CAMBRIDGE – They met at McDonald’s, worked there for 14 years, conceived four children out of mutual love of fries and Big Macs, and nicknamed their eldest son “Little Mac” before someone came to their senses and changes its name to Brayden.
And at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, as one of the two lucky winners of the contest, they will bond not only to each other, but – symbolically – to the fast food giant who oversaw their entire relationship.
“Absolutely, that doesn’t fit my idea of the perfect marriage,” notes Stephanie Garcia, the Cambridge woman who will be celebrating her nuptials to Phil Hammond as she walks past a drive-thru window at the Hespeler Road franchise location before eat with guests on a McD’s aromatic assortment.
“But it’s probably the better adjust.”
The best fit, she admits, is anything that can be crammed into her relentlessly busy schedule which – with four kids ages 10 and under – sees her with Hammond affectionately greeting her at the door as they work shifts. working opposites, including weekends, juggling childcare in a way that has kept a good marriage on the back burner for a decade and a half.
“(My fiance) says we’re getting married and he’s always saved up for a ring,” says Garcia, a model of marital patience.
“But, you know, kids are expensive. And that has never been a high priority over everything you have to do. We bought a house two years ago, so the money went, obviously, rather than a ring. “
What McDonald’s offered with its contest – “a chance to drive and say ‘yes’ with your boo” – is a fast food micro-wedding perfectly suited to this nervous post-pandemic environment.
It’s small and compact.
No one has to get out of their car.
The non-denominational celebrant – no, not Mayor McCheese – will oversee the service from the drive-thru window, serving the bride and groom with a steaming order of holy marriage.
Then, guests will feast on McChicken This and McDouble That in a burger, McFrenzy lick chicken while a free wedding photographer and videographer documents the occasion (provided The Hamburglar doesn’t show up and steal all).
“I thought I would be excited for a McDonald’s wedding, but like, I really a mNotes Garcia, whose winning essay expressed his love for Hammond and the world’s largest restaurant chain as part of his extended McFamily.
“Mainly because we finally have the opportunity! We’re like, why not? Let’s just do it.
The “perfect wedding,” it turns out, was never fully fleshed out anyway – Garcia had vague ideas about a dress and walking down an aisle, but I didn’t feel any visceral excitement until the topic from Chicken McNuggets be addressed.
“I’m a nugget girl,” she enthuses. “On the way to the hospital to deliver Brayden, we actually stopped to say hello to everyone and grab some nuggets. “
The work had already started. She had an IV in her arm. “But anyway, we were passing McDonald’s,” she laughed, “so I said, ‘Stop! “”
As our interview continues, I hear her children bustling about in the background, a chorus of adrenalized excitement punctuated by occasional yapping.
At one point, a fiery five-year-old girl pokes her head in front of the camera asking for instructions on how to reheat a burger in the microwave.
“How far does say booguh go in fah?” »Asks the little voice
“Thirty seconds!” his mother answers patiently.
“OK, so thwee. . . ? “
“… zero,” Garcia said.
“Thwee zewo” repeats the small voice.
“Good work!” his mom said. “But brace yourself, you might have to pull it off a bit sooner, okay?” ”
She’s not sure the burger is from McDonald’s – “Maybe it was. She took it from the fridge.
But at the very least, it’s a sign of its commitment to the benevolent fast food giant, even during its off-peak hours.
“If it hadn’t been for McDonald’s, who knows where we would have been at this point?” muse Garcia, who believes that with conflicting work schedules and ongoing COVID restrictions, her marriage could have been delayed indefinitely.
“I’m grateful that this is even an option. With the way the world is right now, there are a lot of people who have had to push back. “