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Dawson County Courthouse offers couples a free Valentine’s gift

POSTED: February 13, 2009 11:57 p.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Tim and Cathy Satterfield hug after renewing their wedding vows with Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa Thurmond Friday morning in the historic Dawson County Courthouse. In honor of Valentine's Day, the judge performed individual wedding and vow renewal ceremonies for free.

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DAWSONVILLE — The Dawson County Courthouse took a break from its everyday grind to offer free wedding and vow renewal ceremonies Friday in honor of Valentine’s Day.

An archway decorated with white lace and red roses gave the all-wood historic courthouse a romantic feel for the occasion. Homemade cakes and punch were offered after the ceremonies.

Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa Thurmond came up with the idea as a way to offer something special to residents.
“As with most magistrate courts, we handle a lot of difficult things so its very nice to do something like this and give back to the community that’s positive. It’s a good thing for the court,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond said that aside from showing a positive side of the court, she saw the need for free marriage or vow renewals.

“All you have to do is turn on the television or open a newspaper and you see some very difficult times in the economy, and in all of our counties things are being cut back,” she said. “It’s good to offer, It’s something good people can focus on during these difficult times.”

The beauty of the old courthouse was something extra appealing to Thurmond.

“You can’t beat it. You can come to the historic courthouse, one of the oldest working courthouses in the state of Georgia,” Thurmond said. “It’s very nice to be able to offer this in this historic courthouse and it’s free.

Everything’s decorated, there’s cake if you want to have a reception, so it’s a nice thing to offer to the community.”

Tim and Cathy Satterfield renewed their vows at the courthouse Friday.

Tim Satterfield, deputy chief of Dawson County’s emergency services, said he wanted Thurmond to preside over renewal of his vows.

“When I found out about it I told Cathy that especially since Lisa (Thurmond) married our son in September, I’d see if she’d marry us again, too” Satterfield said. “Since we’re part of the community and I work in the community, I thought it’d be kind of neat.”

Cathy Satterfield said she was excited about renewing her vows, but was initially wary of the date.

“I asked him did he still want to do it because it’s going to be Friday the 13th, and we’re married 27 years and you want to remarry me on Friday the 13th?” she said. “So he’s not superstitious at all.”

Tim Satterfield said though 13 might be an unlucky number for some, it was a good day to renew his vows.

“That’s our lucky number though,” he said. “Our birthdays are the 13th, my son always wore 13 on his jersey when he played baseball and basketball.”



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