Strangers gather for the couple’s interim plane wedding

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Jeremy Salda and Pam Patterson had been lovers for almost two years and were planning to get married in Mexico in August.

But earlier this week, they got a crazy idea: A wedding in Vegas. On April 24, they decided to hop on a plane from Oklahoma City to Las Vegas, where they would tie the knot – just the two of them – at one of the kitschy chapels the city is famous for.

The couple already had their wedding attire, so in keeping with the spontaneity of the idea, they dressed for the flight at. 14.33 – she in her strapless wedding dress and he in his black wedding set.

But their plan hit a chin. Their 19.12 connecting flight to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was canceled due to bad weather. There were no planes departing soon.

“We knew we would never reach Las Vegas in time to get a wedding license and make the final appointment in the chapel,” Patterson, 52, said.

Chris Kligora, an ordained Secretary of State from Dallas who works in the software industry, was also at the airport on his way to Las Vegas that evening. He said it was hard to miss Patterson’s worried expression as she walked in her lace dress and grabbed her bouquet as the plane was repeatedly delayed.

“I could feel this was someone who really wanted to get married,” said Kligora, 46.

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He introduced himself to the couple and offered to help.

“If you’re missing your wedding time, I’d be happy to marry you off in front of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas,” Kligora said, telling them.

He also helped them look for flights with another airline.

“We found out that there were three available seats on a Southwest Airlines plane that was going out of Dallas Love Field Airport and that was going in 50 minutes,” Kligora said. “So we all grabbed an Uber, asked the driver to floor it and hurried over there.”

“At the airport, we drove wrong to the plane, where Pam held up her long dress with one hand and her bouquet in the other,” said Salda, 49. “I wish we had footage – that was part of the sight.”

When they boarded Southwest Flight No. 2690 and saw the flight attendants standing at the entrance with Captain Dickson Gil, Pam’s idea for an impromptu Vegas wedding suddenly went out the window.

Instead, she would get married right there when they hit 36,000 feet.

“I said, ‘We’re not coming to Las Vegas on time – what if we just get married on the plane?'” Patterson said. “And Captain Gil said, ‘Fantastic – let’s do it!’ He was all in. “

“When I heard what Pam was saying, I was not really surprised,” Salda said, noting that he met his bride on a Bumble date in Oklahoma City, and this would be a different marriage for both. “She’s always ready for anything – that’s what I love about her.”

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After the captain’s lead, the stewardesses also went all in. Julie Reynolds picked up a bottle of champagne and downloaded “Here Comes the Bride” before takeoff.

Then she and another flight attendant, Amanda Sturm, made a wedding plan from their jump seats.

“It’s been a couple of long years with the pandemic, and we wanted to have fun with it,” Reynolds, 37, said, adding that it was her first in-flight wedding in 15 years as a flight attendant.

“We had limited resources, but we thought we could still make it something special,” she said.

When the captain turned off the harness sign, the festivities began.

Reynolds and Sturm made an altar of toilet paper hoses and asked the about 60 passengers on board to turn on their blue call lights to light up the aisle.

Everyone was excited about the unexpected entertainment during the flight, Reynolds said.

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One customer offered a mini powdered donut as a wedding cake, while another sent around in a spiral “guest book” that passengers could sign with their congratulations and seat numbers.

She and Strum made a splash for Kligora of snack bags, and a professional wedding photographer who happened to be sitting in the back of the plane volunteered to take pictures on her cell phone. Kligora, who had some broadcast equipment in her hand luggage, asked the passenger sitting in seat 1-C to videotape the whole thing.

Reynolds offered to run as a maid, and then she gave notice of the wedding march.

“Pam was so beautiful as she walked up the hallway from the back of the plane,” Reynolds said. “Every single person on board smiled and filmed the ceremony with their cell phones.”

Patterson, who was minutes from becoming Pam Salda, decided to ad-lib his wedding vows and said to his groom, “I’m glad to be the check for your cross check,” and “I will handle any turbulence with you forever. “

In return, Salda said he told his bride that within 30 minutes of meeting her, he knew he would spend the rest of his life with her.

“It was all so romantic that I thought I would cry,” Kligora said.

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After asking Salda to kiss the bride, the happy couple danced in the aisle to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You,” and the entire flight erupted in cheers and applause, he said.

“For everyone on that flight, it almost felt like fate to be a part of it,” Kligora added. “A lot of people came together to make it all happen, and I’m just glad I could play a role.”

Jeremy and Pam Salda said that by taking their wedding to new heights, they have found friends for life.

“Now we’re still going to Mexico, but this time we hope to invite Chris and the crew,” said Jeremy Salda, who runs a graphic design business.

“The best thing about all of this is that our wedding has brought so much joy to everyone,” added Pam Salda, who works in medical sales.

“If I could spread kindness around like confetti by being silly and wearing a wedding dress to an airport, then I would not have it any other way,” she said.

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