Eli Holbrook really loves his local Waffle House.
Before joining the Marines out of high school, Eli was a regular at the South Cumberland Street location in his hometown of Lebanon, Tennessee. His first stateside meal after being deployed in Japan was even under those same bright yellow lights.
His wife Mary Cate told NewsNation that Waffle House is Eli’s “favorite place to be.” Since the beginning of their relationship, he would tease her by asking if they could have the breakfast chain cater their wedding one day. So, when they got engaged, Mary Cate said she knew she had to find a way to incorporate Waffle House into their nuptials.
“After getting engaged, I quickly realized how much attention goes into the bride, and the groom seems to fade into the background, not really being heard or thought of much during the planning process,” Mary Cate told NewsNation. “The eyes are on the bride. I wanted my groom to feel just as special.”
Mary Cate decided to surprise her groom with a wedding reception at his favorite restaurant. After their backyard ceremony on October 29, she told Eli they were headed to Waffle House.
“He didn’t believe us at first. He thought we were just picking at him until we actually got in our cars to head that way,” Mary Cate told the outlet. “He continued to ask if I was serious until we pulled in and he saw the rest of our family setting up the tables inside.”
Staff at the Waffle House on South Cumberland Street went above and beyond to smother and cover Eli and Mary Cate with love.
Their photographer, Jessica Hamblen, told NewsNation that staff “shut the whole restaurant down, gave them name tags, coffee cups, hats, made a hash brown heart, and sang ‘Fancy Like’ by Walker Hayes, changing Applebee’s in the song to Waffle House.”
Mary Cate said that they even let her stepfather “live out his bucket list request” of calling out the food orders to the cooks.
Now that’s what we call a party.