Heather was organizing her dream wedding in Italy all by herself from Gulfport, Mississippi while Greg was on his third deployment to Iraq. But that was not the only battlefield in their lives: being both from Gulfport, they were rebuilding their home after Hurricane Katrina while taking care of their six children, too. Eloping to Florence, Italy was a well-deserved break from all the wars!
It seems like those hard times bring them luck though – they met in the hurricane’s aftermath as Heather had to change jobs and ended up working with Greg’s sister when Greg was sent home from his tour to help his family repair damage. “People only saw New Orleans on TV, but in Gulfport the suffering and loss of homes and jobs was tremendous.”
It was Greg’s idea to get married in Italy. “When [he] first asked me if I wanted to get married in Italy I couldn’t believe it! We were both so excited to be visiting and getting married in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”
Heather and Greg had envisioned their trip as a wedding-honeymoon, so they started in England and moved down through European countries from there. “Before travelling to Florence people told us that it was by far their favorite place in the entire world and that we would fall in love with it, and they were completely right.”
Walking through Piazza della Signoria, Heather kept looking up in awe, “One day before the wedding we went into the Red Room to see where we would be getting married. Greg and I had seen pictures of the room and thought it was beautiful, but once we actually got to walk in it and see how amazing it really was we were completely speechless!
Spring time also means a good chance for rain and Florence was definitely wet that day. It’s a tourist mecca so it is also filled with visitors, but Heather remembers a special moment just outside the Palazzo Vecchio: “One of my favorite memories will be the little kids that were outside the palace on a field trip, standing around Greg and I, clapping for us and then when the photographer told him to kiss me they all cried ‘ewwww’! “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata” was echoing all morning long as the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down! “Everyone in the town clapped for us and told us ‘auguri!’ and that we were lucky because it was raining on our wedding day.”
On the way to an intimate, tete-a-tete toast overlooking the banks of the Arno River, “Greg asked me if I felt like a princess yet, and with a huge smile on my face I said ‘yes’!“
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