"Everyone and all of my friends kind of know me as that person who's very adventurous," Raj Mahal tells PEOPLE
Raj Mahal and his partner, Tyler, looked at a variety of potential wedding locales before their big day, but none of them felt quite right. Then, nine days before the couple planned to tie the knot, Mahal tells PEOPLE the couple had an inspired idea: get married at Chicago's rat-hole landmark!
According to Mahal, 31, the rodent-shaped dent in the cement has been in the sidewalk at the 1900th block of West Roscoe for more than 20 years. The rat hole first went viral after a man stumbled upon it and posted a photo of it on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Everyone and all of my friends kind of know me as that person who's very adventurous. I always am up to random things. I'm always in the most random places," Mahal says. "So it was no surprise to my friends or family when I did say I was getting married at the rat hole."
"We actually did look at a few large Chicago monuments, so the Bean Willis Tower, things of that nature. But I wanted to do something that's very groundbreaking, so I said, 'Why not the rat hole?'" the Chiacgo native adds. "And immediately it just came to life."
Speaking to FOX 32 Chicago, Mahal's wedding planner Lica Sato-Keane, explained more about how they brought the couple's goal of getting married at the rodent-shaped dent in the Chicago sidewalk to life.
"When he came to me with the idea I was like 'okay, hey that's great. We can make this happen.' And they're super enthusiastic about it," Sato-Keane told the outlet.
Mahal explains that he and Tyler held their reception first in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago before heading over to the rat-hole. He adds that about 50 random people happened to be at the rat-hole when he and his partner exchanged "I dos."
He says: "Honestly, just the uniqueness and all the attention that it's brought is kind of memorable, but ultimately the most memorable part is just being able to spend the rest of my life with my partner. But that's the highlight of all of this in my eyes."
"The rat almost in some ways symbolizes me because all of my friends say I'm kind of like a rat all over the place. I'm always getting myself into the most random adventures, and I'm very zippy and everywhere kind of how a rat would be and getting myself into trouble," the newly-wed adds.
A TikTok video he posted of the wedding, which has gone viral with 1.1 million views, captures Mahal and his partner's special moment on camera. In the video, the two grooms stand in front of a balloon arch and shrine for the rat hole.
"We are gathered here today to marry man and man in front of the honorable Chicago rat-hole," the officiant said in the TikTok. "You may kiss the grooms."
"I'm so happy the rat hole is bringing lovers together," someone commented on Mahal's
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