An Oklahoma couple who planned to exchange vows in Las Vegas instead got married on the plane after their flight was canceled, they tell PEOPLE.
Last week, Jeremy Salda and Pam Patterson quickly put together plans for a Las Vegas wedding set for Sunday, April 24.
The duo made sure to check off all the boxes: they reserved an appointment for a marriage license, booked a hotel near the Strip and bought tickets for a flight from Oklahoma City to Nevada. Patterson even bought a $200 wedding dress online.
But their plans soon hit turbulence — just two days later, their flight was canceled, leading them to rebook with a different airline, this time for a flight with a connection out of Texas.
When they finally made it to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Salda and Patterson could only watch as their final flight to Vegas was delayed multiple times before being outright canceled.
The couple, who began dating in August 2020, had worn their wedding attire to the airport because they wouldn't have much time to spare once they made it to Las Vegas. After hearing their story, an ordained minister heading to Las Vegas offered to marry them if they couldn't make their wedding appointment.
Salda, Patterson and the minister found a Southwest Airlines flight to Vegas out of Love Field Airport and quickly called an Uber to get them there in time.
Jeremy Salda and Pam Patterson Salda
"It's like a scene from a movie," Patterson, 52, tells PEOPLE in the video above. "I'm literally running through the airport, through security, in a wedding dress. …People are shouting at us, 'Congratulations! Yay!'"
When they boarded, the pilot asked the couple if they were going to get married in Las Vegas, to which Patterson replied: "We're going to try, but if not, I'm just going to get married on this plane."
Turns out, the flight crew liked the idea and they began decorating the cabin with toilet paper streamers. They even downloaded a copy of "Here Comes the Bride" and brought out bottles of champagne.
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When they reached a cruising altitude, the lights were dimmed, and the minister they just met hours earlier officiated Salda and Patterson's wedding in front of dozens of strangers.
"I said, 'If there's ever any turbulence I want to weather it with you,'" Patterson recalls.
The couple began dating two years ago after Patterson was laid off from her medical sales job during the pandemic. Salda, a 49-year-old graphic designer who is also divorced, was Patterson's first online date.
"It was just one of those great dates," Patterson, who has a 28-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son, remembers, "where you talk all night until 2 a.m."
During their first time together, Patterson told Salda that she likes to "throw kindness around like confetti." So for their second date, Salda brought flowers and a bag of confetti that the two tossed around town.
"He is just so kind and sweet and helpful and complimentary, and he will do anything for anybody," Patterson says of Salda, who has a 15-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. "He just makes me feel special all the time."
While they had chemistry together, the two weren't yet ready to settle down. Instead, they chose to stay in touch while dating other people.
"I didn't know if I was ready to do a whole, family thing again," Patterson says.
But they eventually reconnected after Salda reached out to her on Mother's Day, and treated her to a day out after she said the day had been stressful.
"She is probably the kindest, nicest, most generous person I have ever met in my life," he says of Patterson. "I have never met somebody that truly looks for the good in others. She can find good in just about anybody."
Jeremy Salda and Pam Patterson Salda
Salda made things official when he proposed to Patterson on a beach in Cancun in January.
"I've been speechless twice in my life: The time I met Tim McGraw, and that day," Patterson remembers.
That's when their idea for a Las Vegas ceremony began. They planned a Cabo wedding in August, but first needed to have a legal one in the U.S., and Sin City seemed like the perfect place to do it.
Instead, their wedding at 37,000 feet over Arizona has gone viral, with countless people across the world watching the sweet moments that unfolded on the plane.
Among the cherished memories: the couple's first dance up and down the airplane aisle to Bruno Mars' "Marry You."
"I said I wanted to be his co-pilot for life," Patterson recalls.
One passenger even gifted them a mini donut as a wedding cake. And a notebook was passed around the plane as a guest book.
Patterson says, "Someone on the plane told us, 'I feel like I just watched a rom-com.'"