NEWBURYPORT — It's the classic teen love story. Boy meets girl through mutual friends. She invites him to her Sweet 16 party. Friendship quickly grows into a relationship. And soon, they become inseparable.
That's pretty much how the story began in August 2005 for then 15-year-old Newburyport natives Travis Souther and his girl, Marissa Games.
In their almost seven years together, the young couple have been each other's rock. She followed him to Kansas, where he has been stationed in the Army, and they got engaged. They counted the days until his return from an eight-month deployment to Iraq in 2010. He has supported her while she has pursued her bachelor's degree in kinesiology.
When Souther decided this winter to extend his contract with the military for nine months so he could sign up for a second deployment, this time to Afghanistan, Games figured they'd put wedding plans on hold and encouraged him to finish the work he had started.
But this time, Souther won't be leaving behind a fiancee when he ships out later this spring from Fort Riley. The young couple decided to begin the next tour as husband and wife.
So, on an unseasonably warm, early-spring day yesterday, they stood before about 40 family members and close friends in a late-morning ceremony on the Newburyport waterfront and exchanged vows to love, comfort and cherish each other.
Games, 22, wore a knee-length, white lace dress with a scalloped hem and carried a simple bouquet of calla lilies and one red rose. Souther, 21, donned his crisp Class A dress uniform for the ceremony officiated by justice of the peace and Newburyport City Clerk Richard Jones.
Her father, Paul Games, walked her down to the concrete platform in Market Landing Park that overlooks the embayment. Souther's brother, TJ, stood up for them as best man.