— -- It took a motivational speaker with yo-yos to ordain the fate of Ashley King and Joel Burger when they were in the fifth-grade, now ending with a wedding sponsored by Burger King.
The two had met in the kindergarten in New Berlin, Illinois, but it wasn't until an assembly in the fifth-grade, when the pair were student council members who organized the gathering, that anyone had made a connection with their surnames. Someone had announced their names and council roles to the audience, and the yo-yo wielding man predicted what would come years later in a simple yet poetic fashion.
"He laughed and said, 'You guys are Burger King,'" King, 23, told ABC News. "We were just in the fifth-grade. I don’t think anybody was thinking about it."
The pair dated seven years or so through college and afterward, because she doesn't really count their high school dating period.
"If you ask Joel, he'll say seven. If you ask me, I’ll say six," King, a graduate assistant, said.
She went to University of Illinois-Springfield and he at Monmouth College. Burger, a 24-year old grain inspector, proposed in October. She said yes. They published an engagement announcement in their local newspaper the New Berlin Bee with a photo of the pair behind a Burger King sign.
"My mom said, 'You have to have your picture with the Burger King sign and everyone will find it hilarious,'" King said. "We wanted to have fun with it in our paper. It’s been a joke with everyone we knew for the past 18 years."
Another newspaper, The State Journal-Register, picked up their story. And things blew up for the future Mr. and Mrs. Burger King.
A Burger King representative told the pair via Skype Monday that the company will pick up the tab for their wedding. King declined to share details about the agreement, except that she gets to choose what the money will pay for; plus the company will provide for personalized yo-yos, drink koozies, Mason jars and Burger King crowns, all in gift bags.
Burger King did not respond to a request for comment.
King said nothing has changed yet in their wedding plans since they learned of their wedding sponsor. The couple had always planned a huge wedding for July 17 in Jacksonville, Illinois, and their guest list may reach 300 people, she said. They will have 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen.
"We both played sports in college so we really like our teammates," she said with a laugh.
She declined to share how big their wedding budget was or will be and how they had planned to pay for it in the first place. But she can say she and her fiance are thankful and "shocked."
"We didn’t really believe it at first. Joel kept asking if it was real or if they were joking. I couldn’t talk. We couldn’t help but laugh, because we were really excited and grateful that they thought to do this for us," she said.
Have they thought about their kids' names and will they share a hyphen in their future name together?
"We'll probably just be Burger," she said.