Arlington couple says ‘I do' despite courthouse evacuation

The report of a suspicious package led to an evacuation Wednesday morning at a Tarrant County sub-courthouse on Abram Street in Arlington.

After the recent Austin serial bombings that included deadly delivered packages, Arlington authorities took no chances. Police checked out the package only to find an empty suitcase that posed no threat.

You've heard the phrase "don't sweat the small stuff," but try telling that to a woman on her wedding day.

"We wanted to get married today, April 11, because the day is important to us because it's our three-year anniversary,” Andrea Smith explained.

The green suitcase caused Andrea and Matthew Smith a lot more wedding day anxiety than they expected. The evacuation started just as the couple was arriving at the courthouse to exchange vows.

"We didn't know if they were jurors or if they were employees. We didn't know if it was a bomb threat or a fire.  We didn't know,” Matthew said. “We just thought we'd stay here until midnight and kind of see what happens."

"The placement of it made it a little bit more suspicious,” said Tarrant County Constable David Woodruff. “It was sitting almost like it was placed behind the trashcan, which raised our suspicion level a little bit more."

Bomb scare or not, Matthew and Andrea were determined to be married — even if it was in the courthouse parking lot. And it was exactly what they did.  They married under a tree on a breezy day by the justice of the peace.

"We are thankful for the judge who agreed to be spontaneous and impromptu,” Andrea said.

The good news is there was no shortage of witnesses. 

"All of the people who were out here in the parking lot became our family and friends and witnesses,” Matthew said.

"It was great seeing two people having so much fun with a very unique situation,” said Justice of the Peace Judge Mary Curnutt. “And I think they actually enjoyed it more than they would have in a very quiet courtroom."

"We look at life as we roll with the punches,” Andrea said. “So this just this just adds to our story. Making memories.”

The courthouse was evacuated about an hour. Nothing was found in the suitcase.

Besides marrying the couple, the judge says she disposed of several other cases out in the parking lot.