Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Rameses Jones shows off the ring before placing it on the finger of his wife Charita Jones at the old Justice of the Peace Room at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville on Tuesday. On Valentine's Day Magistrate Judge George Hutchinson III conducted free weddings ceremonies for anyone in the public who had a marriage license.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Vanessa Ibarra only had one day to pick out her wedding dress -- a hot pink number to match her husband's shirt and her daughter's dress.
She and husband Vicente decided to take advantage of Valentine's special festivities to tie the knot Tuesday, along with dozens of other couples who made their vows at the Gwinnett County Courthouse.
Some of the brides wore white; a few donned veils and carried bouquets.
For all, though, romance was in the air, as Gwinnett's Magistrate Court carried on its tradition of hosting free weddings on Valentine's Day.
"This is the best Valentine's gift a man could give a woman," James Faulkner said after an emotional ceremony to marry his bride Jessica, with their two children beside them.
Amber and Catalinotto Curinton, of Duluth, had been engaged for two years, but decided on a Valentine's ceremony two weeks ago.
"We couldn't afford a big wedding, but this is nice," said Amber Curinton, wearing a bird-cage veil and off-white dress.
Her aunt, a wedding planner, decorated a bouquet of peach roses with adornments, including a locket with a picture of Amber's late mother. And their children watched as the couple exchanged rings.
"It's a special day," she said. "We're a family."
Rhashonda and Dedrick Dean of Snellville have a wedding reception planned with family in New Jersey this weekend, but they wanted their anniversary date to have meaning.
"We wanted it to be significant and special," Rhashonda said.
Jody Brookshire convinced his bride Robin to move up their wedding from April, so she wore red to commemorate the day of love.
"It's romantic," Robin Brookshire said. "But I think he's doing it to get away with combining the days."
After the vows were made and rings exchanged, sealed with a kiss, Chief Magistrate Judge George Hutchinson asked for one more promise: "Take care of each other."
Those simple actions, he said, are the strongest form of commitment he has learned in his own 22 years of marriage.
For Jack and Jan Kinsler, of Duluth, those words took on new meaning two years ago when Jack had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.
They married 37 years ago under a traditional Jewish chuppah, and Jack remembers his bride trembling with fear, since they both had gone through divorce.
But on Tuesday, as they renewed their vows, the couple knew their commitment was strong.
"I wanted to have the opportunity to say once again, we are married and we are together, in sickness and in health," Jan Kinsler said.