Once a month, nearly two dozen lovebirds tie the knot in the most unique way in Sacramento County. There are long lines, quick exchanges and a smiling groom.

You can say Ashley Martinez is just a little nervous. She's getting ready for her big day by getting her hair done at a local salon and she's a bit emotional.

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"Since I was born, every girl has dreamed about it," Martinez said. "Today's the day I'm going to see him!"

Like many other girls, she's dreamt about this special moment-- her wedding day."I'm getting started. It's the first day of the rest of my life," Martinez said.

But Martinez's day is quite unique.

The man she loves, the man of her dreams, the man Martinez will marry won't be going home with her on her wedding night, or even the night after. Martinez will have to wait a little while longer until her new husband gets out of jail.

"It's not traditional or what everybody's 'happily ever after' looks like. But, we're blessed and it's the start of a new beginning for us," Martinez said. "We reassure each other. He's my rock and I'm his."

Martinez is friends with the mother of the groom. She spotted a photograph and asked about him. That man, ended up writing Martinez a letter. She said that may seem old-fashioned to some people, but she loved it.

The story of how her "husband-to-be" Christopher landed in jail is a complicated one. He has been incarcerated since January.

"He bought a car on Craigslist in Sacramento. I guess a Craigslist scam was going on. The car was "stolen," Martinez said.

Martinez doesn't know how long her man will be behind bars, but guesses it'll be at least a year and a half before he is released.

But Martinez has courage and faith.

"This, too, shall pass," Martinez said.

There are so many different stories, so many different reasons why women or men get married to an inmate.

"They come from all different backgrounds. We don't know a lot about what happens beforehand," said Megan Leahy Graham, Supervising Deputy Clerk/Recorder of Sacramento County. "It's very surprising to see how popular the program is. But we're really excited to be a part of this, part of people's lives."

After what seems like hours of "prepping" for their big day, the brides arrive. Nearly two dozen of them, ready to tie the knot. They're excited, anxious and nervous.

"Nervous. Really nervous!!" another bride-to-be, Isabel Trinas, said.

Love is the reason so many people like Martinez and Trinas got married.

The Sacramento County Clerk Recorder's office said it sometimes performs so-called "dual custody" weddings. That's where both the bride and groom happen to be inmates. The last one officiated was about three months ago.


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