As storms moved in over North Texas Sunday, Pam and Jeremy Salda were focused on how to get out.
The couple arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from Oklahoma City as part of a connection through to Las Vegas.
After getting engaged earlier this year, they were on their way to get married.
They’d snagged the last appointment in a wedding chapel that night. But as they watched the weather and anxiously waited for their next plane to arrive, they began to fear they might not make it.
“It just kept getting delayed and getting delayed, and we're starting to get a little nervous. And you know, you look out the window to see if the plane’s made it. And I mean, we're dressed in full wedding attire, so I mean, obviously, we garnered some attention,” said Pam Salda.
Chris Kligora was among the fellow passengers to notice the couple in distress.
"It's unusual to see a bride in a wedding dress in the airport clutching her flowers,” he said.
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"I said, ‘You like you have somewhere to be at a specific time, and you're not going to make it.’ And she said, 'Yes,’” said Kligora.
"He says, 'well, I'm an ordained minister, and I think I can marry you and help you out,'” said Pam.
Then, their flight got canceled, and the newfound friends scrambled for a plan B.
After snagging three of the final four seats on a Southwest Airlines flight to Vegas leaving that night, the trio grabbed an Uber and rushed from DFW Airport to Love Field less than an hour before boarding would begin.
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“It’s like something from a movie. I'm running through the airport carrying my dress and train. Jeremy, he's dragging the bags. Chris is right behind us. We're like the three musketeers trying to get to this gate,” said Pam.
They made it just as boarding began. And thanks to a greeting from the pilot, their plans changed yet again.
"He looks at us and he goes, ‘are you trying to get married in Vegas?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but I don't think we're going to make it, so I think we're just going to do it here on this plane.’ And he says, ‘OK, sounds good,” she said.
Kligora said nearly all of the passengers cheered as the plans were announced to those on board.
Once at cruising altitude, he said the flight attendants pulled out of all the stops with toilet paper streamers, and a sash made of in-flight snacks he could wear as the officiant.
Call buttons lit the aisle as the bride made her way to the front of the plane before handing her bouquet off to an attendant who stood in as her maid of honor.
"When I was standing at the front looking out at all of the passengers on board and all you could see was cell phones lit up and everyone recording, it just… If you had any doubt about humanity, it was restored. It was amazing,” said Kligora.
After exchanging vows, the couple shared a first dance and a cake donut provided by a passenger one row up.
They left with a camera roll of selfies, a video thanks to production equipment Kligora was traveling with, and a spiral-bound guest book signed by nearly all on board.
“Everybody was congratulating us, and you know, thanking us for sharing our happy moment with them and bringing them a little bit of happiness,” said Jeremy Salda.
The couple plans to celebrate with friends and family at a reception in Cabo San Lucas come August, which Kligora now plans to attend.