When your wedding revolves around your fiance’s military deployment, planning can get tricky.
That’s something Marine veteran Rymario Armstrong and the woman he chose to spend the rest of his life with, Nakita Brown, quickly discovered after Armstrong proposed to Brown on her birthday, April 15, in 2014.
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At first, the couple wanted to marry on a cruise, but figured it would be too difficult and costly for their parents to attend. Then, they figured simple, courthouse nuptials would be just the solution for their unique situation.
But that all changed when Brown, 30, fell in love with a wedding dress – in the nontraditional hue of black.
“I was looking for my dress and wanted something simple, but then I found this gown,” she told ABC News of her full-length trumpeted black gown. “So, then I knew I wanted more than that. I thought, ‘I want to do a surprise wedding.’”
At first, Brown wanted to have the wedding on her birthday and three-year anniversary of their engagement, her brother, photographer Andre Brown, told ABC News. But that plan was foiled at least three times because Armstrong’s deployment schedule kept getting moved.
Brown became worried that the surprise would eventually be ruined.
“After a while it stopped being fun, having to continuously call people who were out of town to change the date,” she said. “But they understood.”
Brown thought of every single detail for the wedding, including devising a way to convince Armstrong to write his vows while he was deployed.
“I sent him a little book to write his vows while he was away,” Brown said. “I told him, ‘We’re getting married someday so go ahead and write your vows in this book while you have time alone to reflect.”
After Armstrong retired from the Marines on June 30, the couple was finally able to tie the knot. They were wed under palmetto trees on the Fourth of July in Beaufort, South Carolina.
“I was actually calm. I thought I’d be nervous and crying, but I was ready for it to happen and to marry him,” Brown said.
Armstrong, thinking the occasion was a retirement party, donned his Marine uniform.
“I was just lost for words,” Armstrong recalled of seeing his beautiful wife-to-be turn the corner to walk down the aisle with her father. “My heart stopped for a moment.”
Brown’s brother had the honor of photographing the wedding.
“I’ve been doing this for two years, and I’ve shot more than 100 weddings, but it’s a lot different when it’s your sister,” Andre Brown said. “It was different from a regular wedding day, and honestly, I wouldn’t trust anybody else to shoot it.”
(H/T: ABC News)