Few couples have started their marriage with a trial by fire like the one that fell upon Jeremy and Krista Bourasa.
On their wedding day earlier this month, the firefighter groom took leave from one of the best days of his life to go help a family experiencing one of their worst.
The Minnesota couple held their wedding at the fire station where Jeremy works in St. Paul Park, an idea Krista came up with after plans for their original venue fell through at the last minute.
“We talked about it, ‘What if there’s a call?’” she told NBC affiliate KARE11. “I was like, ‘You can let the other guys go. You’re not leaving our wedding.’”
The Sept. 1 ceremony went off without a hitch. The couple said their vows in front of a wall that Krista’s brother-in-law had built out of reclaimed barn wood.
They had just started taking photos with the entire wedding party when an alarm went off for a house fire a few miles away in a nearby town.
Jeremy looked at his bride, who was intent on finishing the photo shoot.
I've got the rest of my life with him. They needed him for that moment.
A few minutes later another call came in over the radio for the same fire. This time it was an urgent “all call” request seeking additional firefighters.
“I just looked over at Jeremy and I could just see it in his eyes. He felt so torn,” Krista said. “And I said, ‘Go ahead and go, babe. They need you.’”
And off he went.
Wedding photographer December Orpen, who had only captured a handful of photos at the time, described the moment to KARE 11 as “unconditional, unselfish love, not only for each other but for both of them, for their community and for what’s right.”
Krista’s appreciation for her husband’s work stems partly from personal loss. Two years ago, her niece and nephew died while visiting an aunt whose house caught fire in an early morning blaze.
She said sacrificing her husband for a few hours on their wedding day was nothing compared to what the family losing their home was feeling.
“I've got the rest of my life with him,” she said. “They needed him for that moment.”
After Jeremy left, the wedding party continued at the reception, where Krista led a prayer before dinner for the firefighters and the family losing their home.
Jeremy made it back to the group a few hours later, just in time for the first dance with his new bride.
He said Krista’s understanding earlier in the day cemented their relationship.
“That just kind of put the icing on the cake, for I know she’s the one for the rest of my life,” he said.
Despite the unusual turn of events, Krista said her wedding turned out perfectly.
“Our ceremony was so beautiful! WAY BETTER then I ever could have imagined and our reception not only beautiful, but so much fun too!!” she wrote on Facebook a few days later. “Jeremy made it back in time to go get a couple more photos of he and I and dance our first dance with me!!
"I married a real life hero!!”