GEORGETOWN - Nine months in Afghanistan: That’s how long Army Captain Harrison Gauthier had been away from his girlfriend Kelsea, who is a teacher in Georgetown, Texas.
"You love each other through it, and you get closer because of it," said Kelsea Gauthier.
So when Gauthier was home on leave for a few weeks in March, the night before he had to go back, he had a last minute idea.
"We'd been talking about getting married beforehand… we were just like we got to do this,” said Harrison Gauthier. "I just loved her so much that I was like, you know what we're going to do this tomorrow."
"I was thrilled!” said Kelsea Gauthier. “Oh my gosh, I was so excited!!"
“I called her dad, I asked him for her permission and I called her mother and my parents,” said Harrison Gauthier.
The couple had dated for a year and a half, but during much of that time, Gauthier was deployed overseas.
"We talk all the time, a lot of communication," said Kelsea Gauthier. "You miss him, all the time. All the time."
She said the distance and constant communication made the heart grow fonder.
"When he came home, our relationship was so much stronger,” said Kelsea Gauthier. "We're just talking about, you know dreading the next 6 months and then he said, 'why don't we get married? we should get married,' so we did!"
Family and friends all chipped in to help with hair and makeup, to flowers, to a photographer capturing the memories of a lifetime.
"We felt very overwhelmed with love and support,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
"He was phenomenal. He put on a beautiful ceremony. He made it special,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
"They rearranged their entire schedule in order to make our biggest days very special to the both of us," said Harrison Gauthier. "The judge was just phenomenal I couldn't have asked for something better than that."
Kelsea said she and Harrison got matching wedding bands.
"Something fast and easy is what we needed to do, and it ended up being perfect. So we went to James Avery and picked out matching bands,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
"The judge asked Kelsey what she wanted. I don't know anything about weddings,” said Harrison Gauthier. "Her dad was able to like walk her down the courthouse aisle and then give her away."
"Less than 24 hours we were able to get everything together and everything fell into place perfectly," said Kelsea Gauthier.
"It was really like the picture perfect 2-hour planned wedding,” said Harrison Gauthier.
The coupled tied the knot at 2 p.m. and by 6:45 p.m. Harrison was on a plane back to Afghanistan.
"I didn't think about it all day until we sat down and got home and I was like oh no,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
"It made me one of the happiest people in the world because I was able to come back here and tell people you know I was married and that I married the love of my life," said Harrison Gauthier. "I mean just like telling people you got married over leave they're like "woah woah woah," everyone just kind of laughs like you're ridiculous."
But for this couple, it seemed perfect.
"It just all fell into place perfectly,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
Now Harrison is back in Afghanistan for a 6-month deployment.
"Six months is a long time to be without the person you love,” said Kelsea Gauthier. "He never sees me cry and we just support each other through it.”
She works to stay strong for Harrison.
"I don't want him to be distracted from his job. I don't want him to be worried about me back at home. He's got enough to worry about there," said Kelsea Gauthier.
But she said she has a support system of family, friends and co-workers.
"I don't feel alone, I just miss him,” said Kelsea Gauthier.
"I think like the real message here is that when two young kids are really truly in love and they have the support that they want they can get everything accomplished,” said Harrison Gauthier.
And in just a few short hours, they pulled off a last minute wedding, with a marriage meant to last a lifetime.
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