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Deputy commissioner of marriage Hilda Barraza holds up the marriage license of Andrea and Colvin Martin as she announces them husband and wife following their marriage at the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Ten couples took the “leap” of marriage on leap year day at the church. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Deputy commissioner of marriage Hilda Barraza holds up the marriage license of Andrea and Colvin Martin as she announces them husband and wife following their marriage at the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Ten couples took the “leap” of marriage on leap year day at the church. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
Madison Hart
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Two weeks after Valentine’s Day, love was still in the air Thursday, Feb. 29, as 10 couples in downtown Riverside took the big leap at Thee Olde Chapel.

Andrea Vasquez and Colbin Martin, both in their early 30s, were unfazed by a gray sky as they walked down the aisle Thursday morning in front of a crowd of two dozen family members and close friends.

“We didn’t know it was leap day,” Vasquez said after the ceremony. “I was telling everybody this was the day we were getting married, and everyone kept saying, ‘You know that day doesn’t exist, right?’ “

But leap day weddings are “picking up” in popularity, according to Lisa Anderson, assistant assessor clerk recorder. Leap day 2020 was a bust due to COVID-19, she said, but every four years, ceremonies on Feb. 29 are “almost as popular as Valentine’s ceremonies.”

The novelty of the date will be a good conversation starter, Vasquez said. She and Martin have been together nearly eight years, but she said he’s always been in her life, since he is best friends with her brother-in-law.

Vasquez walked down the aisle carrying an urn with the ashes of her deceased father but she exited the ceremony with her 11-month-old son cradled in her arms and her nearly 3-year-old son running around by her side.

  • Bride-to-be Alejandra Cordero, 27, from Fontana, walks towards the entrance...

    Bride-to-be Alejandra Cordero, 27, from Fontana, walks towards the entrance of the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside prior to getting married on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Ten couples took the “leap” of marriage on leap year day at the church. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Ciro Miranda, right, hands his fiance Alejandra Cordero, center, their...

    Ciro Miranda, right, hands his fiance Alejandra Cordero, center, their wedding rings as he looks for paperwork for assistant Ana Garcia, left, prior to getting married at the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Ten couples took the “leap” of marriage on leap year day at the church. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Andrea and Colvin Martin walk back up the aisle after...

    Andrea and Colvin Martin walk back up the aisle after getting married at the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Ten couples took the “leap” of marriage on leap year day at the church. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Deputy commissioner of marriage Hilda Barraza holds up the marriage...

    Deputy commissioner of marriage Hilda Barraza holds up the marriage license of Andrea and Colvin Martin as she announces them husband and wife following their marriage at the Thee Olde Chapel in Riverside on Leap Day Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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Civil marriage ceremonies are offered by the at all six Riverside County locations, including: downtown Riverside, Riverside Gateway, Temecula, Palm Desert, Hemet and Blythe.

Ceremonies are $85 at those locations, and $120 at Thee Olde Chapel, the church built in 1927 at 3478 14th St.

Nearly a half-hour after Vazquez and Martin exchanged their vows, another couple was ready to tie the knot.

Alejandra Cordero, 27, and Ciro Miranda, 29, chose to get married on leap day because they met on Tinder during a leap year.

“We wanted something unique for our wedding,” Miranda said after the ceremony. “The 29th, leap year — not everybody gets to say they got married on leap day, so that was pretty awesome.”

They said they have also been together nearly eight years. They’re planning to celebrate their dating anniversary in October every year, but every four years, on each leap day, they want to do a more substantial celebration.

“Maybe a big trip or something!” Cordero said.

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