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Couple weds in parking lot of fast food eatery
Cow is best man for windy wedding outside Chick-fil-A
Chickfila Wed 5 es
Sheila Chitwood, mother of the bride, applauds her daughter, Ann, and new son-in-law, Shaun Benfield, on Friday as Chick-fil-A employees Robin Millwood, background, and Maria Bagwell look on at the restaurant in Cumming. Ann and Shaun got married in the parking lot at lunchtime. - photo by Emily Saunders

When she was a little girl, Ann Chitwood never dreamed she would get married in a parking lot.

But Friday, the 23-year-old Dawsonville resident did just that.

Chitwood and her 28-year-old fiancé, Shaun Benfield, tied the knot outside the Chick-fil-A in the Lanier Crossing shopping center in Cumming.

"This was not how I had imagined it, but it was much more fun than any wedding possible and a lot cheaper," Chitwood said.

She and Benfield said they made the "spur of the moment" decision to marry outside the eatery after their original plans fell through.

The couple planned to be married by a judge Friday, only to learn that morning their appointment had not been scheduled and the judge was off that day.

With plans to travel that night to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for their honeymoon, Benfield and Chitwood needed some help.

Chitwood's mother made a phone call to a friend whose nephew, Blake Samples, agreed to marry them on his lunch break.

Samples is a licensed preacher, though not for a specific church.

Chitwood said the fast food restaurant was a convenient location for everybody involved, though it came together so quickly only her mother was able to attend.

They were joined for the chilly, outdoor ceremony by a Chick-fil-A cow, dressed as Santa, who Benfield didn't mind having as his best man.

"We didn't know the cow was going to be here," Benfield said. "It was a bonus."

Chick-fil-A employee Robin Millwood was a witness to the unusual, wind-swept ceremony.

"It was pretty neat," she said.

Perhaps the ceremony was appropriate, given that the newlyweds' relationship got off to an unconventional start.

The couple met about three years ago when Chitwood responded to an online ad Benfield posted for dirt bike racing tickets.

"I wanted to go to Supercross so I used him for his tickets," she joked.

The bride didn't wear a veil and gown Friday, but was dressed in a white blouse and brown pants. Instead of a tuxedo, the groom wore a blue and white striped button-down shirt and khaki pants.

In lieu of traditional wedding cake, they split a Chick-fil-A brownie with ice cream.