Ashley Graff and Undra Baldwin have known each other for more than half their lives, but they waited for the right time to get married.
For the Elgin couple, that time was Monday morning, as they were selected to be wed in Cook County’s first-ever zoom ceremony with Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough.
The pair have been dating for nearly 20 years and decided that “the time was just right” to enter the Clerk’s annual First Marriage License of the Year contest. This year, rather than having couples line up outside of Vital Records, due to Covid-19, Clerk Yarbrough encouraged couples to enter a lottery. The lucky couple were selected in a drawing after the first couple chosen withdrew their names from consideration.
Graff and Baldwin, who were the first couple to apply online for the marriage license lottery, were the next couple chosen. More than 50 couples had applied to be selected for the first marriage license.
In addition to being married by Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough, the winning couple received gifts from several of the Chicago-area’s signature establishments. The gifts included:
- A Newlywed Gourmet Dinner Gift Box including Filet Mignon, Strip Steaks and Lobster Tails provided by Whittingham Meats
- A sparkling wine basket and champagne flutes provided by Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
- A Gift Card provided by Eli’s Cheesecake
- A Virtual Wedding Dance Lesson provided by Duet Dance Studio
- A Virtual cooking lesson provided by The Chopping Block
- Wedding flower arrangements provided by LaSalle Flower Group
- A download of the latest party pack of digital games from Jackbox Games
Clerk Yarbrough also waived the $60 marriage license fee and provided the couple with a free Commemorative Certificate compliments of the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
To see the full video of Clerk Yarbrough officiating the first marriage of 2021, please visit the Clerk’s YouTube page.
The Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records issues all marriage licenses in Chicago and suburban Cook County. The office issued 21,389 marriage licenses in 2020, 31,843 marriage licenses in 2019 and 33,006 marriage licenses in 2018. For more information regarding how to apply for a marriage license, or order commemorative marriage certificates and other vital records, please visit cookcountyclerk.com/vitalrecords.