Ah! The impetuousness of true love! And Valentine's Day's a little over a week away, so how's about getting married on Cupid's day?
But if flying to Vegas and hunting down a wedding chapel is out of the question, what can Long Island lovers do?
Usually, a civil ceremony at your local town or city hall is a good bet if you want to wed quickly and avoid the fuss of a big, fat, catered affair. But Feb. 14 falls on a Sunday this year, and most municipal offices are closed on weekends.
What's more, one of Long Island's biggest boosters of Valentine's Day weddings, Huntington Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia, is out of the mix for the first time in about 15 years, as she recuperates from surgery that prevents her from standing for long periods.
True love can find a way.
WHERE TO GO
HEMPSTEAD: 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Feb. 14 at Hempstead Town Hall (1 Washington St.) or courthouse (350 Front St.), 516-812-3019, toh.li
Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla will perform Valentine's Day weddings this year in tandem with Town Supervisor Kate Murray at two venues, with help from radio station KJOY 98.3/FM and local vendors. "In the past, we've done well over a hundred in a day," Bonilla says of his and the supervisor's Valentine's Day weddings. So it's a popular idea, and he urges brides and grooms to make appointments as soon as possible.
On Valentine's Day, an archway of balloons will greet couples at the town's old courthouse, where Murray will be officiating, while Bonilla ties the knot for couples at the Town Hall wedding chapel.
After they're wed, couples will enjoy a reception, as local vendors provide flowers, cider, cake and chocolates. Appointments must be made in advance through the town clerk's office. Ceremonies generally last 15 or 20 minutes.
A spokesman says the town has never had to turn away a too-large wedding party but adds that couples rarely are accompanied by more than 20 people. For undercover lovers who want to get married without friends and family present, the town can provide a witness, Bonilla says.
SOUTHAMPTON: By appointment, Feb. 14, Town of Southampton, 631-287-5740, southamptontownny.gov
Fee: $75 (donated to the breast cancer unit at Southampton Hospital).
Southampton Town Hall won't be open on Valentine's Day - but if you have a venue for your ceremony and need someone to officiate, Southampton Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer can deliver your vows. Be sure to make an appointment in advance.
LONG BEACH: Long Beach (literally, on the beach), sunrise to sunset, 516-431-1002, longbeachny.org
Fee: Free in the off-season
While Long Beach City Hall is closed Valentine's Day, if you can find someone to officiate, and you're hardy enough to brave the weather and sea spray, you can have your last-minute wedding ceremony (but not the reception) on one of the city's beaches. There are tough restrictions - no alcohol is allowed, and guests can't throw rice, birdseed or confetti, for instance - but a Valentine's Day beach ceremony will cost you nothing.
ISLIP: By appointment, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, Islip Town Hall, 655 Main St., Islip, 631-224-5490, townofislip-ny.gov
Fee: No charge
While the Town of Islip is not hosting Valentine's Day weddings this year, it does perform nuptials in its decorated Marriage Room at Town Hall by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays. Karolyn Encarnacion-White, a town neighborhood aide and marriage officer, says both English and Spanish-language ceremonies are available. About 25 guests can be accommodated.
THINGS TO KNOW
While New York State doesn't mandate a blood test or physical to get married, it has other requirements, including two forms of ID and restrictions on who can perform ceremonies.
The license: The couple must apply together in person at a town or city clerk's office. The license, $40, is good for 60 days. Take note: You must wait at least 24 hours after getting the license to have your ceremony. (More info in the "Permits, Licenses & Certification" area at www.health.state.ny.us)
The officiant: "The Love Boat" aside, a ship's captain cannot marry couples here, although judges, clergy and some public officials can.
Witnesses: Although it's traditional to have two witnesses -- generally the maid of honor and the best man -- the law requires only one.