It was the only alternative, make that altar-native, for 16 residents at a public housing project after police told the eight live-in boyfriends to get married or get moving.

So on Sunday, eight brides, dressed in pink gowns donated by a local dressmaker, and eight grooms, wearing black tuxedos provided by a formal wear store, tied the knot.After a Sept. 20 police raid to combat gang violence, overnight guests were banned, meaning the boyfriends were forced to choose between walking down the aisle or walking out the door.

"I just love it," said the former Tammy Grigsby, 20, who married Eugene Young, 54. "We had been planning to get married, but since they went on and pressed the issue, we was all for it."