For one local couple wedded bliss took place in an unusual place, not too far from where the relationship got its start.
On Thursday, Jennifer Parks and Robert Garcia said “I do” with a small crowd of family and friends beneath the neon lights of the Iguana Mojado Cantina at local restaurant, Mi Familia.
“We met sitting right here,” Parks said just before the ceremony, as she greeted co-workers and others to her not-so-ordinary wedding. “I don’t remember what day but it was three months ago.”
Complete with a “bar maid of honor,” Morgan Simmons, the couple’s new friend after the bartender introduced the two, the couple exchanged vows while seated at the same two bar stools they occupied when they struck up their first conversation.
“He saw her across the bar and said, ‘what’s up with those girls over there?’ and that’s how it began,” said Simmons.
According to Garcia, who admits he is often shy, he saw his future wife sitting across the room with a beautiful smile and decided to pull up a chair.
“She just smiled at me and gave me a little wave. I was sitting with some co-workers and they (Parks and friends) invited us over to their table,” Garcia recalls. “So, I went over and sat next to her … that’s how it all started.”
While many couples opt to go all out with their wedding ceremonies, the new Mr. and Mrs. Garcia chose to start their life together right where it all began, said Parks. “We picked this bar because this is where me met. Both of us have been married before so we said let’s do something simple.”
Garcia says his bride-to-be suggested the location and decided to go right along with her plans.
As the couple held each other’s hands Rev. Tommy Hillerd led the ceremony and exchanging of rings - which also bear engraved iguanas to remind the couple of where and when they met. They still make the restaurant their regular lunch stop and have made several friends in the staff at Mi Familia.
“The ‘bar maid of honor,’ she’s one of my best friends,” said Parks, “and I’m sure we’re going to have to tell this story over and over again about where we got married.”
Simmons, a part-time bartender at the Iguana Mojado Cantina, says this is the first wedding she’s witnessed at a bar. “In Stephenville, anything can happen … we’ve got aliens and people getting married in bars, but meeting in a bar is nothing unusual. People meet and talk, and get together all the time. I never thought they’d get married though. It’s wonderful.”
The bar maid of honor said she received a call from Parks on Monday to say she was getting married. “They’re great. I think somehow they found each other and true love at Mi Familia.”
Following their wedding ceremony the couple says they will now leave behind Parks’ hometown for the mountains, with a move planned to Grand Junction, Colo., but it’s a guarantee they won’t forget where their marriage began.