Love was in the air at the Prince William County Courthouse on Wednesday.
Nearly 20 couples spent their Valentine’s Day tying the knot in 125-year-old Manassas building.
Tomika R. McGougald and her wife, Tashea K. McDade-McDougald, wanted to make Valentine’s Day more special by saying “I do.”
“We picked Valentine’s Day, because every day to us in Valentine’s Day,” McGougald said. “And so because this day is so significant for everybody else to show love, we decided to just choose this day to be our wedding day.”
The couple decided to keep it simple by having their ceremony at the courthouse.
“We chose the courthouse, because we wanted just to become … legally married,” McDade-McDougald said. “We’ve been together for 13 years and feel like we needed to do a big wedding to get married.”
Wedding ceremonies have not been conducted in the courthouse since 2007, before Former Clerk of Court Dave Mabie retired.
Clerk of Court Jackie Smith recently brought back the service.
Smith, who was elected Clerk of Court in May, heard community members recall their courthouse weddings while she was campaigning.
“It seemed to me that was a great opportunity to provide a happy service to the community,” Smith said. “It’s at little to no cost to us as an office, and we’re really happy to provide this service.”
Employees eagerly await the ceremonies.
“It’s one of the best parts of our jobs, celebrating weddings,” Smith said. “We deal with a lot of serious stuff in the courthouse every day, so we look forward to wedding days very much.”