Traditional weddings are often elaborate events that take months to plan and involve considerable expense. Not everyone who is in a committed relationship wants or needs that kind of event.
For those looking to tie the knot or renew vows in a simpler but still special event, one local woman may have just the thing.
Jodi Libretti is collaborating with Ravisloe Country Club, already a wedding destination, to conduct what she believes may be the first group wedding in Homewood.
On Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, Libretti will conduct a wedding and vow renewal service for up to 20 couples.
She said she was inspired by a video featuring an annual group wedding at Loveland, Colorado, which bills itself as the Sweetheart City and does brisk business as a wedding destination. She thought Homewood could play a similar role for the South Suburbs and contacted Johanna Morawski of Ravisloe Country Club to see if it could be done.
"It looked like it was so much fun," Libretti said of the Colorado group weddings.
What intrigued her most were interviews with couples in the Loveland wedding who said they had intended to get married but didn't have the time or resources to plan a traditional ceremony. The group wedding made marriage accessible for them.
"I just think we have a lot of love in our community," Libretti said. "This could be fun to do as an annual event."
Ravisloe, with its 1917 mission-style clubhouse, already hosts about 30 weddings a year, Morawski said, so the group wedding seemed like a good fit.
"When Jodi approached me I thought it was such a neat idea," Morawski said.
The event from 4 to 6 p.m. will include a secular ceremony that will simultaneously wed the participating couples.
Libretti is a certified life-cycle celebrant. Her training at the Celebrant Foundation and Institute included study on the role of ceremonies throughout history and how to create and officiate ceremonies.
She noted that anyone getting married at the event will need to obtain a marriage license from Cook County prior to the date. Those couples renewing vows will not need to obtain a license.
All couples are welcome, she said.
The event will cost $425 per couple. That will include the officiant's signature on a marriage license or vow renewal certificate. Each couple can invite two witnesses.
Live music will be provided by pianist Chris Ussery. Cupcakes will come from Walt's Food Center bakery. Flowers will come from Homewood Florist and photos will be taken by Thomas Killoran Photography.
Tickets should be purchased by Feb. 7 at saywedo.eventbrite.com.
Although tickets cover the couple and two witnesses, Morawski said the room is large enough to hold more people, so other friends and family members can attend, too.