In the spirit of unconventionality, here is some news that made the Vietnamese English paper: NORMAL -- Paul and Caragh Brooks wanted an off-beat wedding and they got one Friday evening — at Taco Bell. |Photo gallery | Video
Caragh Brooks, dressed in a $15, hot pink dress, said her vows with Paul Brooks, who wore a lavender shirt and purple and magenta tie in honor of Taco Bell’s colors, in the dining area of the fast-food eatery at 1527 E. College Ave., Normal.
The entire wedding cost about $200.
“It’s appropriate,” the groom said of the Taco Bell choice. “It’s an off-beat relationship and we figured that would be off-beat.”
With several dozen invited guests in the room, the couple sat in a decorated booth with Ryan Green of Normal, a friend of theirs who became an ordained minister online. As Green, dressed in a T-shirt, officiated, they said the same vows.
“I promise to honor your life’s choices, comfort you in sorrow, celebrate in your joy and support your endeavors…,” they said. “Whatever the world brings, I take you as my partner.”
Business went on as usual in the front area of Taco Bell, and some customers in the Friday night supper rush stopped to watch.
Shortly before the ceremony, Kathy Brooks, the groom’s mother, said, “This is the way to go — there’s no stress.”
She said her son proposed on New Year’s Eve, and the wedding was planned in about a week. The couple bought wedding rings on clearance for 80 percent off, spending about $45 per ring.
Green told them they could have the ceremony anywhere they wanted, and he asked them where they’d like it to be.
Their answer was Taco Bell, where they enjoy hanging out.
Taco Bell employees jumped in with their own decorations, including paper bells previously used in a Peoria store promotion and streamers and balloons. They hunted through thousands of hot sauce packets to find the ones imprinted with the phrase, “Will You Marry Me?”
“I would never have expected in my life in working here there would be a wedding,” said Carl Hamlow, Taco Bell shift manager.
The groom’s parents, Larry and Kathy Brooks, Normal, brought in a cake, pink roses and plates and forks.
The couple “met” more than a year ago through an Internet dating site. Caragh Brooks, 21, was living in Australia; Paul, 30, was in Normal. (The bride and groom both were named Brooks, but they weren’t related.)
They talked online and on the phone for about nine months before she decided to move here.
“We’ve been together six months,” he said. “We have the same brain, just in two bodies. We think alike in virtually every manner; we have the same interests, viewpoints.”
The bride has a bachelor’s degree in art, design and writing. The groom is a professional videographer.
Her parents weren’t able to make the wedding but they gave the couple round-trip tickets to Australia as a wedding gift.