Ricca Rivera and Fernando Chaidez began their wedding day by arising at 4:30 a.m., pushing their snow-covered car out of a Chicago parking spot and battling a blizzard to get to the Cook County Clerk's Office.
The effort was worth it for the Chicago couple, who were wed Thursday by Clerk David Orr and received gifts for being Cook County's first marriage of 2014.
The two plan a church wedding and reception in February, according to Orr's office, and wanted to use a day off Thursday to get their marriage license. After Rivera's mother reminded them of Orr's first-wedding-of-the-year tradition, the couple decided to arrive extra early in hopes of being first in line and tying the knot on the spot.
They were, getting to the county building at 6:15 a.m., more than two hours before the office opened, Orr's office reported.
The two were given a weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago; two tickets to the show "Rock of Ages" from Broadway in Chicago, a $150 gift card to Shaw's Crabhouse from Lettuce Entertain You restaurants and a red rose bouquet and boutonniere from LaSalle Flowers. Orr paid the couple's $60 marriage license fee.
Fernando, 42, who does machine maintenance, and Ricca, 40, who works in the city of Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services, met in 2009.