We always find that Fourth of July is a magnificent occasion to step back and pay respect and gratitude to those who have served our country and honor the beautiful celebrations that occur. So when this poignant love story and classic military wedding came across our email, we were immediately moved by the couple's touching journey. For us this day relates to both the celebration of our independence and the celebration of love between Amy and Staff Sergeant Ernie. It's extremely rare that some people are lucky enough, or blessed enough, to have an angel play matchmaker. However, this is exactly what happened for this beautiful couple who met against all odds. From the dashing groom (and groomsmen) dressed in uniform, a stunning Maggie Sottero bride and the breathtaking backdrop of a Colorado fall - this Strictly Weddings fans is the epitome of a touching and classic military wedding exquisitely captured by Katie Keighin Photography.

An Angel Among Us

Larry, Ernie's best friend, coaxed him to webcam chat with the best friend of his girlfriend, Amy. Larry had said that Amy was just Ernie's type. He was right. At the time, Ernie was deployed in Japan but regardless of distance, the two exchanged phone numbers and at this instant Amy knew Ernie was the "one." They shared a long-distance relationship and didn't meet until 2009 when Ernie returned home from his tour. Then, after Amy and Eric had been dating for a little over a year, he and Larry were deployed again. This time to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in support of operation Enduring Freedom. On the dreadful day of July 1, 2010, Larry exemplified what it takes to truly be someone's angel when he saved a wounded Marine from heavy enemy fire. Larry carried him to safety, only to have struck by an improvised explosive device in the heroic process. His injuries proved to be fatal, but he saved the life of his junior marine. "We are extremely honored to have known someone as brave and heroic as Larry," said Amy. "And feel so blessed that he brought the two of us together. We feel he brought us together for a reason before being sent to heaven, and now he is our angel that watches over us in all that we do."

Classic Military Wedding

Amy and Eric's wedding was dedicated to Larry in honor of his courageous feat and in remembrance of being the catalyst for their relationship. Many USMC (U.S. Marine Corps) details were included to show respect for their friend, which made for an extremely intimate and romantic day. They incorporated various rustic and vintage details that added to the ambiance with a mix of birdcages with flowers on the tables with candlelight to heighten the romantic mood. Each table displayed table number luminaries and the numbers symbolized special moments throughout their lives. For instance, Table 12 was "the month and year the Groom proposed", which was 12/26/2012. They created a memory table with pictures of Larry and other loved ones who have passed and toasted with hand painted champagne flutes that were exact replicas of her Maggie Sottero dress and Ernie's dress blues. Even the ring bearers wore mini-dress blues.

Our Gratitude

We are honored that this couple shared such intimate details to their love story and their beautiful vow exchange. We dedicate this feature to Larry's memory and thank every man and woman who serve our country and fight for freedom each day.