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Meet Anita Vaughan of AnitaWeds

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anita Vaughan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I had heard about people officiating wedding ceremonies and thought it sounded like something I would like to do. But, I was never comfortable with the idea of getting ordained online and offering my services without some kind of training. But, it was always in the back of my mind.

One day, in 2007, I was paging through a magazine and saw an article about the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, which offered professional certification programs. I knew this was it! I did some research and enrolled for the classes in the fall. The following year I graduated and created my first wedding ceremony.

At that time, there were only two other Life-Cycle Celebrants in the Chicago area. They graciously referred clients to me that first year, and my business steadily grew. This summer will be the 10 year anniversary of AnitaWeds!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I am so fortunate! The business road has been fairly smooth for me because, when I first started AnitaWeds, there were so few people offering completely custom, hand-crafted ceremonies. I found that the demand was there and I was able to fulfill a need. Definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.

There were, of course, some obstacles in spreading the word about Life-Cycle Celebrants. I still sometimes get a blank stare or a quizzical look when I tell people what I’m called. But, when I explain that I create and officiate ceremonies for people, it makes sense.

After 10 years of creating and officiating ceremonies, I find that more people are aware of what we offer, so I am lucky to be able to be selective in choosing clients that are a good fit.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I create completely customized ceremonies for people. Most of my work involves wedding ceremonies. I would say that my specialty in secular ceremonies that are non-traditional and include a bit of humor and fun.

My goal is to create a ceremony that is a reflection of the couple. The best compliment is when I hear a wedding guest say, “That was so THEM!”

I especially enjoy working with couples who want to include unique elements into the ceremony. From beer sharing to an orchid planting ritual, I like helping couples put their own unique twist on traditions.

I also love nerdy weddings. I have a collection of geeky references, ranging from Harry Potter to Star Trek to The Simpsons. And nothing would make me happier than to officiate a wedding in a comic shop!

In addition to weddings, I also create other ceremonies. My favorites are baby welcoming ceremonies – especially when the parents are my former wedding clients! I’ve also done a few memorial services and even a divorce ceremony!

What were you like growing up?
I was what we now call an “extroverted introvert.” I was very chatty and got to know many different people at school, but I loved to curl up with a book at home. I was content to stay in my room for hours, reading or writing poetry.

No one will believe this, but I admit that I spent the first 19 years of my life being terrified of speaking in public! There was no way you would have gotten me to speak in front of a group of people. But, I was planning to become an English teacher and had to take a speech class in college.

That class changed everything! It was terrible having to listen to recordings of my own voice, but it eventually gave me confidence. I found that, with preparation and practice, I became comfortable with speaking to an audience. And now, I love it!

I find that being a Life-Cycle Celebrant is a perfect blend of all my interests- meeting people, writing, being creative, and yes, even public speaking. But when I come home from a wedding, I need to decompress and enjoy the quiet – preferably with a good book and some snacks, or by watching a movie with my husband.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Leni Luxe Photography, Angel Eyes Photography, Tom Nicol Photography, John Hererra, Rebecca Marie Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Sarah N

    April 24, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Anita is absolutely the best. She officiated our wedding back in 2014. From the moment my wife and I met her, we knew it was a perfect fit. It was an incredible ceremony that included some traditional Ukrainian elements as well as our own “ring blessing”. We laughed, we cried, we got married. It was amazing. I would recommend for anyone wanting to make their wedding their own. We’re blessed to call her our friend to this day. 10/10 would have her marry us again. 😁

  2. Jaysin Osterkamp

    April 24, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Anita is the best. There is no substitution at all! She is amazing! Being a wedding cinematographer, I have had the joy to work with her, and as a groom in my own wedding, we had the absolute pleasure to work with her as our officiant. She genuiningly cares and listens and make your ceremony 100% you! Heck, we didn’t know what we wanted aside from a few small things, and she suggested some things for us, and those became the best parts of the whole thing!! Do yourself the favor and connect with Anita! Coming from both a groom she officiated for and someone who works in the wedding world, there is no better!!

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