"I said, 'Let's get married on Valentine's Day,'" Angulo said. "It was a big surprise to her."
"He told me that he had been thinking about it for quite some time," Otero said. "It was his way of having a nice Valentine."
So Angulo rounded up the family, including his son, 8-year-old John Michael, from a previous relationship, their 2-year-old adopted daughter Diamond, and their 6-month-old son Christian Ray, and headed to Weehawken's Town Hall last Thursday to get married.
Angulo and Otero were not alone. In all, four Weehawken couples appeared before Mayor Richard Turner to exchange vows on the day universally reserved for lovers.
It made for a busy day for the town's chief executive, who usually marries about 30 couples per year and no more than three in a month. Marrying four in a day set a new record for Turner.
"It's the first time I ever had more than one in a day," Turner said. "And we had four. Three of them came after 5 p.m., so we had them coming in and out, every half hour. It was an unusual number for us, but they really sought out Valentine's Day as they day they wanted to get married. I also thought it was a great idea."
Faisal Hosein was a nervous wreck all day, knowing that he was marrying his girlfriend of six months, Mina Bouchouirab. "I was stuttering everything I said," said the 26-year-old Hosein. "I had sweaty palms and everything."
"I'm still nervous about it," Bouchouirab said after getting married. "I think it's beautiful and romantic that it happened today."
Hosein too said that he was still on edge. "I'm still sweating bullets," Hosein said. "I don't know if it's the coffee I drank or it's me. I still have the butterflies in my stomach, the same feeling that you have when you first start liking girls when you're a kid. It's the same feeling coming back to you. Hearing the word 'wife' is a little different."
Hosein said that he never gave marriage a thought until a mutual friend introduced him to Bouchouirab six months ago. "Sometimes, you just know," Hosein said. "When we got together, I knew I loved her enough to get married right away. Some people say that you should be patient and wait a while. But you can't stop it. Getting married was kind of spur of the moment, but I knew it was going to happen sometime soon. So why not Valentine's Day?"
Hosein said that getting married on Valentine's Day helps one future problem. "It's the easiest day to remember," he said. "When it comes to guys, we have a tendency to forget days like an anniversary. How can I forget now? It was the perfect day, very romantic."
"It's love," his wife echoed.
Frances Testini and Gene Uziel were the first couple to get married. They were followed by Hosein and Bouchouirab.
Then when it came time for Otero and Angulo to exchange vows, Turner's office was flooded with well wishers from both families.
"I can feel at ease now knowing that he's my husband," said Cathy Otero-Angulo. "I hated calling him my boyfriend all this time. I'm very happy that we're married and that he came up with the idea."
"I love her and felt this was the proper moment," said Angulo, a native of Peru. "Since it was Valentine's Day, it makes the day unforgettable."
The new bride was quick to point out that fact. "I told him right away that he has no excuses to forget our anniversary now," she said, adding that the couple plans to have a formal religious ceremony and celebration later this year. "The spiritual side of me is glad that we're finally married."
The final couple to tie the knot was Herminio Castro and Lillyan Proenza.
Turner said that he was happy to oblige so many couples in love. "It really was enjoyable and a lot of fun," he said. "Everyone in Town Hall was in great spirits, because they all knew what was going on. All of the secretaries in the building helped to make arrangements and they thought it was wonderful." Turner's secretary, Donna Jandik, particularly thought so.
"She was like the wedding planner," Turner said. "She absolutely insured that the weddings all fit into the schedule. She was wonderful."