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Pat Frank, Ken Burke to perform Valentine’s Day weddings

Offers a feel good moment in an office where the work can be tough.

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank is set to perform Valentine’s Day weddings yet again on Friday morning at the county courthouse.

Frank has performed the tradition for 16 years.

“I always ask the people how they met each other,” Frank said. “I remember one couple. Each of them was from Cuba, and their families knew each other but they didn’t know each other.”

“They met in the [United] States and realized that they had common interests. It was just amazing.”

While deputy clerks will perform weddings throughout the day, Frank plans to perform four ceremonies from 10 a.m. to noon Friday.

When asked why she chose Valentine’s Day specifically, Frank said, “Well, I figured no one would forget their anniversary.”

“It’s the one thing that’s happy that we do at the courthouse, which I take great pride in because we’re handling criminal cases and civil cases where people are arguing domestic violence, Baker Act cases, it’s all very down-sided.

“Adoption and weddings are the happy things that we do.”

Frank said she hopes the tradition continues with whoever becomes Clerk of the Court after her.

“I hope that my successor will continue it because we do it so that the families and friends can gather around them in a small gathering and it’s more personalized,” Frank said. “We have a conversation about the two of them, which everybody enjoys listening to.”

Frank said they take pictures. She also provides the brides with a rose and cookies for everyone else, which Frank said she pays for.

“That’s not taxpayer dollars,” Frank said. “I pay for that every year.”

Across Tampa Bay, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke will officiate the 14th annual Valentine’s Day wedding ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday in the wedding garden of the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

While it is open to the public, the event reached full capacity with 60 couples registered to exchange vows during the ceremony.

“We are thrilled to see that such a large number of couples registered early for our wedding event and look forward to making the big day extra special for them,” Burke said in a Jan. 29 news release. “Couples interested in exchanging vows in a more intimate setting, on Valentine’s Day or any other day, can do so by visiting our Downtown Clearwater, St. Petersburg Branch or North County Branch office locations.”

After the Largo ceremony, the couples and their guests will celebrate with wedding cake and refreshments provided by local sponsors.

Written By

Mark Bergin is a freelance journalist, who previously worked as an online writer for 10News WTSP in St. Petersburg. Bergin has covered the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium negotiations, the 2018 midterm elections, Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay’s transportation issues and city/county government. He also covers the NFL for the Bleav Podcast Network and for BrownsNation.com. You can follow his work on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @mdbergin. Reach him by email at markdbergin@gmail.com.

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