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Municipal Weddings Decline in Kent

Mayor performs fewer ceremonies than in past

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala is marrying fewer couples these days.

As mayor of Kent, Fiala can legally perform wedding ceremonies to marry area residents.

But fewer people are going to Kent city hall to get hitched.

Fiala said he's performed seven weddings so far this year — down from 14 in 2011.

"In one year I think my record was 36," Fiala, who previously served as mayor in 1997, said. "But at that time I traveled all over Portage County."

The Kent mayor's office has seen some big-name weddings. In 2002, former mayor John Fender presided over the wedding of Cleveland Browns star Josh Cribbs.

But the phone just isn't ringing anymore.

Kent City Council clerk Linda Jordan said around 2001 Fender opted to limit the mayor's office availability for weddings to only on Friday mornings.

"Fender was inundated because few other mayors would do it," she said.

That change in availability may be one reason for the decline.

"It could be that," Fiala said. "It’s a lot easier to go to one of the judges. In Ravenna you’ve got a courthouse full of them and we’ve got one down in municipal court two blocks from city hall.

"I don’t know whether weddings, being married are on a decline," he said. "I can’t really put a finger on it."

Legally, Fiala cannot accept payment for presiding over a marriage ceremony. So he's still the cheapest game in town. And he plans to maintain the Friday hours between 9 and 11 a.m. to offer the service.

"The door’s open, and if we can get together on the date and the schedule we’ll certainly do it for them," he said.

The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! December 25, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I was married by the mayor many moons ago. Lavish, over the top weddings are not for us.

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