Embassy Suites, the Mall, and Market Research

T. H. McClung, she/her(s)
4 min readAug 31, 2021

Tale of a Honeymoon

Photo by Sunyu Kim on Unsplash

The first place Hubby and I went on our honeymoon was to the mall. It was the day after our wedding and the day before we left town for our trip to Walt Disney World. If you knew nothing else about us, I am assuming that just these two facts would be enough to inform you of how young we were.

At the time (when I was 18) I thought the fanciest hotel in the entire world was Embassy Suites. So, that is where Hubby booked us for two nights. This way we had a nice place to go after the wedding and nowhere to be the next day. I can only imagine what Hubby had thought that day would be like. And, I don’t imagine that he expected what actually happened.

We got hungry. And, even at 18 you can only have so much sex before wanting a break. Am I right? Our hotel, the fancy Embassy Suites, was right down the street from a mall we often visited just to walk around — as teenagers do. So, we decided to go to the food court at the mall for lunch the day after we got married.

We made our first big purchase together that day. We bought matching robes. Well, one had blue stripes — that was Hubby’s — and one had pink stripes — mine. They were terry cloth robes and I guess we thought that was what married adults did. I bring it up because one of my all time favorite pictures of Hubby is of him wearing that robe while curled up inside one of the cabinets under the TV in the suite where we stayed. He was wearing the robe. Of course we were wearing the robes. That is why we bought them! And, he opened a cabinet and said, “Wonder if I could fit in there.” He did. I snapped a photograph. He is gorgeous and funny.

We were young. We were in love. We were on our honeymoon. We went to the mall. When we walked in holding hands and laughing, we were immediately stopped by two people with clipboards. Now, any time before that day and all the times since that day, we have waved and kept walking.

“Thanks, but no thank you. Whatever you are selling or asking or surveying, we have better things to do.”

ON OUR HONEYMOON, we decided that we DID NOT have anything better to do.

It so happened that the two people with clipboards were part of a market research company. They asked us a couple of questions, determined we were perfect for what they were doing, and informed us that if we gave a few minutes of our day to help them, they would give us gift certificates for the food court.

“Hey, that is where we were headed. Perfect!”

They took Hubby to one room and put me in another. I can only vaguely remember watching some VHS tape on a television while sitting at a long conference table. Then, they asked me questions.

“How did the color of the first woman’s shirt make you feel?”
“Would you like to spend time with this family?”
“Are you feeling thirsty after watching that?”

I don’t know what Hubby had to do. But, we both got our coupons and the market research firm paid for our first meal as a married couple. Fancy!

Back at the hotel in our business suite that also had a conference table, my parents stopped by to pick up my wedding dress. We were heading to Disney World the next day, so Mom was going to take care of the dress for me. Yes, I wore my wedding dress from the church to the hotel on the night I got married. It was February and freezing and I was a princess!

So, Mom and Dad come up to the suite to fetch the dress. They mention that they are going to dinner. Well, it had been a while since we had been to the mall food court and of course, there had been more sex, so we were hungry again. I don’t remember whose idea it was, but likely I am the one who said, “Well, why don’t we just go with you?”

Poor Hubby!

Mom and Dad were probably looking forward to their first night out together as “empty nesters” and I assumed they would LOVE for us to come with them. It never occurred to me that they wouldn’t.

Hubby and I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but he described it as a “semi-fancy place.” Keeping in mind that we stayed at Embassy Suites and went to the mall before we left for Disney World, you can imagine what that must have been like. The market researchers bought our first meal as husband and wife. Mom and Dad bought our second.

Our first day married.



T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be