No. 9: Real Runaway Bride (aka Earthquake Bride)

A woman attempting a secret marriage had her plans altered in an earth-shaking manner, and a photographer was there to capture the moment.

So much for the secret part.

The “earthquake bride,” Valerie Shevchenko, and her husband, Dmitriy Grif, 19, have been adjusting to married life since the 5.8 tremor that had hit the east coast in August. The couple first caught the public’s eye when 18-year-old Shevchenko was photographed running in her wedding dress, carrying a cell phone and bouquet. She was dubbed the Runaway Bride, although she wasn’t running away but searching for her groom.

“They said they had stopped the train — and my husband was on the train,” said Shevchenko, a biology student at Brooklyn’s Kingsborough Community College. “I ran all the way to Chambers and Broadway in my wedding dress and with my long veil to make sure he was OK.”

The focus on that photo escalated when reporters discovered the two planned to get married on the sly. “They’d said we’re too young and not for each other,” Shevchenko said, telling reporters at the time that her mother-in-law didn’t like her and would “go crazy” over the news.

Shortly after the story broke and broadcast across the Internet, Grif’s parents indeed discovered the marriage. Having everything out in the open may actually help the couple gain parental approval in the long run, and the couple accepted that the news couldn’t stay hidden forever. Shevchneko also says she found another happy side effect: Dmitriy wears his wedding band.

The two say they are still very much in love and still celebrate their first few months of marriage, now that things have quieted down. Grif is also a college student, and they face their share of obstacles. They are renting an apartment in New York City (where rent is high even in a recession), and they are admittedly “broke,” with no plans for a honeymoon. But even with a few challenges, their life together is off to a dramatic start.

Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Kwala Mandel is an editor for Yahoo! who works on special projects ranging from the royal wedding to the remembrance of September 11 to the latest “Twilight” premiere and live-streamed Decade of Difference concert. Mike Benzie is an Atlanta local news editor.