The Good Stuff

A couple couldn't make it in time to a Vegas wedding chapel. They got married on a Southwest flight instead

Sara Smart, CNNUpdated 30th April 2022
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(CNN) — One couple has taken their love to new heights, quite literally. To about 37,000 feet, in fact.
A Southwest flight from Dallas to Las Vegas turned into a makeshift wedding chapel on Sunday, complete with toilet paper streamers and a flight attendant maid of honor.
Pam and Jeremy Salda had been dating since August 2020 and told CNN when they heard the news of the mask mandate being lifted on some airlines, they had joked last Tuesday about eloping in Las Vegas.
And then their joking got serious.
"Within about an hour and a half we had our flights and hotel booked," Jeremy Salda said on Friday. "Pam bought a wedding dress online and overnighted it."
The Oklahoma City couple scheduled a wedding chapel appointment for 9 p.m. on Sunday night.
With Pam Patterson (now Pam Salda) dressed in her wedding gown and Jeremy in a suit, the two headed off to Sin City.
But during their layover at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, they faced multiple delays and eventually their final flight to Vegas was canceled.
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Pam made her way down the plane's aisle in her wedding gown as other passengers watched.
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While waiting at the terminal they met Chris Kilgora, another passenger on the same flight to Vegas, who happened to be an ordained minister.
He overheard their wedding adventure and offered to marry the couple in Vegas himself. From there, the three found a Southwest flight headed to LAS with only four seats left
This flight, however, was scheduled out of Dallas Love Field (DAL) airport, which was about 25 minutes away. "We had 50 minutes before the plane took off," Pam told CNN. "We told the Uber to floor it, and he did."
As they were running through DAL in their wedding attire, the couple said people were shouting their congratulations to them.
They eventually made it to the gate and as they boarded, the captain was curious about Pam's wedding dress. She explained the story and joked about getting married on the flight.
To her surprise, the pilot responded, "Let's do it!"
"Southwest has been the love airline for nearly 51 years," Southwest said in a written statement given to CNN. "We always enjoy an opportunity to celebrate our customers in special ways."
Members of the flight crew hung up streamers made from toilet paper and made Kilgora a sash out of snack bags.
As Pam walked down the aisle, other passengers turned on their call buttons and Julie Reynolds, one of the flight attendants on board, stood in as the impromptu maid of honor.
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Pam and Jeremy
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A professional photographer happened to be onboard and snapped photos of the newlyweds. And as for the cutting of the wedding cake? Another passenger offered up their leftover powdered donut.
"It's so strange how everything fell into place," Pam said.
A notebook was even passed around as a makeshift guest book. Pam says the other passengers left messages inside about how the unexpected wedding brightened their day, or how they felt like they were watching a rom-com unfold in front of them.
"We were thrilled to play host to Pam and Jeremy's special day. We offer our congratulations to the newlyweds and well wishes on their new life together," Southwest said.
The newlyweds spent an extra day in Vegas to celebrate their spontaneous wedding.
They plan to follow through with their originally planned ceremony in August, where they'll celebrate with family and friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Now, though, they have a few extra wedding guests who are invited: their fill-in minister and the flight attendants.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly gave Chris Kilgora's last name.