Court Nuptials Capped by 'Halloween' Weddings
By Csaba Sukosd | November 1, 2021
The Akron Civic Theatre is central to the city - in location and entertainment. On the inside, what people see and experience is unforgettable.
Since 2017, the theater has allowed Akron Municipal Court to use the ornate and colorful venue annually for weddings around Halloween.
"It kind of feels surreal. It doesn't feel like it's really set in yet," said Victoria Jamison, who married her longtime partner, James, as part of the holiday observance.
They were among 15 couples who said "I do" before Akron Municipal Judge Ron Cable in a Halloween setting.
Some couples wore traditional wedding attire, such as tuxedos and bridal dresses.
Others embraced a Halloween theme.
"It's been a tough year for us," said Monica Mathis, who married her longtime partner, Keith Woodley.
Woodley has been struggling with his health since January after he contracted COVID-19. After multiple hospitalizations, he's still rehabilitating from the infection, which includes being limited to the use of a wheelchair.
"We knew that if he survived COVID, that we weren't going to wait any longer," said Mathis. "Today, was a victory for us."
When Akron residents Derek Coontz and Brittni Wagner heard about the court's event, which encouraged couples to wear costumes in its news release and on social media, they knew it was the perfect opportunity for them, even though they had only been engaged for a month.
"It's a little untraditional, and that's the kind of people we are," Coontz said.
His idea to dress up as a haunting figure is the product of their relationship. Coontz, a huge fan of the "Halloween" series of movies, convinced Wagner to watch them with him early in their relationship. It ultimately became something that bonded their family, which includes Wagner's 4-year-old son.
While the visuals of those vows may be "haunting" to some, it brought smiles to the wedding party, Judge Cable, and his staff.
"I get a real kick out of it. I'm all about giving people what they want, and they did a beautiful job with each other," Judge Cable said.