Cook County Clerk David Orr today married longtime sweethearts who obtained the first marriage license of 2011.
Jacqueline Cruz and Miguel Cruz have been a couple since being introduced by Miguel's sister in 1997. While looking at old school photos, the couple learned they both attended the same elementary (Pritzker, formerly Wicker Park) and high schools (Clemente) but never met. The Cruzes, who have the same last name but were not related until they tied the knot, have two children: Jorge, 12, and Jacqueline, 9.
"We should have done this a long time ago," said the 34-year-old groom. "I'm in church now and I believe this is the right thing to do."
|Clerk Orr celebrates with Jacqueline and Miguel Cruz after a brief wedding ceremony.|
Miguel lives in Cicero and works at Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Chicago's Lincoln Park community. Jacqueline lives in Chicago's Logan Square community. They hope to move in together soon.
Clerk Orr, the only clerk in Illinois with the authority to perform marriages, has married every couple who obtains the first marriage license of the year since 1991.
"One of my favorite jobs as County Clerk is to start the year with a beautiful marriage," Orr said. "May their married life together be long and happy."
The first marriage tradition includes showering the newlyweds with donated gifts.
|Jacqueline and Miguel Cruz celebrate their marriage with a kiss.|
This year's prizes include a complementary weekend for two at the Palmer House Hilton; a $50 gift certificate to Frankie's Scaloppine, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant; and two tickets to "God of Carnage," courtesy of the Goodman Theatre. La Salle Flower Shop in Chicago donated a bouquet of white roses and a boutonniere.
The Clerk's office also paid the couple's marriage license fee of $40. A Cook County judge waived the standard 24-hour waiting period so Orr could conduct the ceremony.
The Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records issues all marriage licenses in Chicago and suburban Cook County. The office issued: 32,289 marriage licenses in 2010; 32,369 in 2009; 33,529 in 2008; 33,853 in 2007; and 35,114 in 2006.