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11 couples say ‘I do’ — for free — at Tacoma church

Jacquelyn and Decota Law of Tacoma stand before about 60 attendees at their wedding Saturday during the annual “Marry Me” weekend at Life Center in Tacoma. Lay minister Jim Ledlow is in the background. The couple divorced in 1993 after four years of marriage but remained close and decided to remarry. The church held 11 weddings over the weekend, providing officiating, receptions, cake, flowers, photos and music — all for free.
Jacquelyn and Decota Law of Tacoma stand before about 60 attendees at their wedding Saturday during the annual “Marry Me” weekend at Life Center in Tacoma. Lay minister Jim Ledlow is in the background. The couple divorced in 1993 after four years of marriage but remained close and decided to remarry. The church held 11 weddings over the weekend, providing officiating, receptions, cake, flowers, photos and music — all for free. Staff photographer

Jacquelyn Law waved to a cheering crowd Saturday at the end of her wedding, the last of 11 free weddings provided by Life Center in Tacoma in less than 24 hours.

Law had plenty to celebrate. Twenty-one years after their divorce, she and Decota Law were once again married.

“It was the wedding of my dreams,” said Jacquelyn Law. “We knew it was God’s will for our lives.”

Life Center provided free weddings for the fifth consecutive year for its “Marry Me” weekend as a show of support for marriage. Besides the 11 couples who walked down the aisle in matrimony, two couples renewed their vows.

The church provided flowers, live music, wedding cake, photos and a reception — all at no charge. They were all donated, saving couples thousands of dollars each.

Jacquelyn Law said she couldn’t afford the ceremony.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It was a blessing to me.”

Jacquelyn, 57, and Decota, 54, live in Tacoma and attend Life Center.

One of the Laws’ two daughters, Deacostia Law, 22, was maid of honor.

Lay minister Jim Ledlow officiated at the 15-minute ceremony.

“We stand as witnesses to something wonderful here,” he told a throng of 60 people in the church’s chapel.

Worship pastor Kenton Lee, who provided the music, sang a solo of “Unforgettable,” made famous by Nat King Cole.

The couple married the first time on Dec. 31, 1989, in Vancouver, Washington, and divorced four years later.

Decota said he and Jacquelyn kept in contact through raising their children. He said they remarried because “we’ve always been together.”

Jacquelyn she and Decota remarried “because we love each other.”

They exchanged the same rings from their first wedding.

“God made a way for us to get back together,” Jacquelyn said. “We remained friends all that time.”

They and the other couples were required to complete four hours of “premarital coaching” prior to their weddings.

Three couples said their “I do’s” Friday night and eight more on Saturday in the chapel.

The Rev. Dean Curry, Life Center’s lead pastor, said the church provides the weddings as a “celebration of marriage” for families that can’t afford a wedding ceremony.

“We really want to celebrate what we’re for,” said Curry, who officiated at many of the free weddings.

This year, for the first time in five years of offering the free weddings, Curry said, a same-sex couple asked to be married.

“I declined because of my religious convictions,” Curry said. He said the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.

The two women who wanted to marry attend Life Center. “They understood,” Curry said. “They know I love them.”

Washington residents voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012.

The celebrations over the weekend at Life Center, an Assemblies of God congregation, were a milestone in each couple’s journey.

One of the couples that renewed their vows had eloped. The bride’s father traveled from Korea to watch her renew her vows, Curry said.

For Jacquelyn Law’s wedding, Reginald Taylor, of Richmond, Virginia, walked his niece down the aisle.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen something like this,” he said after the last of 11 weddings.

Taylor was surprised to learn afterward that everything provided was free.

“That’s unheard of,” he said.

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