Lauren Durham had a poofy white dress and plans for an intimate beach wedding on the second weekend of September. Instead she got married in fatigues, sans makeup, in a vast hangar filled with rescue vehicles and paramedics just hours before she would rush into a hurricane to try to save her fellow Floridians. She and fiance Michael Davis—both of them senior airmen with the Air National Guard—were deployed indefinitely to assist with the rescue. They let their out-of-town guests know they'd probably miss their own wedding and headed to the Orange County Convention Center to wait out the hurricane with hundreds of other relief workers before being sent into the state's most devastated regions.
They were eating breakfast with some friends Sunday morning, and one said, "Hey, why don't you guys get married during the hurricane?" the AP reports. Durham says: "It started out as a joke, and it just kind of unfolded. And it turned out to be really great." Dozens of people—some longtime friends from the service, some strangers from across the country who came to assist with the rescue efforts—set up folding chairs. Someone came up with a bouquet of orange flowers. Their best friend in the Guard happens to be a notary and officiated. It never occurred to either to try to beg off duty for their wedding. "Service before self," Davis says, and it will be a great story to tell their kids one day.