Big Island couple legally marries 36 years after wedding

KAILUA-KONA — A Big Island couple who believed they were married 36 years ago officially tied the knot after learning of a documentation mix-up.

Randy and Leigh Mitchell were legally married at the Kealakekua courthouse last week, though their wedding was in February 1982, West Hawaii Today reported .

The couple learned two years ago that their marriage license was never filed at the time of their wedding in Huntington Beach, California.

“It was valid for us,” Leigh Mitchell said.

Leigh Mitchell discovered the mistake when she tried to renew her driver’s license, which required her marriage license to show her name change. The marriage certificate that she had in her possession was just the souvenir copy.

Orange County, California, did not have any record of their marriage when the couple tried to request the document, Randy Mitchell said.

“They looked back as far as 1889 and there was no record of a wedding,” Randy said. “We realized we were not married. And that was unpleasant initially.”

Since learning of the snafu two years ago, it kind of just fell onto the back burner, Leigh said.

“Our daughter is now a lawyer and she insisted that we take care of this piece of business,” Leigh said.

Katelynn Mitchell encouraged her parents to make the marriage official, citing practical concerns like life insurance and taxes.

“I was just kind of urging them to get it done,” Katelynn Mitchell said. “They weren’t in a rush. It didn’t change a single thing that it wasn’t official on paper.”

Randy picked up Leigh last week from Hongwanji Mission school where she teaches. Casually dressed, they went to the courthouse, recited their original vows, and then celebrated their new anniversary date.

“We got our favorite pizza and beer went to the Honaunau rodeo grounds and watched the sunset,” Randy said.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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