After 9 years together, with her dressed in a white wedding dress and him in a tuxedo, Erika and Carlos Torres tied the knot on Valentine’s Day last week at the county Precinct 3 courtroom.
“We’ve been best friends since middle school and started dating in high school,” Ericka explained. “We were supposed to get married two years ago but we couldn’t get the marriage license in time and now, two years later to the day, it’s finally happening.”
Ericka and Carlos were among the dozens of couples who were married by Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Place 2 Justice of the Peace Juan” J.J.” Pena after he waived wedding fees for Valentine’s Day.
This is the second year he has done this, Pena said.
“It’s a way of giving back and I hope it continues to grow every year,” Pena said. “It’s a day to celebrate love and friendship on a special day and a way to remember.”
According to Pena, wedding fees cost as much as $200. Ericka, 22, and Carlos, 22, said the money saved on wedding fees will go toward a mini honeymoon celebration at south Padre Island during the weekend, followed by a wedding ceremony in san Juan that was set for Friday evening.
“The nerve wrecking part is over and we’re now married; it’s crazy,” Carlos said. “I’m honored. I’m part of her life and I’m so happy.”
Pena married 33 couples by the end of the day, he said.
“It feels good uniting them, one of the more joyful and rewarding parts of holding this office,” Pena said of the weddings. “We’ve seen people who have been together a long time and families meeting for the first time as in-laws as they support their children getting married, every story we’ll see today is different and special in its own way.”
Other couples who got married that day included Uriel Medina, 28, and Jennifer Medina, 26. The couple from Edinburg met last year and got married surrounded by friends and family and are already starting a family as Jennifer is 18 weeks pregnant, Uriel said
“I’ve wanted to marry her since I first saw her, I just knew I would love her forever,” Uriel said. “And we have a baby on the way so it’s even better.”
This story was originally published in the Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 edition of the Progress Times.