A knock at the door-- the latest touch of fate's heavy hand in two soldiers' lives. For Courtney Beaulieu and Scott McCullough, with this house call, a dream wedding becomes a reality.
Reporter Steve Bottari: Did you guys think that you would win this?
Courtney Beaulieu: No, I mean I knew that we had a good story, but it just never seems like something like that is going to happen to you.
Out of 80 couples nationwide, they've been hand-picked to win a $70,000 wedding from a group called A Salute to our Soldiers.
Both of them grew up in Vermont and served in the Vermont National Guard. To tell their story properly, that's where we have to begin. Their story doesn't start in a picturesque Vermont setting, rather in a desert turned battlefield half a world away. A love story that could have just as easily been a tragedy.
In 2010, both Courtney and Scott were deployed to Afghanistan-- she, a mechanic; he, an infantryman. Not only were they not a couple, they had barely ever spoken. One day would change all that.
"On May 22nd my truck got hit by a rocket," Scott said.
Scott was sent to Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., where recovery took months, with a broken back, lacerated kidneys, ruptured spleen and a collapsed lung.
The truck was sent to Courtney.
"I just remember thinking whoever was in this truck probably didn't make it," she said.
Then Courtney got a message from Scott on Facebook. They started talking about the truck, the war and every piece of their lives. He convinced her to visit him in D.C.
"He was like, I'll pay for you to come down here. And I was like, this guy was out of his mind. There's no way I'm going to spend my leave in a hospital," Courtney said.
She did-- and it was in those days in the capitol that changed everything.
Steve Bottari: Courtney, you wrote, "When I saw him that day, I knew that I had made the right decision and that we were going to get married someday." You knew then?
Courtney Beaulieu: I knew then.
It's that story that what won over the judges in the contest.
"It was about the service to their country and the things that both of them went through as a couple in their journey," said Jackie Watson of A Salute to our Soldiers.
So now on Dec. 15, Courtney and Scott will walk the aisle at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden in front of 200 guests in a ceremony with every wedding bell and whistle imaginable.
Each says it's the other who truly deserves it.
"I know that this thing means a lot to her, despite what she says-- she does want a big wedding with all of these things. And I think she absolutely deserves it," Scott said.
"Scott's been through so much and he's never asked for anything from anyone," Courtney said.
And for the future bride and groom whose day started with a surprise, they got to pay it forward to family.
"Guess what?" they said in a phone call with family. "We won the wedding! They surprised us!"
A couple whose story may start in war, but whose future seems filled with love.
Courtney and Scott are trying to save up for a house, so they were just planning a small wedding. Now, they say they'll invite family, friends and colleagues.