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Tyler Southern Gets Married! From Behind-the-Scenes to the Ceremony - You're Invited

9:16 AM, Jul 14, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- They were just hoping it wouldn't rain. 

In fact, neighbors in Mandarin had actually been praying for good weather.

PICTURES: Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Southern's Wedding Album

Seems everyone was cheering on Tyler Southern, the marine from Jacksonville who stepped on an IED in Afghanistan last year and wound up a triple amputee.

The weather held. His bride, Jacksonville native, Ashley Statti, looked gorgeous, and his brothers, both active duty military, came along to be by his side.

The community rallied to help throw Tyler the best wedding ever. That was the goal and, according to Tyler and Ashley, the wedding was above and beyond.

PICTURES: Tyler and Ashley: Wedding Shower

Everything was donated from cakes to BBQ to flowers to favors, even the tent and the welcome air conditioning inside.

Tyler allowed FCN photojournalist Steve Berrios to come to his parents' home in Mandarin to capture the moments leading up to the wedding.

PICTURES: Tyler and Ashley Receive Gifts

The process of getting dressed was a bit different from Tyler as a triple amputee.  He's well-known now, though, for his clever remarks and his ability to make everyone chuckle and feel comfortable.

That spirit carried the day.

Ashley wore bright pink tennis shoes under her wedding dress because Tyler feels the most steady on his prosthetic legs when he has on tennis shoes.

Other wedding guests showed up in tennis shoes, as well.

The couple is in Key West now on their honeymoon, all donated to honor a hometown hero.

A huge thanks to our four professional still photographers chosen to capture wonderful moments at the wedding. 

PICTURES: Tyler and Ashley

And a giant thank-you to Pat and Scott Makepeace who volunteered to be wedding coordinators at no fee. For months they have helped Tyler and Ashley plan every small detail. 

Even when fire ants washed into the tent the night prior to the wedding, Scott sprayed every single chair with a bug spray to get rid of the biting pests.

Pat -- with her charm -- made a zillion phone calls to make sure everything went smoothly. 

The new Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Southern will be at Walter Reed in Washington for more than a year of rehab for Tyler, then they'll come back to the First Coast.

Operation Thumbs Up will continue. The next step is to help build a home for the newlyweds, especially outfitted for a disabled veteran.

First Coast News

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