Couples usually don't wait for the second Wednesday in December to get hitched. But for Tammie Alexander and Roger Lockwood, the day had special significance.
Alexander, 44, and Lockwood, 51, of Luther, were among dozens of couples who married in Oklahoma and Cleveland counties on Dec. 12, 2012, or 12-12-12.
“That was his idea,” Alexander said outside the Courthouse Lab and Wedding Chapel in Oklahoma City, where proprietor and Baptist minister Jerry Freeland performed about 30 ceremonies or one every 15 minutes.
This chapel is part of a business that also does drug testing. It is adjacent to the courthouse.
“It was going to be 11-11-2011 but that didn't work out,” Lockwood joked.
Unlike some couples, Alexander and Lockwood didn't rush into marriage. They dated for 18 years.
“We wanted to mull it over,” said Alexander, flanked by her 24-year-old daughter and 90-year-old grandfather.
“He could never say the word marriage for the first 10 years.”
Between Monday and Wednesday, approximately 81 couples filed for marriage licenses in Oklahoma County, about half the usual number, according to the court clerk's office.
By comparison, 80 couples filed for marriage licenses on July 7, 2007, and 200 more filed for licenses in the preceding two days.
“It was kind of a joke, and now he has no reason to forget our anniversary,” said Briana Shirley, 22, who married Levi Jones, 21, on Wednesday.
The Oklahoma City couple are expecting twin girls.
“I wanted this to be our best day,” Jones said.
Setting a record
After a 10-year courtship, Alicia Williams and Jeffrey Hamilton of Norman finally decided Wednesday was the perfect day for a wedding.
“Actually, my daughter decided it on Tuesday when she noticed the date,” Williams said. “She said, ‘Mom, tomorrow will be a lucky day. You need to get married.'”
Alexus, 11, and Hamilton's son, Jay Jay, 7, accompanied the couple to the Cleveland County Courthouse, where they watched Special Judge Jequita Napoli perform the ceremony along with 28 other couples who tied the knot before Napoli.
“It's about time is all I can say,” said Alicia's mother, Sharon Williams. “They've been together 10 years and talking about getting married for five years. It's time to do it.”
Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley performed nuptials for six other couples in her courtroom, bringing the total to a record 34 marriages taking place in a single day.
“I won't ever forget our anniversary this way,” said Matthew Blackmon, of Oklahoma City, who wed his sweetheart, Makenzie Rene Thomas, of Arcadia.
Blackmon, an Army private, said the couple also chose the date because he was on leave and had until Friday to check in at his new base at Fort Bliss, Texas, where the couple will reside.
“And it's a lucky day. We actually picked the date four months ago,” he said.
Cleveland County Deputy Court Clerk Nancy Schlehuber said the office issued 29 marriage licenses Wednesday, also a record.
“It's the most licenses we've ever issued in a day's time, and the most marriages performed,” Schlehuber said. “It's been a little crazy. They were lined up down the hall and out the door for a while.”
Looking for luck
While the couples getting married considered it a lucky day for love, some other couples had a different idea.
Divorce attorney Jana Ford said she was filing a number of divorces for her clients, specifically because they wanted 12-12-12 file-stamped on their divorce papers.
“They were unlucky in love, so they want to be lucky in divorce,” Ford said.