PORT ST LUCIE, Fla. - For Michael Nunes and Lesha Storr it all started when the two hit it off outside the J.R.O.T.C. classroom.
"I sat beside her on a bench in the hallway. We just hit it off," said Nunes.
"I just knew," explained Storr. "I was like, you can't just look into those eyes and not know! I don't know, it was just something that I felt, and I knew he was the right one for me."
The high school sweethearts attended prom together and since then, have made their love last. They kept their relationship going through Lesha's college years at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Michael's service in the Army National Guard.
Nunes reports to the 806th MP Unit out of the 53rd Battalion in Fort Pierce in September. Storr is a full-time student in her fourth year with a double major in criminology and family, youth & community sciences.
Nunes is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan on September 28, 2012. Storr said she and her fiance's relationship has withstood the perils of being apart from each other for months, so they expect to make it through deployment just fine.
"Love never fails," said Storr. "If you always base everything in the fact that you love each other, you'll get through everything."
The couple planned to have a simple wedding in the winter, until they received word of Nunes' orders. They decided to rush the ceremony until they found out they were going to receive a $15,000 dream wedding for free from a local wedding company - the Wedding Professionals of the Treasure Coast.
Christine Terezakis, a wedding event coordinator who works frequently with TRAXX Entertainment, a major contributor to the push to sponsor the wedding, said she believes the couple is truly deserving of the ceremony.
"The groom is going to be deployed just a few weeks after today, so we really wanted to make this special," said Terezakis. "It's really the dream wedding they never thought they were going to have."
Storr said she was thrilled to find out her wedding worries were over after receiving the phone call from her fiance that their wedding would be completely paid for.
"When he told me, I really thought he was lying," laughed Storr. "He was like, 'No, I'm not lying, I'm serious!'"
Mr. and Mrs. Nunes can begin their "happily ever after" with an enduring love that can last across the distance.
"Overwhelmed with joy in a sense, because we never would have been able to have anything like this, ever," the new bride said.