At a mass marriage ceremony in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, 80 men and their de-facto wives made their unions legal.
GV Statue ZOOM OUT TO GV Caracas street scene
SV Sign announcing collective marriages
SV People arriving for ceremony (2 shots)
GV and SV People seated for ceremony
SV Couple kissing after ceremony
CU Man and woman awaiting ceremony
CU Couple taking vows
SV Audience looks on as couple embrace and sign register (2 shots)
SV Compere asking crowd "Who's lost their false teeth?"
SV Audience look on as couple dance
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV EXTERIOR of place where ceremony was held
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: At a mass marriage ceremony in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, 80 men and their de-facto wives made their unions legal.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony was held in O'Leary square, in the centre of the city. Most of the people taking part come from very poor backgrounds. Some had been living together as man and wife for many years, but hadn't got around to making it legal. Nearly all of them have children and many of the youngsters accompanied Mum and Dad to their wedding. The mass marriage was the result of an appeal by Chief Justice of San Juan Parish, Dr. Guillermo Schmidajer, for unwed couples to come forward to be married by him.
So far thousands of couples have been married under a similar scheme. Realising the need for such a service, the idea was conceived and put into practice by Mrs. Menca de Leoni, wife of an ex-President of Venezuela. According to Venezuelan law, any children born to a couple before their marriage are made legitimate after the ceremony. Illegitimate children in Venezuela have no claim to their parents' property when they die. But such thoughts were far from everyones' minds as the weddings rolled on.
At one stage the compere had to stop the show to find out who'd lost their false teeth in the excitement.
For many, marriage starts on a solemn note followed by headaches and fun. For these people the headaches and fun preceded the solemnity.