After being stationed overseas in Syria, Navy sailor Dylan Ruffer couldn't stand to waste another moment being apart from Madison Meinhardt — they wanted to get married right away. When he landed at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Nov. 19th, he was amazed to realize that his wish had been granted. His fiancée was waiting for him at the arrival escalator wearing a wedding gown, and she was accompanied by an officiant and all of their loved ones.
"You waited 11 months for this, you may now kiss your wife," the officiant proclaimed.
Photo Credit: CBS News
The 19-year-old high school sweethearts planned to marry last year, but Ruffer's deployment unexpectedly got extended, forcing them to postpone. When the groom was granted a six-day vacation, he excitedly booked a ticket back to the U.S.
"Dylan asked me what I was going to be wearing at the airport [at the reunion] and my dad joked around, saying that I should wear my dress. Then it wasn't a joke anymore when it actually happened," Meinhardt told CBS News.
Photo courtesy of Reno-Tahoe International Airport
The bride contacted the airport three weeks before the big reunion date, asking if it would be possible to get married right then and there.
The airport employees were so touched by the couple's story and Ruffer's service that not only did they allow the wedding to take place, but they even decorated the reception area for them (which was held at the baggage claim), complete with catering, a cake and a DJ. United Airlines also pitched in by upgrading the groom's flight to VIP status, ensuring that he would arrive on time at around midnight.
"We were expecting a little wedding in the corner, maybe, with a couple of people. This is amazing," Meinhardt said.
"A lot of people were absolutely stunned to see a wedding in the terminal," airport spokesman Brian Kulpin told The Today Show. "It's not something you see in the airport every day."
As for the groom? After traveling over 8,000 miles and marrying the love of his life, he was still taking it all in: "It's all a blur, I don't even know what to think," Ruffer said.
Congratulations to the happy couple! Watch the video here: