Supervisor Shirlee Zane presides over Valentine's Day weddings

  • Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane conducts a marriage between Dylan Davidson Ortiz and Gisela Ortiz, (their married names), Thursday Feb. 14, 2013 at the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessors office in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Shannon Haralson and John Steele tied the knot with a twist, starting married life in a Valentine's Day ceremony officiated for the first time by a sitting Sonoma County supervisor.

The wedding, one of 29 held Thursday on the grounds of the county administrative campus in Santa Rosa, followed established tradition.

Shirlee Zane, the elected county official, led the Santa Rosa couple through their vows to a formal pronouncement, which they sealed with a kiss.

Valentine's Day Weddings In Santa Rosa


Then Zane let out a sigh and made a confession to the bride and groom.

"You were my first couple," she said. "I thought I wouldn't tell you that until I was done."

Haralson and Steele had met Zane only moments earlier. They hadn't known she was acting under new authority given to county supervisors this year by the state, which under a revised law added them to the list of religious leaders and legal and elected officials who can marry people.

"You did a great job," said Steele, 44. "Thank you so much for doing this for us."

Balloons, bouquets and the billowing folds of bridal gowns set the weddings apart from all other business on the county government campus Thursday.

The clerk's office handles such duties year-round, but Valentine's Day almost always brings a star-crossed crowd, requiring some reinforcements.

Zane, decked out in a red dress, performed four weddings. Her presence provoked little notice, with the newlyweds, their relatives and friends providing the main draw. They gathered for ceremonies in several decorated rooms, or in a sun-bathed courtyard outside.

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