Utah Stories

Keeping it Civil

Utah’s Deputy County Clerk has married over 7,000 people of all backgrounds and ages.


Deputy Clerk Darline E. Von Bank Doesn’t Cry At Weddings

The young man and lady knew what they wanted. Smiling and looking confident, JD Cundick and Brittney Sanderson joined hands in front of Deputy Clerk Darlene E. Von Bank as she greeted them in a small room at the side of the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office. Wearing an official black gown, she had them sign documents and then standing in front of them began, “Marriage is a relationship brought about as the result of a special love, and can only be nurtured through that love.” Five minutes later she concluded, “You may kiss one another as husband and wife.”

Five minutes and a lifetime of change. It’s all in a day’s work for “Deputy Dar.” Darlene is one of six deputy clerks at the county building who perform marriage ceremonies. Married over 50 years herself, she simply says, “I love to marry people.” She has performed over 7,000 ceremonies. But for Darlene, every new bride and groom deserve her best effort. “I try to make each one special.”

Deputy County Clerk Darlene E. Von Bank
Deputy County Clerk Darlene E. Von Bank

80 bucks (40 for the license and 40 for the ceremony) will get you married in Salt Lake County. The clerk’s office performs at least two per day with the daily record being 21 ceremonies. The clerks prefer if a ceremony is scheduled in advance and that the bride and groom provide their own two witnesses, but in a pinch, they can do a drop-in wedding and marry a couple in the foyer. Paperwork and ceremony – 15 minutes in and out. It saves a trip to Vegas. Later annulments take a bit longer and cost a bit more. However, another office handles those details.

Darlene says people have civil weddings for various reasons. For instance, one partner may have a rapid military deployment. With other couples, it may be a second or third marriage and the two want to keep it simple. Cost can also be a factor. “By saving money on the ceremony, they can go on a cruise and have a really nice honeymoon,” Darlene says.

Although Darlene cannot accept gifts, she has been invited to many wedding receptions. She also has accommodated special ethnic aspects of weddings. “I had an African couple who jumped together over a broom at the end of the ceremony.” And love, Darlene says, knows no age limit. “I married couples in their nineties.”

It is not Darlene’s job to discover the reason two people choose to marry. But she certainly hopes it is a good one. “For me, the wedding vows are serious. This is a special occasion. It’s a new beginning.”

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