MEDINA — Medina County Probate Court staff kept alive a tradition Friday that began seven years ago on Valentine’s Day.
Court staff decorated the courtroom and provided wedding cakes for couples who wanted to marry on the holiday for lovers.
The wedding tradition began with retired Juvenile/Probate Court Judge John J. Lohn, and the court staff and Judge Kevin Dunn are continuing the Valentine’s Day celebration.
Dunn was appointed to fill Lohn’s seat in August.
“We’ve been doing it for seven years now,” said Sharon Danko, court administrator. She said Lohn’s wife, Linda, baked heart-shaped cakes and brought them in for the staff to decorate.
Even though the judge is retired, Linda Lohn continues to bake for the event.
For the last two years, members of the staff sign up to decorate the two-tiered cakes, and each brings in a different flavor for the occasion. As the brides and grooms enter the courtroom, the staff tries to pick a cake that seems best suited to the couple.
Danko said Sue Lewis is by far the most competitive cake decorator.
“It’s not supposed to be a competition, but Sue always turns it into one,” Danko said. This year, Sue’s cake featured a bride and groom cake-topper, a feature the other small cakes didn’t have.
“It’s just great to see what the staff comes up with,” Danko said. “Everyone has their own style.”
On Friday, nine couples tied the knot before Dunn and posed afterward for a photo under a pink archway.
Bride Jackie Young and groom Jeremy Watt came to the courthouse as an alternative to eloping. Jackie, who works as a massage therapist, and Jeremy, a Wadsworth firefighter, said they planned on a June wedding, but they have a baby due May 6 and wanted to avoid the expense of a big wedding.
“We had a baby coming and we just bought a house,” Jackie said. “We thought about eloping, but this was a better idea.”
Instead, they kept their family in on the marriage and picked an anniversary date that Jackie hopes Jeremy — her high school sweetheart — can remember.
“It’ll be harder to forget this way, Valentine’s Day,” Jeremy joked.
Siblings, parents and grandparents of the couple looked on and snapped photos as they said their vows during the short ceremony. The couple said they planned a family lunch back home in Wadsworth.
During the ceremony, the court staff snaps photos of the nuptials and mails them to the couples following the wedding.
“It’s just a nice little way to remember the day,” Danko said.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.