Good News: Weddings for Warriors

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Every year since 2009, one local non-profit organization has made sure the most romantic day of the year in Savannah comes a month before Valentine's Day.

Irish Demaree walked down the aisle and right into a dream.

"To try to plan something like this, which we keep doing," said Demaree, before renewing her wedding vows, "is really hard because in the six years we've been married, he's deployed five times."

Irish and Staff Sergeant Paul Demaree were one of seven military couples who were given the dream wedding they never had on Wednesday by Weddings for Warriors. Getting the setup, ceremony and reception circumstances associated with serving the country took from them.

"They have all the stories," said Becky Byous, executive director of Weddings for Warriors. "They went to the courthouse in t-shirts and jeans, no family, no nothing and always dreamed that someday they would have a wedding. We just figured out a way to do someday for them."

The non-profit does it through an entirely volunteer organization that relies on local businesses to donate wedding goods and services.

"The ladies," said Byous, "get their wedding dresses donated, their professional hair styling and makeup, photography."

"It is beyond amazing," added Laura Maiorini, a Weddings for Warriors bride. "I felt like one of the things about being in the military that people don't realize is how much you give up. And having all those people donate their time, it's like saying thank you for your service and that never gets old."

And for the brides, it's like saying I do all over again, the way they always imagined they would.

"We've had dads who've come up to us and said, 'I didn't get to give her away the first time and I did today, thank you,'" said Byous. "It's wonderful."

"I don't doubt anything from how we did it at the beginning," added Demaree. "But I am blessed and thankful to get the opportunity to finally have the dress and the family and the whole shebang."

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