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10 Wedding Ceremonies That Were Anything but Ordinary
When you think of the perfect location for your dream wedding ceremony, what places come to mind? A church setting centered around your faith? A white sandy beach? A garden or park surrounded by nature?
While these locations are certainly some of the most common, the final decision for most couples also tends to revolve around their own personal circumstances. Yet even with that in mind, couples typically do not think of pledging their eternal love for one another in a NASCAR pit stop, while walking down the condiment aisle of the local grocery store, or in front of 50,000 strangers.
However, although these scenarios might seem far-fetched, the couples on this list chose to do just that and opt for a much more unconventional route on their big day. From tying the knot in under ten seconds to tweeting their “I do’s” to eloping at a rock concert and even marrying a tree, here are ten wedding ceremonies that were anything but ordinary.
10 Ten-Second NASCAR Nuptials
On August 8, 2023, Anheuser-Busch announced an opportunity for couples across the United States who were 21 years and older to get married at “NASCAR speed” as part of the Busch Light Pit Stop Wedding Contest in honor of Kevin Harvick’s final race in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tori Lindsay and Nick Brendel, committed NASCAR fans who also got engaged at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, were chosen as the lucky winners of the contest. So, on October 15, 2023, as Kevin Harvick made his pit stop during the South Point 400 NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the couple exchanged their vows next to Harvick’s pit box in what has been dubbed the “fastest wedding imaginable.”
For the ceremony, Lindsay donned a white NASCAR racing suit with a veil wrapped around her waist and carried a bouquet of white roses decorated with Busch Light beer cans. Brendel, on the other hand, chose a white button-up shirt, tie, and boutonniere that he wore under a NASCAR jacket and matching pants.
With actor Gerald Downey—the “Busch Guy”—as the wedding officiant and serenaded by roaring engines, the couple said their “I do’s” in front of approximately 80,000 “guests” in just under 10 seconds.
9 Tying the Knot on Twitter
Cengizhan Celik and Candan Canik of Turkey “wanted to have a little surprise” during their wedding ceremony, and they did so in what is believed to be the first ceremony conducted via Twitter (now known as X).
Celik, a social media editor for the news website ensonhaber.com, and his bride incorporated the microblogging site into their ceremony on September 2, 2012, by having Mustafa Kara, the mayor of Istanbul’s Uskudar district, officiating the ceremony with a tweet to the bride and groom asking if they took each other to be husband and wife.
The couple then passed an iPad between them and tapped out their “I do’s,” each tweeting “evet,” the Turkish word for “yes,” and sending their vows out into the void. The couple’s witnesses also conducted their roles through the social media platform.
While the couple may have proved that they needed far less than 140 characters to express their eternal love for one another, the online ceremony culminated in Kara handing the couple a marriage certificate, which they later signed the old-fashioned way.
8 Tree-Mendous Ceremony for a Good Cause
Sixty-year-old Karen Cooper of Fort Myers, Florida, heard that the city was planning to cut down a 100-year-old ficus tree that has shaded and been the focal point of Snell Family Park for more than a century. It turns out that Cooper was willing to go out on a limb to save the beloved tree—quite literally.
The tree has an 8,000-foot (2,438-meter) canopy that extends into a neighboring lot that was listed for sale at $1 million. It soon became the center of a neighborhood controversy when the Fort Myers city staff began discussing cutting it down in 2017. In December 2017, the city’s public works department approved the tree’s removal. Then, in February 2018, the board went on to discuss spending $13,000 to cut the tree down and replace it with smaller ones.
Therefore, in an attempt to save the century-old tree, Cooper held a ceremony on March 24, 2018, to wed the tree during a community event.
Cooper’s friend and maid of honor, Ann Cason, walked Cooper and her ring bearer, a dog named Little Bear, down a makeshift aisle to stand in front of the tree. As many as 80 people from the neighborhood came out to witness the waterfront nuptials, where vows were read by the event’s disc jockey. Although there were no actual rings or priest present, the community celebrated as Cooper vowed “to protect and preserve and celebrate” the tree. The nuptials included flowers, music, a tree-decorated wedding cake, and mimosas.
The “tree-mendous” ceremony was a success. On March 27, 2018, the Beautification Advisory Board of Fort Myers decided to spare the tree.
7 “Everlong” Love
Texas couple Belinda Marie Ramos and Tony Rosales credited the Foo Fighters hit song “Everlong” for sparking their relationship. In fact, they claimed that although they were just friends at the time, the song caused a “rush of emotions” in Rosales, ultimately leading him to realize he was in love with Ramos.
Rosales later proposed on January 1, 2018, and the couple set their wedding date for May 4, 2019, as they both are also Star Wars fans.
However, after putting down a deposit for their venue, inviting guests, and even purchasing a $2,000 wedding dress, the couple decided to elope instead, opting for a ceremony at an upcoming Foo Fighters concert.
Through the concert event page, Ramos was able to connect with a woman named Phoebe, who was ordained and agreed to meet with them during the show. The couple arrived at the concert on April 21, 2018, at the Starplex Pavilion in Dallas, Texas, and Ramos made sure to inform the venue staff of the couple’s marriage plans. Not only did the staff accommodate them in getting a set list, but they also received a special pass for their officiant, Phoebe, to come to their VIP seats when “Everlong” was to be played.
As frontman Dave Grohl sang the song’s opening lines, the couple exchanged rings and got married in a sea of people. They then shared their first kiss as husband and wife as the crowd let out a big cheer. The romantic moment was captured on video and later posted to Twitter, where the couple revealed their union was indeed legal.
6 Oh, Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven
Myrtle Bond and Owen “Jack” Tate had been friends since childhood and went on to date each other for a short period of time during the 1980s. Unfortunately, the two lost touch for almost a decade, until one fateful morning when Tate walked into a Richmond, Virginia, 7-Eleven store at 3 am for a cup of coffee, where Bond just so happened to be working as a cashier.
That 7-Eleven meeting was all that it took for the two to rekindle their romance, and after dating for a couple of months, Tate suggested they get married. However, Tate’s wedding plans were anything but ordinary as he wanted to get married inside the lucky 7-Eleven, where the long-lost loves had found each other once again. Naturally, Bond was initially a bit hesitant but agreed to the idea.
So on December 14, 1996, Bond was walked down the aisle of cereal, crackers, and candy by her manager Pat Stutz as Tate and Reverend Paul Richardson waited by the Big Gulp and Slurpee fountains.
The convenience store stayed open and conducted business as usual, with one customer pumping gas and another coming inside to purchase lottery tickets and cigarettes during the couple’s 10-minute ceremony.
5 Wedding Bells and Sleigh Bells
Forty-two-year-old Eric Daniel, a videography teacher, part-time actor, and former Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s deputy, met 40-year-old Joy Richter, a registered nurse, on a dating app after years of being unlucky in love.
After their first meeting in 2021, Daniel said he knew immediately that he was going to marry Richter. And in May 2022, Daniel proposed after a Kane Brown concert in Tampa, Florida.
Despite the joyous occasion, Daniel and Richter were “not people who crave the spotlight,” so they opted for a quiet, private elopement in either Savannah, Georgia, or Charleston, South Carolina. However, the couple’s plans for a small elopement quickly changed after speaking with their wedding officiant, Pastor Crystal Porter, who informed them about a contest for a free wedding ceremony at Lakeland’s 41st annual Christmas Parade.
The couple won the contest, and on December 1, 2022, Daniel and Richter stood on top of a Christmas parade float with a preacher, their friends, and family. As the float passed the parade judges’ stand, they were pronounced husband and wife. Ironically, the couple who planned to elope were married in front of an estimated 50,000 people who showed up for the annual event.
4 Here Comes the Bride, Down the Condiment Aisle
On August 3, 2021, Brenda Williams made a trip to the Fry’s Food and Drug store in Casa Grande, Arizona, in search of Miracle Whip. However, while searching aisle 8 for the sandwich spread, she found her future husband.
Dennis Delgado, who was getting olive oil mayonnaise, walked up behind Williams and said, “You know the best thing about wearing a mask? You could pass these [people] not wearing a mask and cuss them out under your breath; they don’t hear a word you’re saying.” The witty exchange led to a 30-minute conversation, and the two later exchanged phone numbers.
Williams had lost her husband of 30 years to prostate cancer two years prior, and Delgado had lost his wife of 45 years a year prior. Yet despite his grief, Delgado joined Williams at church the following Sunday, and as the two grew closer, they helped heal each other’s broken hearts.
Then, in April 2022, Delgado proposed to Wiliams in the exact spot where they first met.
On November 19, 2022, 72-year-old Williams walked down the condiment aisle again, but this time to get married. Williams was hidden in the aisle next to the condiment aisle and then walked down aisle 8, where 78-year-old Delgado waited for his bride as the wedding march played over the store’s loudspeakers. The couple was joined by family, friends, and fellow shoppers for the ceremony, and the Fry’s staff even provided custom floral arrangements, which included Miracle Whip and mayonnaise.
Miracle Whip got word of the couple’s story approximately one week after their wedding and offered to treat them to a honeymoon.
3 Ten-Year-Old with Cancer Gets Her Dream Wedding
Ten-year-old Emma Edwards of Walnut Cove, North Carolina, had one dream—to be a mom, start a family, and marry her childhood sweetheart, Daniel Marshall Christopher Williams Jr, aka DJ. In fact, the young couple had even attempted to hold a wedding ceremony on the premises of their elementary school, but the “wedding” was ultimately shut down by their teacher.
Unfortunately, Edwards’s dream of getting married and starting a family began to seem less realistic after she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a quickly progressing disease in which white blood cells are found in the bone marrow—in April 2022.
Edwards underwent treatments for leukemia for approximately one year, and her parents, Alina and Aaron Edwards, remained hopeful that their little girl would beat the cancer. But in June 2023, the doctors informed them that Edwards’s illness was incurable.
It was then that DJ and his mother suggested that the young couple get “married” and pledge their affection for one another during the time they had left. On June 29, 2023, a brief ceremony was held in Edwards’s grandmother’s garden with around 100 guests in attendance.
Sadly, on July 11, 2023, 12 days after the ceremony, Edwards passed away.
2 Making the Most of the Last Day of School
After dating for 15 years, 56-year-old Jeff Vest, a social studies teacher at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and 49-year-old Kari Bordner, a guidance counselor at the same high school, finally decided to tie the knot.
However, rather than making a huge deal or spending a lot of money, the couple opted for a last-minute “no frills” ceremony. In fact, the couple sent out invitations online the night of May 28, 2019, for their ceremony, which was to be held the following day.
On May 29, 2019, the couple exchanged vows at the half-court line in the school’s gymnasium. Not only was this their wedding day, but it was also the last day of school and Vest’s last day working due to early retirement. So the couple certainly had a lot to celebrate.
1 Drive Thru, Say “I Do”
Stephanie Garcia and Phil Hammond of Cambridge, Ontario, met in 2007 while working as McDonald’s crew members. Their relationship grew over the next 14 years as they welcomed four children together, one they even named Little Mac in reference to the McDonald’s Big Mac.
While the couple definitely wanted to get married, conflicting work schedules at McDonald’s, four children, and then COVID continued to push their plans of matrimony further and further out of reach.
However, when McDonald’s offered a “Drive-thru Say I Do” contest giving couples a chance to get married under the Golden Arches, Garcia eagerly applied and was selected as a winner.
On August 24, 2021, the couple drove their Mustang to the first drive-thru window of a McDonald’s in Cambridge, where they said their vows and were pronounced husband and wife as family and friends cheered them on from the parking lot. They then moved to the outdoor patio area, where they shared their first meal as a married couple. Stephanie had a 10-piece chicken nugget meal, and Phil had a Big Mac and fries.