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V-DAY: Multiple couples said “I do” at free ceremonies in Olmsted County

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- On Friday, as romance springs eternal on Valentine's Day, some Olmsted County couples took the next step in their relationships.

Couples tied the knot and took advantage of free wedding ceremonies at the Olmsted County Courthouse.

Those words, "I now pronounce you husband and wife," could be heard after brides and grooms took the oath to become united in marriage.

One of the couples, Earl and Shontell Ringold, will forever have this memory stamped in their hearts.

"I figured if any girl could put up with my stuff, I needed to put a ring on it," said Earl.

Earl felt this holiday was the perfect day for a wedding.

"I wanted to show my love for her, and how much I love her and I think it's the right thing to do," he said.

The newlyweds were among 20 other couples who tied the knot for free in front of Olmsted County Judges.

One officiating judge, Jacob Allen, said the county got the idea from Hennepin County. He said he wants to spread that happiness here.

"Today is about love, and today is about Valentine's Day. And we really want to be a part of that if people are interested," said Allen.

As each couple said, "I do," court staffers felt proud about being able to help these brides and grooms take the next happy steps in their relationships.

"As judges you know these are one of the few joyous things that we get to do around the courthouse. To really get to be a part of people's individual lives," said Allen.

As Shontell proudly wears her ring and new last name. She wants other couples to keep this piece of advice in mind: "When you find the one that you know is the special on, or the one that you think is the one, you really will know. its a feeling you get inside its not like, its a feeling you really will know when that person is the one."

This is the first time Olmsted County provided free wedding ceremonies on Valentine's Day. Judge Allen hopes they can provide free weddings again next year.

KaMaria Braye

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