Longtime couple weds in Cook County’s first ceremony of the year


Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough officiates for Mandy Fila and Daniel Ferguson, who won the lottery to receive Cook County’s first marriage license of 2023, during a wedding ceremony Tuesday morning at the clerk’s Loop office.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Mandy Fila and Daniel Ferguson’s wedding Tuesday was a long time coming.

After all, the pair have known each other for more than 20 years, been a couple for 13 and are raising two children, ages 6 and 9.

The Brookfield couple had been seeking to get hitched but delayed it during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

“The last couple years just didn’t make sense,” Ferguson said.

But the wait was over Tuesday, as they were the first to be officially married in Cook County in the New Year.

County Clerk Karen Yarbrough officiated the ceremony at her Loop office.

She said she was elated to preside over her office’s first in-person ceremony in two years. Her traditional first-of-the-year marriage license ceremony had been virtual during the height of the pandemic.

Mandy Fila and Daniel Ferguson seal their nuptials with a kiss Tuesday morning.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Fila, 42, and Ferguson, 47, won a lottery of more than 100 couples seeking the first county marriage license of 2023.

Fila, a diabetes educator at Advocate Health, said she learned just a week ago they had won.

“Everyone was just blowing up our phones; that’s how we found out,” Fila said.

She said she was happy with the small ceremony, attended by a dozen family members.

“We didn’t expect to have a wedding this way. And I didn’t really have a plan for a wedding. I’m not a dress person. So this is a great way to do it,” Fila said.

Ferguson, an electrician, proposed to his wife five years ago when she came back from working a health fair.

“The rest is history,” Fila said.

Asked how he knew Fila was “the one,” Ferguson said: “I don’t know how to explain it. But you know when you know.”

The couple had been thinking about getting married for a while and had been nudged by their families.

“Our parents have been pressing us for a long time,” Fila said.

“We have been waiting for this for 13 years,” Marge Fila said of her daughter and son-in-law. “I’m so glad for them.”

Their son, Noah, said the ceremony was a surprise.

“I didn’t expect it to happen,” he said.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Ferguson’s mother, Marianne Wedel, said.

Mandy Fila and Daniel Ferguson, married Tuesday, have known each other more than 20 years.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and Mandy Fila display Fila and Daniel Ferguson’s marriage license.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough listens as Mandy Fila and Daniel Ferguson speak to reporters after Yarbrough officiated their wedding ceremony at her Loop office Tuesday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

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