Tags: reno | airport | wedding | greets | sailor

Reno Airport Wedding Greets Sailor Returning From Sea Duty (Video)

By Alexandra Ward   |   Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 09:58 AM

A Navy seaman fresh off an 11-month deployment off the coast of Syria couldn’t wait another minute to marry his high-school sweetheart, so the couple had their wedding ceremony at Reno-Tahoe International Airport Tuesday.

Dylan Ruffer and Madison Meinhardt, both 19, had planned to get hitched back in early October, but Ruffer's deployment was extended at the last minute and the wedding plans were canceled.

So when Meinhardt learned her fiancé would be home for a six-day leave this week, she contacted the airport to see if they would be able to play host for a small wedding ceremony.

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Not only did Reno airport officials say OK, they donated catering services, decorations, and a DJ, while area businesses banded together to supply salon services, flowers, a cake, and a photographer.

"It’s definitely more than we could have ever asked for," Meinhardt told ABC News Reno affiliate KOLO. "We were expecting a wedding in the corner maybe, but this is amazing."

Ruffer, who had flown from Virginia to Chicago to Denver to Reno, was shocked to see his bride in a white dress standing under an altar of fabric and flowers at the bottom of the "Arrivals" escalator.

"Seeing her for the first time, it was amazing," he told reporters.

After a quick ceremony in front of about 200 family members, friends, and strangers, the reception was held in a roped-off area of the baggage claim.

"I don't think we could have imagined how beautiful the ceremony was going to be," Brian Kulpin, spokesperson for the Reno-Tahoe Airport, told ABC News. "They didn't have the money to put on the wedding. Now they had a wedding they will never forget."

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