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Couples celebrate Valentine's Day as newlyweds

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Today, many couples in the Southern Crescent will demonstrate their commitment to love, faith, and hope in each other by exchanging Valentine's Day gifts.

On Friday, some others exchanged wedding vows to commemorate the day known for love, and today, will spend their first, full day as newlyweds.

Seven couples were married in Henry County's Magistrate Court on Friday (the 13th), one of the busier days of the year for nuptials, according to retired Magistrate Court Judge Sandra Rogers.

In McDonough, Ashly Chatagnier and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Donald Newton are excited about starting a family. Married by Rogers, they plan to relocate within the next year to Sacramento, Calif., where Newton will be assigned for the next three years.

"I met her through one of the guys in my platoon, when I was in Iraq," says Newton. Newton and Chatagnier met in August 2008, following Newton's third deployment to Iraq in the last six years.

"We hope to be successful one day and have a family, with good kids," says Chatagnier.

Stockbridge residents, Rebecca Norton and Tony Carter, were also at the courthouse to wed. They, too, are optimistic about their future together. Both have been married before, Norton twice and Carter once.

They met two years ago, and say they have been smitten ever since. The two say they chose the wedding date for no particular reason.

"It was a good day for him to be home," Norton says of Carter, a truck driver.

Misty Morrison and Mike Durden, a couple from Jackson, Ga., however, were at the courthouse to say "I do" on Friday the 13th, because the day does hold special significance for them.

The pair, who have four children together, met 14 years ago on Halloween night. With the superstition that surrounds Friday the 13th, a day of good or bad luck, they decided to make the leap into legalizing their common-law marriage.

"We've always had bad luck, so we wanted to change that," Morrison says.

Jonesboro couple, Marcy House and Keith Barnett, say their wedding day holds significance as well.

House and Barnett met on "leap day," Feb. 29, 2008; they say they want to keep the tradition of interesting days going.

"We're excited, not nervous," Barnett says. "We hope for prosperity and happiness."