Nation & World

This Walmart lesbian wedding is melting hearts: 'just beautiful' and 'the best thing'

It is rare, says Walmart, for a wedding ceremony to take place in one of its stores. But it made perfect sense for Pennsylvania Walmart employees Leida Torres and Chrissy Slonaker Torres.
It is rare, says Walmart, for a wedding ceremony to take place in one of its stores. But it made perfect sense for Pennsylvania Walmart employees Leida Torres and Chrissy Slonaker Torres. Twitter/@joshkeown

It's safe to say that no one walked into Walmart in York., Pa. on Saturday with "attend a wedding" on their shopping list.

But they found one, back in the Garden Center, where store employees Leida Torres and Chrissy Slonaker Torres said "I do" in a wedding gown and formal wear while standing under a patio canopy.

Customers could not believe what they were seeing.

They went "oooh" and "ahhhh" as the bride walked down the aisles.

The happy couple told the York Daily Record that they met while working together at the store and when they realized they were soulmates and not simply workmates, they decided in December to marry.

At first they planned a small, quiet ceremony at home. But when they started making the guest list they realized many co-worker friends who had watched their relationship blossom wouldn't be able to attend because of the staffing demands of the 24-hour store.

Slonaker Torres wondered if they could just get married at the store.

“I just told her, ‘Let’s do it,’” Torres told the newspaper. “Our Walmart family has been so supportive. Why not?”

The store manager and the home office signed off on the plan, and the rest became Twitter history.

It's not like they had to go far for the wedding supplies. The canopy, a pretty rug, flowers, patio furniture for guests to sit on were all there.

More than 100 family members, co-workers and customers watched.

Hours later the women posted photos on social media and realized customers had already posted pictures. Their little Walmart wedding had gone viral.

They also found the online trolls who called them rednecks, who made nasty comments about same-sex marriage and who suggested they were cheap or on drugs to get married at Walmart.

"There was a bunch of hateful things," Slonaker Torres told The Philly Voice. "But they didn't know the real story.

"You can't just make assumptions about people. It wasn't a bad thing. It wasn't because we're cheap. Yes, we're both women, but love is love and there's no right or wrong to it. Don't judge books by their covers. When it comes to love and unconditional love, what Leida and I have is unconditional."

Robb Green, known in the area as "The Marrying Mayor," officiated the wedding and said he was impressed by the support a same-sex, mixed-race couple — each with children of their own — received from their friends and co-workers.

After the women filled out their marriage documents in the employees' lounge they walked through the store talking to fellow employees who didn't get to see the ceremony.

"Everybody felt so positive about them. It was just an outpouring of sincere wishes that this family grows," Green told the Philly Voice.

"People need to be inclusive, not exclusive. That's how the people that work there feel, and the way the youth are in York County and all over Pennsylvania.

"Things change, and they change for the better. It's just a matter of time when something like this will be just another blip in the world."

For now, though, a wedding at Walmart grabs a lot of attention.

But lest other brides start getting ideas, a Walmart spokeswoman told the Philly Voice that the in-store ceremony was "a rarity" that happened because the women met at work and wanted to share their special day with co-workers.

Walmart managed to squeeze a little fun out of the day, too, tweeting on Monday: "If you got married at Walmart, which section would it be in?"

The woman plan to honeymoon soon in Atlantic City. But Torres told her hometown newspaper that she doesn't need to roll the dice anymore.

“I feel lucky to have her in my life,” she said. “Nobody cares so much about me, other than her. I won big in life.”