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12-12-12 a reason for weddings, babies in Sonoma County

Andy Larsen has a difficult time getting the ring on his bride-to-be Adrian Bonserio at the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's Office, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2012 in Santa Rosa.

(Kent Porter / Press Democrat)
Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:07 a.m.

On the 12th day of the 12th month of 2012, Adrienne Bonserio and Andy Larsen got married in the courtyard between two Sonoma County government office buildings.

Facts

What's so special about 12/12/12?

It's the last of 12 dates since Jan. 1, 2001 when the month, day and year are the same number, a cycle that won't be resumed until Jan. 1, 2101, when only the youngest among us living today will be around.

Thousands of couples flocked to the altar on Wednesday, including 32 who were hitched at the Sonoma County clerk's office, but Triple Dozen Day was less propitious than others in this century.

Hong Kong's marriage registry received 696 notifications from couples planning to get married on Wednesday, down from 1,002 weddings on 11/11/11, which signified “eternal love,” and 859 weddings on 10/10/10, which represented “perfection,” according to a Yahoo News report.

Triple 12, in contrast, is just a “comparatively lucky day,” the report said.

Still, the number 12 has some numerological status, as the masculine one is self-sufficient and driven, the feminine two is a true partner and together they “form a balanced and unstoppable pair,” MSN.com reported.

Under Chinese numerology, one is a yang number ruled by the sun, two is a yin number ruled by the moon, and combined as 12 they achieve yin-yang harmony, MSN.com said.

Mathematicians and scientists favor 12 because it can be divided into halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and twelfths.

Because it is so readily divided, 12 is widely used in measurements, such as 12 inches in a foot, 12 in a dozen, 12 hours on a clock, 24 hours in a day and 12 times 12, or 144, in a gross.

But 10 remains top dog among numbers used to count things because humans have that many fingers available for the task.

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BY THE NUMBERS

On Wednesday, 12/12/12, 32 couples were married at the Sonoma County clerk's office.
The day before, 12/11/12, three couples were married there.
On Aug. 8, 2008 -- or 08/08/08, numerically speaking --
a record 63 marriages were conducted by the clerk's office. That date was doubly auspicious because eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and it fell during the six months when same-sex marriage was legal in California.

They were part of a widespread rush to the altar, wedding chapel or county clerk's office on 12/12/12, the last date with triple matching numbers in this century.

In matching brown cowboy boots with flower leis around their necks, the Santa Rosa couple said their "I do's" during an eight-minute civil ceremony and then kissed, capping a three-month courtship that began in September when they were introduced by friends.

"We're not getting any younger," said Larsen, 72, a telephone tech for the city of San Francisco. "We want to spend all our time together."

Friends called theirs a "whirlwind" romance, but Bonserio, a 55-year-old dog trainer, had a simple explanation.

"When you know, you know," she said.

They were among the 32 couples married Wednesday in a steady stream of ceremonies conducted by the clerk's office. A week earlier, just two weddings were conducted and on Tuesday three couples said their vows.

Wednesday's rush was a spike in wedding ceremonies at the clerk's office, but far below the record of 63 marriages conducted Aug. 8, 2008 (8/8/08), said Deva Proto, an analyst in the county Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's Office.

That date was doubly auspicious because eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture -- the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 minutes and 8 seconds past 8 p.m. local time -- and Aug. 8 fell during the six months when same-sex marriage was legal in California.

David's Bridal, a national bridal retailer, estimated 7,500 couples across the United States would tie the knot Wednesday, a huge increase over last year, when just 485 pairs married on 12/12/11, the Huffington Post reported.

Wedding chapels in Las Vegas were expecting a big day based on three previous booms that occurred when the calendar aligned. County officials in Las Vegas issued 4,333 marriage licenses just before 7/7/07, 3,090 licenses before 10/10/10 and 3,342 before 11/11/11, the New York Times reported.

Diane and William Frenzel of Santa Rosa reserved a midday wedding slot at the clerk's office a month ago.

"We thought it was neat," she said.

Diane, 46, and William, 52, met on Facebook a year and a half ago and "clicked right away," she said.

They were saying their vows at 12 seconds after 12 noon and then were heading for a resort among the North Coast redwoods for a couple of days.

Bonserio said they had hoped to start their ceremony at 12:12 p.m., but things ran a bit late. The couple selected their wedding date based on practicality, not numerology.

"We won't forget the anniversary," she said.

She and Larsen will spend a few days in San Francisco this week, then plan to honeymoon in Italy in the spring.

Meanwhile, Erica Wetterstrom, 28, and Jeff Merbs, 32, of Gualala welcomed their second child -- an 8-pound, 2-ounce boy -- at 12:41 p.m. Wednesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

"The date is pretty cool," Wetterstrom said, acknowledging she and her fiance more or less aimed for a Dec. 12 arrival.

Doctors induced labor Tuesday night for medical reasons, she said.

Memorial had one other birth Wednesday.

Four babies arrived Wednesday at Santa Rosa's Sutter Medical Center, and a fifth was due by cesarean section, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Amador said.

Petaluma Valley Hospital reported two births, with a third due before midnight.

The next day with triple matching numbers is Jan. 1, 2101, a little more than 88 years away.

But those who want to get hitched or give birth on a memorable date could consider next Nov. 12, which is 11/12/13.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

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