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Statement: More weddings happen every week at the County Administration Center than any other place in the county, Supervisor Ron Roberts said at a panel April 25.

Determination: True

Analysis: Grooms in tuxedos and brides in white dresses file through the security lines at the County Administration Center each day to — assuming all goes as planned — sign a few papers, exchange a few words, share a kiss and begin married life together.

The newlyweds and their typically small wedding parties are a ubiquitous part of the building along Harbor Drive and the surrounding lawns, where groups scatter to find the best photo backdrop before more newlyweds come outside. Last year, the county performed an average of 136 wedding ceremonies in the building each week.

Roberts described the building as the county’s most popular wedding destination to bolster his long-running push to expand the surrounding park. By beautifying the area, he suggested, the county would also be providing more picturesque backdrops to the numerous newlyweds.

Earlier this year, Roberts’ push took a step forward when the county supervisors approved $2.6 million to demolish a nearby building to create future park space and $1.2 million to research park designs. Depending on the final design and other factors, the overall project is estimated to cost $38.2 million for park construction and another $23.4 million for a new adjacent parking lot.

So how does the county building stack up to other popular wedding destinations? Well, no one knows the exact numbers outside the building.

County officials track the number of ceremonies they run and the number of marriage licenses they provide each year. But outside of their buildings, they don’t know whether couples held marriage ceremonies, and if so, where they happened.

Sandra Banaga is an assistant division chief at the San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, the office which provides marriage licenses. While there’s no quantifiable evidence to back up Roberts’ claim, she stood behind it.

“In my personal opinion, there’s no way for us to tell that, but I think it would be safe to say we’re doing the most ceremonies in the county,” she said. “If this was Las Vegas, it might be a different story.”

Wedding venues here are typically busiest on weekends and at most run a few weddings each day. For another place to exceed the downtown building, it would need to operate seven days a week and average more than 19 weddings a day.

To give this another gut check, we called Bronson Pate, a local wedding photographer who’s previously contributed to voiceofsandiego.org. Based on his experiences, could another place be exceeding the county building?

“Oh my gosh. No,” he said after being told the building’s weekly average. “I have no doubt about that.”

We also asked Sharon Cole, a wedding planner based in Chula Vista, if the county building churns out more weddings than any other location. “Absolutely,” she said. “There’s no place that comes close to it.”

Cole said parks and beaches are probably the second most popular destinations, but permits usually prohibit people from having multiple weddings at the same place on the same day. Cuvier Park, the most popular destination for weddings along La Jolla’s coastline that became known as The Wedding Bowl, allows one ceremony per day.

Because people who are in the daily business of weddings agree with Roberts’ description and because we’ve found no evidence to disprove it, we’ve rated the statement True.

For those curious like me, the county’s single day record for the most marriages was Valentine’s Day in 2004. On that day alone, 244 couples said, “I do.”

A hat tip on this Fact Check goes to Don Wood, who noted Roberts’ claim in this People’s Post. Before pursuing the Fact Check, we confirmed with Roberts’ staff that he made the statement at the panel.

What claim should we Fact Check next? Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

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