Toasters, blenders and silverware constitute traditional wedding gifts, but the residents of Temecula, Calif., had something a little bigger in mind for a local hero’s recent celebration: the wedding itself.
On April 27, Marine Cpl. Juan Dominguez and his now-wife, Alexis, wed in a $30,000 ceremony provided by the townspeople. Local businesses, friends and strangers donated such items as the cake, makeup and flowers, and they even paid for the rehearsal dinner, entertainment and reception venue.
Dominguez met Alexis when he was an outpatient at the U.S. Naval Medical Center in San Diego. In 2010, as he was serving in Afghanistan, Dominguez stepped on an improvised explosive device that took his legs and right arm.
“I thought she was cute, so I kind of dumped my girlfriend at the time and asked her out,” says Dominguez, who uses prostheses, of meeting Alexis. “I flew her to DC to watch me race in the Marine Corps marathon, and she thought I was crazy for flying her out there.”
They began dating and eventually moved to Temecula, where they had attended the Marine Corps Ball together. Dominguez proposed in February.
The wedding began to come together thanks to local winery owner Bill Wilson.
“[Wilson] asked if we had any plans for the wedding,” Dominguez says. “It turned into him saying they were going to donate the venue, food and wine, all on them.”
Local event planner Jennifer Molloy also offered her services and was able to reach out to others in the wedding industry for their help.
“I just felt like I had been chosen by [Juan and Alexis], and couldn’t have been happier.” Molloy says. “Sometimes I couldn’t even finish a sentence when I would talk to one of my fellow event associates, and they would be jumping at the chance to donate services, anything. It was incredible.”
The only items that weren’t donated? Alexis’ ring and dress, which Dominguez wanted to give to her.
The wedding was a success, and the couple celebrated along with 147 of their friends and family throughout the night. With his prostheses, Dominguez was able to walk down the aisle and dance with his bride.
“Every girl wants a dream wedding, and this is my dream wedding,” Alexis says. “Especially because I’m marrying the man of my dreams.”
Take a look at the video below of the couple’s wedding, and feel free to visit Dominguez’s Facebook page for more information.