Karly Romo and Shawn Rodriguez

From the moment Shawn Rodriguez met Karly Romo in 2007, he was a Marine with a mission. But Romo, still bearing the battle scars of a recent breakup, managed to hold off his advances — at least at first. Armed with sincere passion, a deep, gritty voice and a telephone, Rodriguez deployed a long-range strategy for a year and a half until he broke through her defenses and finally won her heart. 

Romo, 30, is a physical education teacher at New Vista Middle School in Lancaster. Rodriguez, 31, is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He served in Iraq and Djibouti, currently works as a bodyguard, and will soon return to active duty in Afghanistan.

The couple married on June 11 at the Padre Serra Church in Camarillo. As the ceremony began, 10 Marines entered in full-dress blues, swords point-up from the palms of their white-gloved hands. The only sounds were their cadenced footsteps and the barely audible commands of a gunnery sergeant as they marched in and lined the aisle for the processional. 

When the combat-toughened groom saw his bride walk down the aisle in a white satin gown, he told himself, “Better man up.” But it did no good. “I started crying like crazy,” he said. “People were handing me Kleenex.”

After the ceremony, the couple made their exit through a tunnel of raised swords, then took off in their 1956 Ford station wagon, a Rodriguez family heirloom.

The groom and his swordsmen donned civvies for the rustic-themed reception at historic Camarillo Ranch, where the Mule Barn was decorated with hundreds of sunflowers and the walls were hung with a lifetime of photos that included each of their 200 guests. 

The couple served Jarhead Red, a wine made by the Marine Corps, and cut the cake with a Ka-Bar combat knife.

The wedding, planned by Annette Karp of Command Performance Catering Group & Event Production, came off without a hitch. “It was so amazing,” said Romo. “We’re both so happy.”

Maxine Nunes, Custom Publishing Writer

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