Couple Gets Married at Boston Marathon Despite Bombings

Imagine you've been planning your dream wedding and have it all set up -- the champagne, the gown, the family, all taking place in a picturesque park and on a clear, beautiful day right after you've participated in one of your main passions. But then, suddenly, horror strikes. Death. Destruction. Fear. All within walking distance of your dream wedding. What do you do? If you're Kelli Johnston and Robert Watling, you don't let terrorists disrupt your dream day. You go ahead and get married, even as ambulances wail in the background and armed guards watch over you.


Kelli wrote on her Facebook page after the ceremony:

Robert Allan Watling and I successfully completed the marathon before the bombings and just got married in the park!! Champagne for all!

They were married in Boston Common, the place where marathon officials asked everyone to meet after the race so friends and family could reconnect in the chaos. The couple are dedicated runners and Robert had even proposed to Kelli after they completed the Chicago Marathon. They wore their red runner shoes and medals for the ceremony.

But it was only a few hours before that they said their vows that the bombs went off. They must have had some moments trying to decide if it would be insensitive to go ahead with their plans -- or even if they felt like it. But in the end, they decided to go through with their special day.

After 9/11, I knew quite a few people who had plans -- either for birthdays or weddings or just some kind of celebration -- who had to decide what to do. Some took the "terrorism won't win" approach and determined to forge ahead. Others felt that they couldn't possibly celebrate or be happy in the midst of such citywide turmoil. It really depends on the people and the event.

Kelli and Robert, who had a low-key ceremony with just a few family members, must have felt that in the midst of such destruction, they wanted to make vows to each other. After all, life does deal you some major blows, and perhaps they wanted to start their life together in the middle of one, as a way of showing their commitment to each other through better and worse. And that day was certainly of the "worse" variety. I commend them for adding just a little more love to that tragic day.

Do you think they should have gotten married?

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