Although the words white and castle are commonly associated with the word wedding, the two words together, White Castle, are not.
No one told that, however, to a happily and newly married couple from Kentucky, Craig and Kim Welby, who said their “I Dos” and pledged to spend the rest of their lives together, for better or worse, before 35 guests last Friday at the White Castle restaurant in Jeffersontown, Ky.
The wedding ceremony was not only non-traditional, it was also free for the couple who won it in a radio contest.
“We could not decide on how to actually get married,” Kim Welby, 40, told ABCNews.com. “He [Craig] wanted to get married on the beach and this is my second wedding so I didn’t want to have the big wedding at all.”
Welby had just said yes to her now-husband’s proposal a few weeks prior, Feb. 1, while the pair were cruising in Cozumel, Mexico. Once back on land, and back home in Jeffersontown, Welby heard the contest announced on a radio station and knew she had to enter.
“My mom and dad got engaged at a White Castle in Kentucky in 1969,” she said. “I included that story about my parents and I think that’s what won it for us.”
The Welbys handily beat, according to the radio station, the other 22 couples competing against each other in the online vote. Welby says her then-fiance, Craig, 41, was all for it, until he realized they were going to win.
“About a week before he said, ‘I know I agreed to do this but I didn’t think we’d really win,’” she said. “He told me after the wedding that he had to call his mom on the way to White Castle and have her calm him down because he was a nervous wreck.”
Also unsure about the “I Dos” at a burger joint were Welby’s two sons from her previous marriage, ages 17 and 14.
“At first they were so embarrassed that their mom was getting married at White Castle, but once they saw it they came around,” she said. “There was nothing cheesy about it. It was a very nice wedding.”
The radio station, Louisville’s 98.9 Radio Now, provided the couple with a $500 gift certificate to a jeweler, flowers courtesy of a florist, their DJ who became ordained for the event and the services of a photographer.
White Castle, of course, took care of the food – all-you-can-eat burgers, French fries, chicken wings, onion rings and even fish for those celebrating Lent – and sparkling cider, skipping the traditional champagne toast due to liquor laws.
The cake was supplied by a culinary arts school, but was made in the shape of a giant White Castle hamburger.
“I’ve already told Craig that every year on our anniversary I’m going to have them make me a small White Castle cake,” Kim said. “We’ll probably go and eat at that exact White Castle every year too.”
Kim said that many of her friends and coworkers, even after voting for the couple online, joked before the big day that it was going to be a “redneck wedding.” After, she said, their minds were changed.
“I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said. “It was so not a White Castle wedding.”
The couple and their friends and family had such a good time that they’ll likely be back in six years to celebrate another milestone, her parents’ anniversary.
“The people there from White Castle told my dad they’d be more than happy to do a vow renewal for their 50th anniversary,” Kim said. “We’re already excited about that.”