Anita Vaughan wedding ceremony rookery

No two weddings are ever alike. That’s why it is so important to find a wedding officiant who specializes in customizing your ceremony to reflect your style and personality. Enter Chicago life-cycle celebrant, Anita Vaughan of AnitaWeds

What is a Wedding Celebrant

A wedding celebrant is an officiant who comes to the table with no preconceived agenda for your ceremony.

The celebrant’s mission is to help their client create a ceremony that reflects their beliefs, philosophy of life, and unique personalities. Through careful interviewing and discovering the special relationship between their couple, the Celebrant elicits what is meaningful for each client. Elopement officiant Chicago Anita Vaughan

When I heard about the Celebrants, I knew that was what I had to do! I get to spend my time with people who are in love and then I get to celebrate with them! It’s truly the best work in the world. Plus, I have the opportunity to be creative, do research, and tell stories… my favorite things! 

I became a Life-Cycle Celebrant in 2008, after completing my professional studies through the Celebrant Foundation & Institute. One thing that motivated me to become a Life-Cycle Celebrant is that my husband and I had a tough time finding an officiant, since neither of us were religious. I found it frustrating that there were no options for us at the time. There weren’t many options for couples. You went to God’s house or the courthouse. We weren’t really keen on either of those ideas. We were lucky enough to eventually find a minister willing to give us a secular ceremony, but getting to that point was not pleasant. Years later, when I came across an article about training to become a professional Life-Cycle Celebrant, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”, says Vaughan who began her career a decade ago and has since married nearly 300 couples. Anita is especially proud that almost 50 of those clients have been same-sex couples. 

“My all-time favorite ceremony was at 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2011, when I officiated the first same-sex civil union ceremony in Chicago. I co-created the Under a New Moon wedding giveaway to celebrate same-sex unions becoming legal in IL. Six couples won a complete wedding, and I had the honor of officiating a group ceremony. It was truly one of the most moving experiences of my life!”

What Makes a Life-Cycle Celebrant a Wise Choice

“As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, my specialty is unique, completely customized ceremonies. I get to know my clients as individuals and as a couple, and create a ceremony that reflects their interests, backgrounds, and personalities. My ceremonies are non-religious ceremonies, but can still include family and cultural traditions.

I also tend to gravitate towards nerdy/geeky couples. Over the years, I’ve included lots of fun references, ranging from Disney movies to X-Files, and from Harry Potter to World of Warcraft” says Vaughan who also admits, “Nothing makes me happier than including a Doctor Who or Star Trek quote in a ceremony!

In terms of the ceremony, I love that couples feel more comfortable with being non-traditional. For example, one of my brides had a “Man of Honor” and a groom asked his sister to be his “Best Woman.” More couples are also including fun unity rituals and unique readings. It’s great!”

Though Anita doesn’t consider herself to be religious per se, her ceremonies may still include rituals and traditions to honor the clients’ faith if they prefer. Ultimately Anita makes her clients’ ceremony all about them and their personalities which is what make her services such a great choice for your wedding ceremony.

Rookery wedding ceremony officiant Anita Vaughan

Advice For Hiring a Wedding Celebrant

“I wish that every couple would remember that their wedding day is about THEM. They fell in love and made a choice to get married. So, enjoy it! The wedding is a time for celebration. Once the plans are made and everything is set, just relax. Let the people you’ve hired handle the details. Spend time with your family and friends and soak it all in. Have fun!

Before you meet with an officiant, talk to each other about what you want in a ceremony. Is it just something you need to get through so you can start the party? Do you want it to be personal? Do you like traditional or do you want something off-beat? You don’t need to have all the details figured out, but be sure to at least start the conversation before looking for an officiant.

When you’re ready to hire someone, be sure to meet with a potential officiant in person, if possible. Make sure they are a good fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

When asked how far in advance clients should contact her, Anita suggests, “A year is ideal, but I would suggest at least 6 months.

Couples usually find me online, or they are referred to me by other wedding vendors, venues, or past clients. When a couple contacts me, I email them with information about my services. If they’re interested in a consultation, I meet with them for coffee at Panera or somewhere similar. “

AnitaWeds is extremely proud of earning 100 all 5/5 Star Reviews on Learn more about commissioning Anita to perform your Chicago wedding ceremony at or contact her today at | 224-645-9217

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