Wedded: Nicole Garrett and Ron Vinyard

Army officers met in Afghanistan, but love blossomed closer to home

  • The wedding of Army officers Nicole Garrett and Ron Vinyard.
The wedding of Army officers Nicole Garrett and Ron Vinyard. (Sachs Photography, Handout…)
January 14, 2014|By Samantha Iacia, For The Baltimore Sun

Featured in SceneDate: Oct. 13

Her story: Nicole Garrett, 28, grew up in Pittsburgh. Serving in the Army for the past seven years, she is now an officer. Her parents, Lance and Kathy Garrett, live in Pittsburgh.

His story: Ron Vinyard, 31, grew up in St. Louis. He has served in the Army since 2004 and is also an officer. His parents, Ron and Laura Schupmann, live in St. Louis.

Their story: Nicole and Ron met in 2011 during their deployment in Afghanistan. They collaborated on targeting missions against enemy forces.

"We worked together every single day in Afghanistan, so that's how we got to know each other," says Nicole.

In summer of 2012, their yearlong friendship turned into a relationship while they were stationed together in Fort Knox, Ky., though they say they didn't have an official first date.

They have been stationed in Maryland since last year, living in Bowie.

The proposal: Ron and Nicole participate in geocaching, a GPS-based activity in which participants use coordinates posted on websites to hide and seek containers that are placed in public settings throughout the world.

In June, Ron and Nicole spent a day geocaching in Annapolis. They found a cache near the Annapolis harbor. Nicole opened the cache to find a round-cut engagement ring from Kay Jewelers hidden inside (Ron had placed it there just moments before), and he proposed.

The venue: The couple was married on the Constellation anchored in the Inner Harbor. They chose the ship for its historic character and water setting, Nicole says. In attendance were 11 of their family and friends.

"We didn't need a big venue. If we got something too big, it would have been awkward," says Nicole. "It was just perfect for us."

Nicole and Ron say they decided on a small wedding because most of their family and friends are spread throughout the country and the world, making it difficult to get everyone together.

Flowers: The Pink Orchid of Bowie provided Nicole's bouquet, which included pink Asiatic lilies, white hydrangeas and light green orchids.

Her dress: The bride wore a strapless, satin and chiffon A-line gown with flower appliques, beading and ruching on the bodice from David's Bridal. During the reception, she wore canvas boat shoes.

Groom's attire: Ron wore a tan three-piece suit from Jos. A. Bank, which was accented by a pink tie and pocket square.

Music: Instead of a first dance, the couple walked down the aisle to the Piano Guys' recording of "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri.

Food and dessert: The Waterfront Kitchen in Fells Point provided dry-aged New York strip steak and herb-roasted chicken breast for dinner, which was served in the ship's captain's quarters. Ron's mother made the three-tier French vanilla cake with raspberry filling and citrus buttercream frosting.

Favors: Guests were given miniature treasure chests decorated with a world map. Ron and Nicole gave their parents miniature globes from the Museum Shop in Annapolis.

"That was basically to represent that no matter where we are in the world, we'll always be there for them and love them," Nicole says.

Special touches: A cannon salute went off as Nicole and Ron shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Adalyn and Audrey, Ron's 4-year-old twin daughters from a previous relationship, were flower girls. Ron and Nicole held a sand ceremony with the twins and gave them each a family medallion by which to remember the day.

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