Tying the Knot
For Jacob Riffe and Kathrine Richards of Owatonna, they wanted a hassle-free wedding that spared them the cost of an expensive day.
They found just exactly that last week as they left worked early one afternoon and sought out county recorder Rick Kvien, who married them in less than five minutes.
Even though the couple has been engaged for two years, nobody had a clue what was about to happen in the foyer of the Steele County Administration Center in Owatonna. Dressed in a black robe with two witnesses at his side, Kvien conducted the service as Riffe and Richards exchanged marriage vows.
“Nobody knew,” said Riffe about the wedding. Added his new wife, “It’s a true elopement.”
In fact, the couple didn’t know until the day before that they were going to tie the knot so quickly. They were chatting about Halloween when one of them joked about being a bride and groom. The next afternoon they found themselves standing in front of Kvien in their blue jeans getting married.
“We’ve never done things the way we should,” Kathrine said. They have a son, Garrett, who is 2 years old.
Riffe proposed to his bride-to-be by a water fall near Taylors Falls while on a family vacation in August 2016. “It was the spur of the moment,” he said. “I had a ring in my truck for a year. I was holding onto it.”
After Kvien pronounced them husband and wife, Riffe said, “I like it. Short to the point. I don’t like stuff that gets drug out.”
Kvien has found it “incredible” at the number of people who are choosing to do something simpler instead of opting for a formal wedding. The recorder’s office has married 13 couples from Minnesota and North Dakota since it began offering marriage services in June. The cost is $50 for a ceremony plus the marriage license fees.
He has found in most cases it’s not even a situation that couples can’t afford a wedding. “They just prefer to do a simple marriage,” Kvien said. “They don’t want to spend $20,000 to $30,000 for a wedding.”
The recorder’s office isn’t totally unfamiliar for couples as it is the place where marriage licenses are issued. “Generally people plan ahead, but we have had people that show up to get a marriage license and ask us to do a ceremony at that time,” Kvien said.
The only requirements to be married are having a marriage license and be statutorily eligible to be married, according to Kvien.
“It’s a great service that the county board and county administration allow us to do,” Kvien said, noting there are very few recorder offices in the state offering this service. He added people had always asked in the past about the recorder’s office doing marriages.
Kvien was required to go through an on-line ordination process to be eligible to perform weddings. “It was very easy to do,” he said.
While the Riffes came by themselves to be married, others have shown up with as many as 40 people, Kvien said. He generally utilizes the county board room for the ceremonies.
Both are 2006 graduates—he graduated from Owatonna and she from NRHEG. They met while working at the Owatonna Gun Club 15 years ago.
The Riffes plan to remain living in Owatonna where he works at Grounds Master and she at Farm Service Agency in Dodge Center.
As they left the courthouse as a married couple Thursday, they said the evening would likely consist of going out and having a couple of drinks. And they also planned to call their parents to tell them about the exciting news.
Asked what their parents would say about them tying the knot, Riffe responded, “About damn time.”