Dozens of couples celebrate Valentine's Day with free weddings in Hennepin County

This Valentine's Day, love is in the air in Hennepin County. 

Dozens of couples got married at the Hennepin County Government Center on Thursday, for free.

The couples each have unique stories and reasons for a Valentine's Day wedding, but in the end, it all comes down to love. 

Nicole and Patricio Auquilla Maggio were one of the 36 couples married near the center fountain. 

“It was a god-ordained thing. When you meet the one who you've been waiting for your whole life, you don't need time. Our real wedding is on March 30 with all of our friends and family, but we wanted to have a day just for us,” Nicole Auquilla Maggio said. 

With hugs and smooches shared across the lobby, people watched from their office windows as a dozen robed judges traded their judgements for tenderness. 

“I love doing it and I love seeing the emotion during the ceremonies, and it's a happy occasion that I'm truly honored to be a part of,” said Hennepin County Judge Shereen Askalani. 

Couples ranged from the traditional to the eclectic. 

Bride Kari Sky wore red instead of white. 

“I went on the website, the website said free Valentine’s Day weddings and I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than free stuff,” Sky said. 

Sky and her new husband chose close friends as their witnesses. 

“Very easy and time saving. Of course, I miss my family and friends that aren't here, but man there is nothing better than being able to just get it in, get it out, and not have to worry about getting back RSVPs,” Sky said. 

After a kiss and plenty of photos, the brides and grooms threw golden coins into the fountain. 

Hennepin County has put on this tradition for seven years, hosting more than 200 free Valentine's Day weddings in that time.