THE LOOP — The First Municipal District Marriage and Civil Union Court in the basement of City Hall was twice as packed as usual Tuesday as couples lined up to secure a coveted anniversary date — 11/12/13.
Jerrod Kitt, 30, took the morning off work at the Board of Trade to meet his fiancee of two weeks, Diana Wong, 28, at 119 W. Randolph St. so they could get her dream wedding date.
"In Chinese culture it's actually an auspicious day, so it's our lucky day," Wong said. "And the numbers are kind of cool."
"It comes once in a century," said Kitt, whose parents drove in from Carroll, Ia. for the day to be witnesses in the ceremony. Wong wore a red dress for the occasion, also a sign of luck in her culture.
Joan Helie, a City Hall marriage court clerk, said 37 couples got married Tuesday morning.
"That's probably more than twice what we would normally have on a morning," she said.
Raluca Motoi woke up at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday to get her hair and makeup done for her trip to the courthouse with friends and her fiance Raul Balazs.
Motoi and Balasz's friends Dinar and Lucian Bogdan, who were married three years ago on 10/10/10, joked that they think they gave the couple the idea.
Raluca "said she liked that we had a special date," said Dinar Bogdan, who snapped photos with her iPhone of Motoi and Balasz getting ready before their names were called.
The Avondale couple met in their native Romania and have planned a big wedding for next year, but Motoi wanted her certificate to have the memorable sequential date.
"It will help me remember" their anniversary, Balasz joked. He wasn't the only future husband who hinted that the memorable date might come in handy.
Paul Ratzky joked, too, that he'll "always remember it," which he said could help him stay out of trouble when he returns to Minneapolis with his new wife, Jane. They also picked the date for more sentimental reasons.
"Our first date was May 6, 2007, 05/06/07, so we decided to get married on 11/12/13. We thought it was kind of romantic," Jane Ratzky said.
At least one couple was surprised by the flurry of activity at the City Hall courthouse. Heather DeWall and her fiance Aaron Reed came into the city from Schaumburg to get their marriage certificate, so that Reed's mom, who lives in Chicago, could be their witness.
This weekend they leave for two weeks in the Dominican Republic, which includes their destination wedding on Nov. 20.
"When it snowed yesterday, I was like, I am out of here," DeWall, 29, said.
The Marriage and Civil Union Court at City Hall downtown will be continue performing marriage and civil union ceremonies from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
But even if things get backed up, couples who arrive by 4 p.m. will be able to get married, Helie said.
"We take everybody that's here by that time," she said.