While judges, bailiffs and other Montgomery County courthouse employes worked half days yesterday or not at all, the five deputy clerks of the Circuit Court who perform civil wedding ceremonies married a holiday rush of grinning grooms and blushing brides.

The office had a near record of 37 weddings on Friday, and by closing time yesterday, 14 couples became Christmas Eve newlyweds, according to Ruby Howell, a deputy clerk in the license department.

Satish and Pushpa Menon, a Hindu couple, were among those married yesterday. Their simple, three-minute civil ceremony followed a more elaborate and festive "ethnic" marriage given by the bride's sister and brother-in-law Sunday at the Potomac Community Center. The Potomac celebration also was simple, mirroring the Nair Hindu sect tradition of the couple's home state of Kerala in the sourthern tip of India.

"The Nair wedding is the simplest of all Hindu weddings -- the whole ceremony takes around 20 minutes," explained Jaya Pillay, sister of the bride.

Although bridegroom Satish, a biochemistry researcher at Harvard University, got his PhD in Bangalore -- the same town in India where his new bride taught economics -- he had to travel across the world before mutual friends introduced him to Pushpa, who now works in a bank in Boston.

The couple came to the Potomac home of Pillay and her husband Mohan to wed because the Pillays are the bride's only relatives in this country. That the wedding dovetailed with Christmas only added to the festivities, Pushpa said.

"Because we are Hindu doesn't mean we don't involve ourselves with Christmas. It's as much a festival for us," Pushpa said just before the civil ceremony.

Dressed in a sari of orange and brilliant red hues, Pushpa contrasted with other Christmas Eve courthouse brides garbed in dresses or tailored suits. Satish looked traditionally Ivy League.

The marriage license department is a bright spot compared with the grimness of criminal trials at the courthouse, said Howell. "They're all smiling when they come in here. It's a happy department," she said. Marriage Bureau Has Holiday Rush By Victoria Churchville Washington Post Staff Writer

While judges, bailiffs and other Montgomery County courthouse employes worked half days yesterday or not at all, the five deputy clerks of the Circuit Court who perform civil wedding ceremonies married a holiday rush of grinning grooms and blushing brides.

The office had a near record of 37 weddings on Friday, and by closing time yesterday, 14 couples became Christmas Eve newlyweds, according to Ruby Howell, a deputy clerk in the license department.

Satish and Pushpa Menon, a Hindu couple, were among those married yesterday. Their simple, three-minute civil ceremony followed a more elaborate and festive "ethnic" marriage given by the bride's sister and brother-in-law Sunday at the Potomac Community Center. The Potomac celebration also was simple, mirroring the Nair Hindu sect tradition of the couple's home state of Kerala in the sourthern tip of India.

"The Nair wedding is the simplest of all Hindu weddings -- the whole ceremony takes around 20 minutes," explained Jaya Pillay, sister of the bride.

Although bridegroom Satish, a biochemistry researcher at Harvard University, got his PhD in Bangalore -- the same town in India where his new bride taught economics -- he had to travel across the world before mutual friends introduced him to Pushpa, who now works in a bank in Boston.

The couple came to the Potomac home of Pillay and her husband Mohan to wed because the Pillays are the bride's only relatives in this country. That the wedding dovetailed with Christmas only added to the festivities, Pushpa said.

"Because we are Hindu doesn't mean we don't involve ourselves with Christmas. It's as much a festival for us," Pushpa said just before the civil ceremony.

Dressed in a sari of orange and brilliant red hues, Pushpa contrasted with other Christmas Eve courthouse brides garbed in dresses or tailored suits. Satish looked traditionally Ivy League.

The marriage license department is a bright spot compared with the grimness of criminal trials at the courthouse, said Howell. "They're all smiling when they come in here. It's a happy department," she said.