Eliza Wilde always thought she would get married at Moonlight Fields Wedding in Lexington next year. It seemed like a perfect place where she and her fiance Jon Kenyon would start their life together.
But then an idea started to form in her mind of how to surprise Jon.
It all started when Jon surprised her with his proposal on July 17th.
Eliza was in the military and when she left she attended Berea College, and one of her favorite places is Pinnacles, a place where people can hike the trails for over three hours.
Jon knew it was his favorite place, and he also knew that as a child, Eliza loved VeggiTales, stories about vegetables that interacted and promoted Christian values.
Among the characters, Eliza always joked that anyone who proposed to her should be dressed as Larry the Cucumber. In July, Eliza was planning on doing a sunrise hike to the Pinnacles, so one day she and Jon got up very early and climbed the mountain.
“The view was spectacular, and we were there, as the sun was coming up, and it was breathtaking and magical,” recalls Eliza. “Then Jon said ‘Oh, what is this?’ And I looked and there’s Larry the cucumber coming out of the woods! When I looked at Jon, he was on his knees, and he asked me to marry him. There was also a photographer, and then we Went to the Boone Tavern, and about 30 friends and family were there to help us celebrate! It was so much fun! “
That’s when Eliza became determined to surprise Jon too.
Instead of Moonlight Fields, they would get married at Cici’s Pizza in Florence.
Whenever they are in the area, they eat there.
As Eliza is older than Jon and expects her to have a hard time having children, so the two have decided to get married this year instead of next year, so that they can start in vitro treatments.
She falsely put a plan in place for them to get married at the Lexington courthouse on Tuesday, but the day before, Monday, the couple would dress up and visit Cici in Florence.
Eliza made inquiries with Cici to make sure that a wedding ceremony would take place there.
Not only did Cici’s management approve his request, but President and COO Jeff Hetsel is an ordained minister and flew to officiate at the ceremony.
The Cici’s franchise in Florence is owned by Rob Pfeiffer and David Squibb, who set everything up, ordered the flowers, laid out tablecloths, decorated lights and balloons in Eliza’s favorite colors, and made a gigantic pizza for meat lovers, which is Jon’s favorite.
The couple first met at Embassy Suites in Lexington Green where they both worked, Eliza at the front desk and Jon as a bartender.
“He was my confidant, my friend,” she recalls. “But after my birthday in 2018, he joined the group of us at the restaurant, and as I ate his cheese fries, I started to realize that he was someone I loved. little one, we started dating and we fell in love. “
Eliza wore a formal teal dress and her mom delivered a teal shirt for Jon.
Company president and wedding officiant Jeff Hetsel arrived from Dallas and rushed to bake a cinnamon wedding cake.
“At first we were just supposed to do the reception, but then some people realized that I was a minister, and they wondered if we could do everything,” Hetsel explained. “I will be marrying my son and his fiancee very soon, but this will be Cici’s first marriage. My wife and I got married thirty years ago on a pier in Fort Lauderdale, so ours was not a traditional wedding. at church, but it’s very special. “
The wedding went according to plan.
Jon was very surprised, and they both left to change, and with a handshake and love in their eyes, they said “yes” and exchanged rings.
The post-wedding reception included champagne and pizza for 100 guests.
“Every year at our conference we have what we call crazy stories, where something happened in one place or another that shows how much we love being community driven,” Hetsel said. . “I think this story will be hard to beat. It’s just a really great story.”
Cici’s Pizza was founded in 1985 and is an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet.
The couple have started a GoFundMe account in case anyone wants to donate for their IVF trip or anything else along the way, at https://gofund.me/e424b4f3.
Story and photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN collaborator