By Mac McLean • The Bulletin

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This story is about three of the 21 couples who got married on Valentine’s Day in Deschutes County over the past three years. Do you and your sweetheart have anything planned for this special occasion? Leave your story in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Valentine’s Day has always been a special time for Jessie and Mandy Pilcher.

“He asked me out on Valentine’s day when we were 15 years old,” Mandy Pilcher, 32, said as she talked about when she and her now husband — whom she’s dated on and off since that fateful day — first got together. “We’ve been together for a pretty long time.”

So it’s no surprise that when the couple finally decided to tie the knot last year, they picked Feb. 14 as the day they’d visit the Deschutes County Clerk’s Office, certify their marriage license and legally become husband and wife. The couple held their actual wedding ceremony in the U.S. Virgin Islands March 1, Mandy Pilcher said, but they had to go through this earlier process in order for it to count.

According to records obtained from the clerk’s office, 21 couples got married in Deschutes County on Valentine’s Day over the past three years: six in 2012, seven in 2013 and six, including the Pilchers, in 2014. About 3.4 couples get married in Deschutes County each day according to the clerk’s office.

“(Our traffic) increases a little bit,” County Clerk Nancy Blankenship said, explaining that while the number of couples who get married on this holiday does increase a little bit, it’s nothing compared to what she sees at the height of the marriage season from May through September.

Barry and Jane

Jane Foote, 62, had some choice words to say to her husband Barry Foote, 55, when they first spoke on the phone about 3½ years ago.

“By the way,” she said, recalling some of the first words she said to her husband. “If you ever want to work here, you’ve got to go through me.”

It all started when Barry Foote saw a job opening for a helicopter technician at a Redmond aeronautics firm and applied for it because he dreamed of moving to Central Oregon. But rather than go through the proper channels, he sent his resume and cover letter directly to the firm’s manager a week after the position’s official closing date and then pleaded with him to get an interview.

This move ticked off Jane Foote, who ran the firm’s human resources department. She wasn’t happy her authority had been subverted.

She called Barry Foote to give him a piece of her mind and ended up getting a whole lot more.

“We talked on the phone for 45 minutes,” she said. “I hung up the phone and told my friends: ‘I just met the man I’m going to marry.’”

Later that year, Barry Foote found a job working at another aeronautics firm in Redmond. He also had some pretty strong feelings and met his future wife for a cup of coffee at Barnes & Noble as soon as he got to town.

“I walked into the coffee shop,” he said. “She stood up and I’m like, ‘yep, that’s my girl.’”

Barry and Jane Foote skipped their first Valentine’s Day — they may have grabbed another cup of coffee that morning, though neither one of them knows for sure — because they were still in the process of getting to know each other. But when their romance got going, it got going pretty fast, and within the year, Barry took Jane to the most romantic of locations — a car wash — and asked for her hand in marriage.

“I figured she couldn’t escape,” he said.

“The car wash was crazy,” she replied. “I don’t want to tell you what I said to him. … It couldn’t be published.”

But amid all profanity, Jane eventually said yes and the couple got married in a small ceremony in the living room of their Redmond home on Feb. 14, 2013. Barry Foote said they chose this date because it was his mother’s birthday — she died long before he and Jane met — and that gave the couple one more thing they could celebrate.

Bobbi and Miles

Bobbi and Miles Hutchins, 66 and 79 respectively, were also married Feb. 14, 2013.

“We picked that day so he wouldn’t forget,” Bobbi Hutchins said as she talked about her wedding in an interview last week. “It was a pretty simple ceremony. … We put flowers on the mantle. We both wore red and black.”

Bobbi and Miles Hutchins are both members of St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church in Redmond, and met a couple years before they got married while volunteering at the St. Vincent dePaul Redmond food bank. They didn’t make the best impression on each other at this time.

“When we first met,” Miles said. “I thought, ‘jeez, there goes another California girl.’”

But things changed after Bobbi — who had actually lived in Portland, Seattle and Minnesota before she moved to Redmond in 2008 — convinced Miles to join the church choir. They started hanging out after choir practice on Saturdays and eventually fell in love.

But while they knew they wanted to get married, Bobbi and Miles also knew they didn’t want to have a large ceremony because, like Barry and Jane Foote, they had both been married before and getting everyone’s children and grandchildren together at the same place and time was a nightmare.

“We said forget it,” Miles said. “I think that worked out for everybody.”

Rather than holding a big ceremony, Miles and Bobbi Hutchins found someone on the Internet who had a minister’s license and lived less than a mile away from their home in southwest Redmond. The pastor’s wife served as their photographer and two of their neighbors acted as witnesses.

“Later, we got giant margaritas at Mazatlan,” said Miles, who ended his wedding night with a round of drinks and maybe some tacos.

Bobbi and Miles Hutchins celebrated their first anniversary in style because they were in the middle of the ocean on a cruise and had access to plenty of food and drink. But they’re second anniversary will be another low-key celebration because they’re planning a trip to Mexico this spring.

“We’ll probably just go out for a happy hour,” Miles Hutchins said. “You get frugal when you get married.”

The Pilchers are also planning a low-key evening this Valentine’s Day.

“We have a baby,” said Mandy Pilcher, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, Porter, on Jan. 9. “So we probably won’t be going out and doing much of anything right now.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7816, mmclean@bendbulletin.com

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