Sometimes couples take things a step farther and actually get married in a restaurant. And no, the restaurant isn’t always aware that this is happening.

“Unbeknownst to us, someone got married on our patio before dinner,” said Abby Harmon, chef at Caiola’s in Portland. “We had a couple get married in our back dining room, and during the vows, we had to quiet the kitchen.”

Sam Hayward recalls, quite entertainingly, another unexpected union that took place at Twenty-Two Lincoln in Brunswick on a busy Saturday evening. Here’s the way he told the story in an email:

“A server came to my station to tell me that a couple on table four had just gotten married. I replied that that was great, to congratulate them heartily, and offer chilled Champagne.

“The server went back into the dining room, and in a few minutes, she returned to tell me that perhaps I hadn’t understood that the couple had just gotten married. I assured her that I had gotten the message, and repeated my instructions. She left. A few minutes later, she again poked her head onto my station, and said, ‘No, you’re not getting it! They JUST got married. At the table. Five minutes ago!’

“It seems that a justice of the peace and his wife had arrived for a reservation ahead of the betrothed couple, had been seated at their table, and when the younger couple had arrived, the justice of the peace had called over the server, and in her presence carried out the marriage ceremony. The server had then signed the marriage certificate as a witness, and had then come into my station to inform me. It was a surprise to all of us, because the couple had never informed the reservationist of their plan, nor had the justice of the peace when he arrived.

“Of course, everyone on staff gathered to congratulate them, and the guests in the dining room gave the beaming newlyweds a standing ovation. They returned to the restaurant each year on their anniversary.”