Six Illinois Gay and Lesbian Couples Win Civil Union Wedding Contest
By Kirsten Palladino
Last week marked a historic moment in equality for gays and lesbians in Illinois. While same-sex couples aren’t being granted full marriage equality, they are now able to join in civil unions. Marking the first day licenses were issued was the Under A New Moon contest organized by Anita Vaughan, a certified life-cycle celebrant and owner of AnitaWeds.
The contest aimed to give six lucky couples a complimentary wedding ceremony, but the winners received so much more. Steve Coy and Felix Diaz, Amanda Adelsick and Katrina Miller, Christopher Birch and Sam Jamnik, Kimm Farrell and Jo Rodriguez, Ron Maggiore and Jason Fields, and Kati Griess and Esther Baruja were wed by Vaughan at Catalyst Ranch, a funky space for weddings and other events.
A myriad of vendors in the Chicago area jumped in at the opportunity to be a part of the landmark event: SQN Events, Jeremy Lawson Photography, Toast and Jam DJs, Nika Vaughan, Crowne Plaza Hotel, I Do Films, Entertaining Company, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Luscious Layers Bakery, Katherine Anne Confections, Greatest Expectations Special Events & Weddings, 312photobooth and Tamayo Design.
Thanks to the generosity of these participating companies, the winning couples received a wedding ceremony, a plethora of free gifts, including an overnight stay at the Crowne Plaza, a wedding reception, a beautiful wedding cake, and other treats.
The couples weren’t alone in their joy. Nearly 100 people gathered in support of them, including their parents and friends (each couple was allowed to invite 12 guests), along with venders, photographers and journalists.
Vaughn, who has performed ceremonies since 2008, told 10thousandcouples.com, “I have performed several commitment ceremonies prior to this. I will definitely continue to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. I’m just so happy that now the ceremonies I perform will be recognized by the state. While I am looking forward to the day that same-sex marriage is recognized in this country, I think this is finally a step in the right direction.”
Photos: Jeremy Lawson Photography / From top: cutting the cake: Ron Maggiore & Jason Fields, Kimm & Jo Rodriguez, Chris & Sam Jamnik, Amanda & Katrina Miller, Steve Coy & Felix Diaz, Kati & Esther Baruja; dancing: Kati & Esther Baruja (front), Amanda & Katrina Miller (back left); kiss: left to right: Ron Maggiore & Jason Fields, Kimm & Jo Rodriguez, Chris & Sam Jamnik, Amanda & Katrina Miller, Steve Coy & Felix Diaz, Kati & Esther Baruja; dancing: Amanda & Katrina Miller (left), Felix Diaz & Steve Coy (right).
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