Santa to marry his helpers at Maplewood Mall

5:13 PM, Dec 2, 2010   |    comments
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MAPLEWOOD, Minn. -- Children around the world know that good things come from the jolly-old-wish-granter dressed in red at the shopping center.

But at Maplewood Mall, one of Santa's helpers has a wish this Christmas too.

"It's about to fulfilled though," says Shawn Sherman. "That's all I wanted."

For three Christmases, Sherman has worked on the mall's Santa set with Kayla Schluter. She takes the pictures of children on Santa's lap and he collects the money for the photos.

They make a good team - enough so, that last May Sherman asked Schluter to marry him. "He actually asked me at the mall in front of our whole family. It caught me pretty off guard," said the bride-to-be.

Off guard, the way some Christmas shoppers may be caught, when they walk into the mall on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and see Santa Claus performing the wedding ceremony.

"I can tell they're good for each other," said "Santa" Rick Bestler, who first sought his license to perform marriages several years ago so he could conduct his son's ceremony.

"Kayla and Shawn, they want a wish and Santa's going to try to grant it for them," smiled Santa Rick as the couple worked nearby.

"You only get married once," said Sherman, "and we wanted something as creative and as magical as possible, and we thought of this."

Michelle Sherman, the mother of the groom, is also manager of the Santa set where the romance grew. "Our magic is creating smiles, and that's what we do, and that's what they do," she said. "They're a very happy couple."

The bride and groom are young -- he's 19 and she's 18 -- but they have an older friend and adviser. "Well, I'm constantly giving them advice," laughs Santa Rick.

Sherman and Schluter say they have come to look up to Santa Rick during their Christmases working together.

"It's where we love to be," says Sherman. "It's what we know. We're so comfortable here."

Santa is still taking orders for dolls and trucks, but this year at Maplewood Mall, he's also delivering matrimony. 


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