Has a bride ever walked down the aisle wearing green and tan? Maybe. But this was probably the first time that a wedding was performed in an airport with the bride’s green and tan bridal outfit being camouflage army fatigues and tan soldier’s “slippers.”
Army Privates Caitlin Murray, 20, and Sean Whitney, 26, met in March at the Colonie Center Army recruiting office. It was love at first sight for Whitney. “The day she walked in, I said, ‘Oh, my God’ “ he recalled. “I was hooked on her ever since.”
They were married at the Albany International Airport in Colonie, New York on Thursday before before they boarded separate planes for separate military deployments. Whitney was deployed to Afghanistan and Murray was on her way to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
They made the decision to get married as they watched the ball drop in New York City’s times Square on New Year’s Eve. Over the following couple of days, they rushed to get a marriage license and matching Irish Claddaugh rings. They had planned to wait until Whitney’s return, but Murray didn’t want to wait. It was her idea to have a spontaneous wedding. “We were going to wait until I got back, but we just decided we should do this now. It sounds cheesy, but I feel empowered now, knowing I have a wonderful woman waiting for me when I get home.”
As originally reported by the Albany Times Union, Whitney approached Shirley Brown, the manager of the airport’s information center. When she asked Whitney about the time-frame, he replied “Two hours.” She immediately got the gears moving and spoke with town Supervisor Paula Mahan. Mahan summoned the Town Marriage Officer Lisa Armao, a nurse practitioner who left work to perform the ceremony. Brown then contacted the Airport Director of Public Affairs, Doug Myers, who recruited Airport Chief Executive Officer John O’Donnell as a witness. “It was unbelievable how quickly it fell into place,” Brown said.
Armao performed a brief ceremony with a standard civil ceremony script. “This is a first for me,” she said. The wedding guests consisted of airport employees and strangers. O’Donnell served as witness, ring bearer, and best man, Michael P. Farrell of the Times Union confirmed. Doug Myers served as wedding photographer. When Armao said the words,“I now pronounce you man and wife,” the couple kissed to the applause of two dozen strangers and airport employees. The bride threw an imaginary bouquet and O’Donnell even treated them to a brief honeymoon; lunch at airport restaurant Silks Saratoga Bistro.
This wasn’t the first time a couple was married at this particular airport. 20 years ago, a couple en route to Jamaica tied the knot on O’Donnell’s watch.
The couple was emotional after the brief ceremony. “I got nervous,” said the bride. “But it ended up being pretty wonderful.” Whitney was overwhelmed by the airport’s generosity and accomodation. “We weren’t expecting the airport to do so much,” he said.
“This was their wish to get married, and we made it happen,” O’Donnell said.
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