FAIRFIELD — Katrina Gutierrez didn’t care much for the young man pestering her in English class at Solano Community College. In fact, she did her best not to acknowledge his presence, never turning around to see his face.
When she finally turned around to look at him, she saw something she liked.
On Thursday, Gutierrez married her beau of three years, Zachary Fabela, who said he fell in love with her the first time he saw her.
“To her, I was that annoying class clown,” he said.
They were one of the couples to marry Thursday – Valentine’s Day – at the Solano County Government Center.
The Solano County Clerk’s Office offers civil ceremonies every Thursday. On a usual Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Jo Ann Huff weds about 10 couples.
This was to be no ordinary Thursday since it was Valentine’s Day. When Hoff arrived, 19 weddings were scheduled. One couple called to cancel.
The first couple, Vacaville residents Alejandra Ramirez and Daniel Garcia, had been dating three years. The honeymoon would have to wait. She was due at work after the ceremony.
Curtis Nelson and Cheauvon Brown met Christmas Day on Facebook. Their first date was New Year’s Eve – dinner and a movie. As they waited for their turn to wed, her cousin Jamie Lofton-Morgan photographed them on the staircase inside the government building.
She wore a royal purple dress, he matched in a purple suit and purple shoes. The couple told no one of their plans, except for Lofton-Morgan.
A day in San Francisco was planned after the nuptials. They live in Vallejo.
About 15 people packed into the hearing room, where the weddings are held, to watch Blanca Aguilar and Mario Galvan-Luna say, “I do.” The couple has been together six years and has two children, a son Mario, 3, and daughter Bella, 4 months.
“It was time. We had waited long enough,” Galvan-Luna said. “Now every Valentine’s Day he has to do something. He can’t forget.”
Aguilar saw things a little differently. He joked that he could now buy one present that will count for Valentine’s Day as well as their wedding anniversary.
Peggy and George Ambrose waited patiently in the lobby of the government center as her brother, Edgar Pendleton, and his sweetheart of three years, Sarah Ray, prepared to say their vows. Peggy Ambrose wore a sweater with hearts and other symbols of Valentine’s Day. Her husband of 16 years donned a red tie with white hearts.
Ray choked back tears as she recited her vows. Pendleton recovered quickly from saying “I thee red” to “I thee wed.”
Originally, he proposed via text message. He didn’t get a reply. But that didn’t stop him from trying. While dining with some friends, he proposed to her.
He is 69, she is 68. No children are planned, they joked. She’s the mother of six, he’s the father of five.
“We’re not getting married for the kids,” he joked.
Huff shared with them the story of an elderly couple she wed. Before the woman would take the vows, she wanted to make sure she didn’t have to say she’d obey him, Huff said.
By the end of the day, Huff married 18 couples. The 84-year-old was up to the task, smiling throughout and posing for pictures with the newlyweds.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.