Lauren & Gary: Waiting Was the Hardest Part

by Amanda Thames

Lauren Mumbalo and her husband, Gary Langdon, met in Atlanta, Georgia. Their love story, while not typical, is the kind of romantic tale everyone loves to hear. They spent three months together and then he left for boot camp with the Marines. Ever since their first parting, they have worked at a long-distance relationship. "We were willing to wait for each other since we both knew we had found the one," says Lauren.

After three years of long-distance dating and one year in Jacksonville, North Carolina, together, Gary took Lauren to the military ball. Before arriving, the couple went to the ocean to take pictures, both of them dressed in their military-ball best. "I turned around, and he was down on one knee," says Lauren, getting excited all over again. Gary already knew he was heading overseas in less than five months, so Lauren had hardly any time to prepare for her wedding at the Brooklyn Arts Center. But she did it. Then, the unthinkable happened.

Four weeks before the wedding, Gary came to Lauren and told her his deployment date was moved up to one week before their wedding day. "We almost weren't able to have the wedding," says Lauren. Fortunately, Gary was given an extension, and the wedding was saved. Unfortunately, his platoon was unable to attend, as they deployed on schedule.

Lauren chose red as the thematic color of her wedding to match Gary's dress blues. Their ceremony was traditional, but their reception was a "wild dance party." Even the cake and the topper were exceptional. Instead of a layered cake, Lauren and Gary chose to have each layer on a different tier circle. Their topper was customized to look exactly like them. "It was very realistic," says Lauren.

"The way I would sum up Gary and I is in the few years that we've been together, we've made so many sacrifices. We've spent more time away from each other than together. It's a tale of you'll wait for the good things because it's worth waiting for," says Lauren. She is currently waiting for Gary to come back home to her and is excited about their honeymoon when he returns.