Nancy Monahan, 57, a retired petty office with the Coast Guard, waited outside before the weddings began with her partner of 14 years, Deb Needham, 48.
Monahan was wearing her uniform, and Needham was wearing an ivory dress and jacket and matching hat. They said they wanted to join the large wedding event at city hall because of the significance of the day.
“It’s not very private, but very historic,” Needham said, to which Monahan added, “And very awesome.”
Some courthouses, including in King and Thurston Counties, opened right at midnight, and started marrying couples. Private weddings are expected to take place across the state, as well as some other public events, including the marriage of two couples after the end of the first act of a Seattle Men’s Chorus performance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
The Paramount Theater in Seattle was also to host a large wedding reception for couples.
Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples picked up their marriage licenses as early as 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but because of the state’s three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could take place was just after midnight, early Sunday morning. In King County, home to Seattle, more than 600 same-sex marriage licenses were issued by Saturday.
Robin Wyss, of Seattle, said that the wedding ceremony to her partner, Danielle Yung, was “more emotional than I thought it would be,” in part because Yung is five months pregnant.
“Our friends are here, it’s a beautiful space and there’s all of this love and appreciation,” she said. “We’ve been thinking about this as more of a political celebration for all of Washington state, but obviously it’s very meaningful for us and our future child as well.”
At the Thurston County Courthouse just after midnight, five couples were married, including Jonathon Bashford, 31, and Matthew Wiltse, 29, both of Olympia.