE photographer Jon Rosas started talking about getting married, Rosas immediately mentioned a Valentine’s Day ceremony at the courthouse for consideration.
“It took some convincing for me,” Candace said. “But ultimately, I’m really happy we did it.”
The two have a big wedding planned for next year, but they didn’t want to wait that long.
“We just were excited about getting married and committing to each other,” said Candace, dressed in an elegant white lace dress and holding a delicate bouquet of pink and white roses.
Accompanied by two photographers and with an aunt watching via FaceTime, the couple promised to love, honor and cherish each other in a brief ceremony before Judge Sedillo.
Jon said they’re looking forward to celebrating with all of their loved ones next year with a “grandiose wedding.”
“We want to share this moment with our family,” Jon said. “But we also wanted a moment that was all for us.”