Clerk Orr performs his final First Marriage as Clerk

January 2, 2018
Press Release
Vital Records

First Marriage is latest adventure for Woodlawn Couple

Susie Fogle and Brian Wildeman have had quite a few adventures together. There was the time, when Susie was pregnant with their now 2-year-old daughter, that they took a pair of cheap bicycles they had bought from a vendor in Los Angeles to San Diego and rode across the border into Tijuana. Then there was the time they got caught in the rain riding motorcycles in Jamaica.

So heading downtown from their South Side home at about 3 a.m. when the temperature was below zero to secure their spot in line as the first couple to get a marriage license in 2018 in Cook County is just another adventure for them. “This is very us,” Susie said. “This seems so fitting for us to do this.”

Susie, 35, and Brian, 49, arrived downtown about 4 a.m. Tuesday to be the first Cook County couple to get their marriage license in 2018. Bearing cookies for the Daley Center security guards, they were let into the building at 6 a.m., and took their place outside the Clerk’s Vital Records office well before the usual opening time of 8:30 a.m.

They received their marriage license as soon as Clerk David Orr’s office opened at 8:30 a.m.

As the couple were completing their marriage license application in the Vital Records office, a gaggle of media formed around them, to take photos and video. "I feel like Brittany Spears," Susie said.

The Woodlawn neighborhood couple had been considering getting the first marriage license of the year for the past three years, actually. They pulled the trigger in 2018 because, as Susie said, “It just felt right.”

Susie, a nanny originally from northwest Indiana, and Brian, an art teacher at the University of Chicago Lab School who is originally from Colorado, met about 10 years ago at a game night a friend’s house in Hyde Park. They began dating about five years ago.

“The night I met Susie, I was really struck by how very smart and funny she was,” Brian says. “She was destroying it” at game night. “She is very organized and an excellent planner and in that sense she’s my better half.”

“Brian is so much fun,” Susie says. “I’ve always been a planner. Now I can plan any adventure and he can make it happen. We have a lot of fun and Brian makes me feel confident we can do all that.”

Coming downtown in the bitter cold, and waiting in the stairwell of the Daley Center for two hours before they were let into the building was the latest adventure for these two.

Following a marriage ceremony in his office, Clerk Orr presented the couple with an array of gifts donated by local businesses. This year’s gifts included a weekend stay at Loews Hotel Chicago, a dinner for two at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, four tickets to the iO Improv Theater, a bouquet and boutonniere from LaSalle Flowers, two tickets to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, a VIP package for 15 from the Fifty/50 Restaurant, a wedding cake from West Town Bakery, a fresh-crafted arrangement of chocolate-covered fruit from Edible Arrangements, a $100 gift certificate from Eli’s Cheesecake, two tickets to Riot Fest 2018, and roundtrip service from In Chicago Sedan and Limousine.  

Clerk Orr also waived the marriage license fee of $60 and provided them with a colorful Commemorative Certificate.

An annual tradition since Clerk Orr first took office in 1991, he has married the couple who obtain the first marriage license of the year. As Clerk Orr is retiring from office at the end of 2018, this was the last first marriage event which he presided over.

While the first married couple of 2018, like all couples seeking a marriage license, must complete, sign, and pay for their application in person at one of the Clerk’s offices, any couple getting married in Cook County can now begin the application process online before heading to the Clerk’s office. Clerk Orr introduced this new feature to his website in late November and it has proved to be popular. As of Dec. 20, 1,149 couple had begun their marriage license applications online at Beginning the process online shaves about six minutes off the time each couple will spend at the Clerk’s office completing the application.

A video of the ceremony can be viewed on the Clerk’s YouTube page.
A photo album of the ceremony can be viewed on the Clerk's Flickr page.

The Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records issues all marriage licenses in Chicago and suburban Cook County. The office issued: 35,802 marriage licenses in 2017; 36,198 in 2016; 35,253 marriage licenses in 2015; 36,738 in 2014; 31,016 in 2013; and 32,292 in 2012.