When Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart came into office, he studied the thousands of documents his office issues and discovered a marriage license certificate in need of a new design. He says the document that commemorates the union of a couple should be one that signifies the beginning of their lives together.
"There's a number of people who are looking to get married on Valentine's Day. Matrimony is a very significant tradition, a long term tradition in our country and across the globe. But a document that is gonna be something that you want to keep for your whole marriage, we want something that actually hallmarks that memory. Something that you can keep, and something you can be proud of that makes you reflect upon your marriage and memories."
Those already married can obtain a redesigned document that certifies an existing marriage. Stanart presented one to Gayle, his wife of nine years.
"I did not know he was doing this, so this is a surprise to me. And when you compare it to what we had, this is much more frame worthy, and I can't wait to get home and find a special place to put it."
Yolanda Contreras is the administrator of records for the Harris County Clerks Office. She says she glad the new certificate contains a copy of a painting that hangs in the office.
"It is a very beautiful painting, and it has the bride leaning over, signing a document, which I would assume is a marriage license register. And I have seen couples actually come and get their license, and very nicely dressed, and actually stand in front of this picture and take a picture of themselves. It kind of makes their day a little special."
Couples like Jonathan and Jennifer, waiting to obtain a marriage certificate, were happy with the new and improved design.
Jonatha: "I think it's a great reminder that I'm actually married now, huh?"
Jennifer: "Like he knows how it looked liked before."
Jonathan: "Yeah, cause like I didn't know."
The marriage season in Harris County begins in February and runs through July. Over half of all marriage license applications are processed during that period.