Quick and painless: A trip to City Hall could be the ticket!

Your parents have their hearts set on a traditional Catholic wedding back home in Rhode Island. His folks are hoping you'll come on down to Baton Rouge for a Baptist revival. What to do, what to do?

There's always "City Hall"­ and everyone will just have to get over it.

But is it that simple?

In Charlottesville and Albemarle, there's not one official Justice of the Peace whose sole job is to perform civil ceremonies. Instead, there are many Justices: judges, magistrates– even the Sheriff and her deputies can perform such ceremonies. And ceremonies aren't actually performed inside City Hall– they're done in the Justices' very own offices, or at the location of your choosing

If you decide to forgo having a religious officiant, here are the nuts and bolts:

1) Register at either the City Clerk's office, downstairs in the Circuit Court at 315 E. High Street, or at the County Clerk's office at 501 E. Jefferson St. on the second floor of the County Courthouse.

2) The license costs $30, and must be acted upon within 60 days. There's no blood test or waiting period, and you need only a picture I.D. and a driver's license. You'll sign papers swearing that you are neither already married nor closely related to your intended. Ceremonies are performed from 8:30am to 4pm.

3) If you plan to get married that day, make an appointment ahead of time with a Justice of the Peace by calling 972-4083 for the County Clerk or 295-3182 for the City clerk. No matter where you reside, you can register at either location.

4) Justices generally charge $30 to perform a standard ceremony, but Sheriff Cornelia Johnson, who has performed many, says out-of-office officiating can cost up to $200, depending on the location and number of guests. She says she's done weddings in her office, at nearly every local country club, and even as far afield as Luray.

Just think: for $60– and in a half-hour or less– you could propose and say "I do." Just make sure you think it through...

When she's not enforcing the law,
Sheriff Cornelia Johnson, as a justice of the peace, helps couples tie the knot.