When Michael Florence decided to cool off during a heat wave and sit back and enjoy some free WiFi at McDonalds, little did he know that his future wife, Larra Turner, would be waiting on him.

By RIMSIE MCCONIGA
rmcconiga@leavenworthtimes.com

When Michael Florence decided to cool off during a heat wave and sit back and enjoy some free WiFi at McDonalds, little did he know that his future wife, Larra Turner, would be waiting on him. Their recent marriage on June 10 is evidence that their chance meeting in a fast-food restaurant was a harbinger of exciting things to come.

Now, one of Michael’s favorite jokes is that on that important day he ordered a ‘McGirlfriend.’
Technically, they both proposed to each other. “We had been dating for almost five years. We never really sat down and decided ‘this is it.’ We just knew. We were at the mall and we saw a ring so we bought it. He had the ring for nine months in a place I knew and he hadn’t proposed yet,” says Larra.  “I got impatient so I took the ring and said, ‘you’re taking too long. Let’s get married.’ However in March we bought a new wedding set because we agreed the original was dull.”

The planning took about a year and a half and was challenging Larra says because there were so many details, big and small, that needed taken care of.
Although they had a few disagreements, they met in the middle and compromised on the arrangements most of the time. “The hardest decision was the guest list. We both have huge families and lots of friends and we were only allowed 150 guests in the hall,” says Larra. “We hated the fact that there wasn’t enough room for everyone, but the second hardest decision, the budget, kept us from spending thousands of dollars on a bigger venue.”

Their families helped to keep the couple on budget when Larra got carried away with plans. The couple’s parents had small weddings and pushed for Larra and Michael to elope and get married in Las Vegas. Laura says the only way the weddings were similar was that there was lots of love on the big day.
One of the most important challenges for the wedding for Larra was finding the perfect dress.
“I wanted a dress to fit our theme of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I went to two different salons and after trying on five dresses, I found my dream dress,” she said.
Larra urges others planning weddings to stay organized and not let the wedding consume you. “Talk about other topics, still go out on regular dates,” she says. “There are 24 hours in a day, if you spend all of that time planning, thinking, and talking wedding you will get tired of it and the day won’t be as special because you will just want it to be over with.”

Their biggest hope was that the day would be filled with love and laughter and that it would take place without any hitches and no drama.
While Larra was a little nervous about the big day, Michael was stress-free.
The wedding took place at James P. Davis Hall on Wyandotte County Lake with three bridesmaids and three groomsmen and 150 guests.
“We want a long, happy marriage,” says Larra. “We want to find our forever home and start a family. We also want to get a travel trailer and see the country. Most importantly we never want to fall out of the honeymoon stage.”
And on their 50th anniversary, Larra hopes they remember the moment they said, “I do.” “I want to remember the feeling of being excited for the future and feeling unstoppable,” she says.  “I want to remember looking into his eyes and seeing the overflowing love we had in that moment.”