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Clerk Karen Yarbrough announces lottery drawing for Cook County’s first marriage license of the New Year

Couple Will Receive Wedding and Gifts Including Steak, Dance Lessons, Flowers, Sparkling Wine, and More

Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough is inviting couples interested in tying the knot in 2023 to apply to receive the first marriage license of the New Year and to exchange vows in the Cook County Clerk’s annual First Marriage Ceremony.

The Clerk’s Office will begin accepting online applications on December 19 and interested couples can apply for their chance to win the first license at Applications will be accepted through Monday, December 26, and the drawing for the first marriage license of 2023 will be held the following day on December 27.

The wedding ceremony will take place on Monday, January 3, the first day of official business in Cook County in 2023 and will be officiated by Clerk Yarbrough.

“I encourage any couple in Cook County considering marriage in the New Year to join the fun and throw their names in the drawing to become our First Couple,” said Yarbrough. “We are proud to be continuing this exciting annual tradition and we have some wonderful gifts that have been donated to make their nuptials extra special.”

Several of the Chicago-area’s signature establishments have donated special gifts for the first couple to mark the celebration. The gifts include:

  • 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 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
  • Two tickets to a comedy show provided by the Laugh Factory Chicago
  • A Gift Card provided by Eli’s Cheesecake


WHITTINGHAM MEATS R. Whittingham and Sons Meat Co. has been a family-operated business since 1947, distributing USDA Prime and Choice cut meats to some of the finest restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and casinos throughout the Chicagoland area and across the United States. The company’s Alsip-based facility also includes a retail store for walk-in customers offering a wide range of fresh and frozen meat, seafood, and specialty products.

COOPERS HAWK WINERY & RESTAURANT Founded in 2005, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants is built on the passionate belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections. Cooper’s Hawk offers handcrafted wines inspired by Napa Valley’s Wine Country as well as modern, casual dining in inviting and upscale settings. With locations across Chicagoland and in nine states outside of Illinois, Cooper’s Hawk also offers customers a NapaStyle tasting room experience and artisanal markets.

DUET DANCE STUDIO Duet Dance Studio is an award-winning ballroom dance studio located in Chicago West Bucktown. Duet Dance has been teaching Chicago to dance since 2013 and was recently placed in The Knot Best of Weddings “Hall of Fame.” Duet offers ballroom dance lessons and specialized wedding dance instruction with instruction in Swing, Salsa, Bachata, Rumba, Merengue, Tango, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Two-Step.

THE CHOPPING BLOCK The Chopping Block is a recreational cooking school that combines education, instruction, and entertainment for a unique culinary experience. Founded in 1997 in a small cottage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Chopping Block has grown to a facility with over 12,000 feet of cooking, event, and retail space. With six different kitchens, the Chopping Block is Chicago’s largest recreational cooking school.

LASALLE FLOWERS LaSalle Flowers has been a family-owned florist on the corner of LaSalle and Superior since 1936. Today, LaSalle Flowers continues the tradition of providing friendly customer service, beautiful fresh-cut flowers, a wide selection of green and blooming plants, balloons, and top-quality plush animals. LaSalle also specializes in wedding and corporate events and offers same-day delivery in Chicago and neighboring suburbs for orders placed by 11 a.m.

LAUGH FACTORY CHICAGO Laugh Factory Chicago opened in 2012 at the iconic Lake Shore Theater in the East Lakeview neighborhood. Located in the Belmont Theater District, Laugh Factory is putting its mark on Chicago’s historic comedy scene. Through its colorful exterior and three gigantic digital marquees, there’s a lobby filled with famous comedy memorabilia, a fullservice bar, a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and a spacious, elegant 311-seat theater. The second level opens to a 100-seat balcony overlooking the historic stage for sausages, pizzas, hot dogs, and desserts from Chicago’s legendary restaurants.

ELI’S CHEESECAKE Founded more than 40 years ago by Chicago restaurateur Eli M. Schulman, Eli’s Cheesecake has developed a reputation for serving up great food and providing outstanding service. Eli’s operates a state-of-the-art bakery, corporate office, and dessert café on Chicago’s northwest side and, since its public debut at the Taste of Chicago in 1980, has grown from a local favorite to one of the country’s largest specialty bakeries, turning out 20,000 cheesecakes and desserts daily.

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