Every event leading up to the recent wedding ceremony for Malakai Unga Jr. and Alisi Unga was a family affair.
The same was true for the couple’s visit the Multnomah Building to file for their marriage license. Aunts, uncles and cousins surrounded the couple, who donned traditional Tongan wedding outfits, as family members took turns posing with the couple for photos and documenting their application process.
The couple is one of the thousands who come to the county each year to apply for a license for a marriage license or domestic partnership. While many people may know the county’s Division of Assessment, Recording and Taxation collects property taxes, issues passports and is a source of more than 150 years of recorded documents and public records, the office is also in the business of love.
In 2012, more than 6,600 couples came to the county for marriage licenses and 320 couples filed for domestic partnerships. Couples, who often walk out of the D.A.R.T. office cradling manila envelopes with their documents, are often greeted by county employees wishing them well.
The same happened on a recent afternoon when county employees congratulated the Ungas who filed for a marriage license before their Nov. 2 wedding. Though the couple has known each other since high school and attend the same church, they didn’t start dating untll one year ago.
“We were just really good friends and talked on the phone all the time,” said Alisi Unga, a nutrition specialist. “He treats me good. That’s why I love him.”
Like the Ungas, there are many stories behind the couples who come to the county for that special piece of paper. Watch “Vows at Multnomah County” to learn their stories.