MUCH LOVE IN THE HALL OF RECORDS
Couples wed with clerk-recorder performing ceremony
When Christopher Hest met Louie Abid for the first time in a cafe 14 years ago, they knew there was something special between them.
“We were at the same coffee shop on the same day on Valentine’s Day in San Francisco,” Hest said. “I was standing in line to order from the counter and Louie was sitting at a table waiting to say hello to some guy who just happened to be me. We exchanged numbers and haven’t looked back.”
The couple has since traveled the world, making many friends along the way, and considered countless possibilities for a wedding ceremony before ultimately choosing elope at the Candace J. Grubbs Hall of Records on Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of when they first met.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to get married with all the various circles of friends (we) have literally all over the world,” Hest said. “And we just gave up and thought we’re going to elope and bring a couple of dear friends without their knowledge. We decided we would ask for forgiveness from all the friends who couldn’t be here today.”
Hest said the goal now will be to once again travel the world and celebrate with different groups of friends as they go. Victoria Steinberg and Amanda Zunich were the two friends brought along as witnesses for the ceremony. Steinberg said Hest and Abid invited them out for brunch before driving them to the hall of records and surprising them with a wedding ceremony.
The two read their vows to one another during the ceremony, which was officiated by Butte County ClerkRecorder Keaton Denlay, as eyes around the room began to twinkle with mist as the couple voiced their admiration for each other and exchanged rings. Just before the ceremony, Denlay joked
that if anyone began crying he would likely join them.
While the couple might be newlyweds now, they’ve been together for more than a decade.
So what’s the secret is to a happy relationship? Both Abid and Hest agreed that deep understanding of each other and kindness are key.
“Just being understanding and being kind,” Abid said.
“Be as generous as you can be,” Hest added. “We’re all flawed human beings and the more we can be gentle with the failings of each of us, the better outcome.”
After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their witnesses headed to Chico for sushi to celebrate.
The wedding was one of many held at the hall of records on Tuesday as part of the county’s annual Valentine’s Day special. This was the first year the event was held with Denlay at the helm since he was elected the clerk-recorder after the retirement of Candace Grubbs. The event began in 2016 but took a break in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the ceremony, engaged couples are able to buy wedding bands and are provided with a certified copy of their wedding certificate and a rose.