The City Council Chambers at Alameda City Hall took a turn at playing Cupid on Thursday when the room was transformed into a chapel for two weddings on Valentine's Day.
Two couples chose the special day to take advantage of the wedding packages that have been offered through the City Clerk's office since September of 2011.
All the packages include admininistration of vows by a city official who has been deputized as a marriage commissioner and a marriage certificate. Extra amenities are available according to price.
A couple who married at 9:30 a.m. chose the middle-range "Bliss" package (for $240), which offers an hour in the chambers and a staff assistant for an hour, as well as decorations of the chambers to accommodate up to 100 guests.
Another couple held their ceremony at 2:30 p.m. under the "Signed, Sealed & Expedited" package ($120), which offers a half hour in the decorated chamber loft for up to two guests.
City Hall had offered unadorned civil wedding ceremonies for years, but three alternative packages were developed at the urging of City Clerk Lara Weisiger.
"We tried to beef up the services some and have a better feel of a wedding," she said. "We try to make it special."
The result has been a marked increase in City Hall nuptials. Before the packages, only a couple of weddings took place each year, possibly up to 10 on a good year, Weisinger said.
The packages began in September 2011, and in that fiscal year ending on June 30, 2012, 55 marriages were recorded at City Hall. In current fiscal year, Weisinger said she expects about 50 marriages will have been performed when it ends on June 30 of this year.
Two particular days saw a boom business in ceremonies – 11/11/11 and 12/12/12. On the latter date, 11 weddings took place at City Hall, she said.
The most popular package is "Bliss," she said.
The ceremonies are performed by city officials who've been deputized as marriage commissioners, including Weisinger and some other employees in her office, as well as the mayor and city council members.