Twelve years ago this month, Michelle Belleau was instructed by her boss to drive to Cleveland Hopkins airport to pick up a client, who was arriving from Los Angeles.
She waited for Ron Peterson, whom she had never met, at baggage claim 6.
And that's where the two of them will get married this Saturday. They'll say their vows while standing on the baggage claim belt, with about 125 friends and family cheering them on.
According to Cleveland Hopkins officials, it's the first wedding at the airport, at least in recent memory.
"He said he really wanted to get married at the place we first met," said Belleau, who was working in the concert promotions business when she met Peterson, the president of Rotten Records. "I couldn't think of anything more perfect."
She said it took some convincing, but airport officials finally relented and allowed the gathering.
After that first meeting in 2007, Belleau and Peterson maintained a long-distance relationship for years – she in Cleveland, he in LA – and spent more time in the airport than either would have liked.
"It was both the happiest place and the saddest place," she said, depending on whether they were reuniting or saying goodbye.
Belleau, who has since moved to California, credits Southwest Airlines, and their companion-pass benefit, with helping to keep the couple together.
Save-the-date cards were designed to look like Southwest luggage tags; wedding invitations resemble Southwest boarding passes.
The airline, she said, has been super supportive, agreeing to shift arriving bags from passengers to a nearby belt during the ceremony, and even decorating the space.
So if you're passing through Cleveland Hopkins on Saturday afternoon and encounter a well-dressed crowd on the lower level, let this be a reminder: Travel sometimes does have unexpected benefits.