'Every princess wants to get married in a (White) castle'

News-DemocratFebruary 14, 2014 

A wedding at White Castle?

Sure, why not? After all, "Every princess wants to get married in a castle," said Kelsey Hallcock, now Kelsey Gillespie.

She married Joe Gillespie Friday at the White Castle in Belleville Crossing Shopping Center as part of a promotion sponsored by St. Louis radio station Z107.7.

The Belleville couple met 3 1/2 years ago in a math class at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville.

"We were both bad at math," Joe remembered in his vows, a copy of which he read from his cell phone.

But together they made a winning equation.

"I don't mind sitting on a couch watching Netflix with you until we grow old," Kelsey told Joe.

Their first date was at White Castle; ever since they have frequented the 93-year-old restaurant chain.

"He always joked that he was going to propose at White Castle and I said I wasn't going to get married at White Castle," Kelsey said.

But when the radio station announced the contest to win a free wedding, Kelsey sent in an entry.

"I just talked about how it had been a big part of our lives, especially since I got pregnant," Kelsey said. "They really grew with us."

Kelsey, 23, and Joe, 29, had been wanting to get married for a while but were waiting until they could save up some money. The chance to get married for free pushed up their wedding date.

Their son, Samuel, age 5 months, wasn't there for the ceremony.

"His Valentine's date was with a baby sitter," Joe said.

The restaurant was filled with red hearts and cupids, a photo booth to take pictures of guests and flower-covered tables.

They also were taking reservations for romantic dinners later in the day.

Two other weddings were planned for Friday in White Castles across the St. Louis area. Everything was free except the rings.

Other couples around the region also took advantage of the day of love to get hitched.

At the St. Clair County Courthouse, judges performed 17 marriages. In Madison County, 20 were scheduled with four judges working to get them all done.

Joe and Kelsey received free photography services and an amazing dessert. Jilly's in St. Louis supplied cupcakes in the shape of miniature sliders.

"That makes me happy," Joe said, after seeing the desserts.

Curt Copeland officiated at the ceremony. His day job is as the afternoon on-air personality at the radio station.

He said he has a license to perform marriages from the New Life Church in Modesto, Calif.

"This is No. 5 for me," he said. "It's a fun thing to be a part of."

The restaurant was closed to dining during the ceremony but orders kept coming through the drive-in speakers.

Afterwards there were White Castle appetizers for everyone and sliders all around.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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