There’s nothing quite like the building excitement in the days before your wedding. But when this couple’s venue caught fire THREE WEEKS before their special day, fear and panic set in big time. And despite all odds, their friends, family, photographer Perry Vaile, and the amazing folks at Omni Grove Park Inn, made magic happen. They ended up with a wedding you’d never guess was pulled together and The Vault has the the photos that prove sometimes “Plan B” is even better.
From the Bride… Whew – where to start! I am Australian and my (new!) husband Sam is American. We’d been dating for about six years with four of those years spent with each of us in our respectful home countries. Handwritten letters, flights back and forth and countless numbers of hours spent on Skype kept us together. After years of many tears, too many goodbyes and me finishing college, our love story still going strong, we decided it was time to put ourselves in the same location. So, I begun the process of trying to move to the USA. This in itself was no easy task! Many people asked “Why don’t you guys just get married!” But, it just didn’t feel right! We knew we would get married one day, but we didn’t want a Visa to make it happen.
I eventually was offered an employment opportunity, and moved to the US! Eight months later, Sam surprised me on Christmas morning with a ski trip to Vail, Colorado. We left that morning and unbeknownst to me, he still wasn’t done with the surprises! On day two, we went to the top of the mountain so we could check out the views of the village. Sam had all the staff at the top of the mountain on his side. They took us on snow mobiles to a secluded little pergola where they had set up champagne, candles and a camera! When I turned around he was on one knee!
We didn’t want to rush the wedding planning process, we knew it was going to be an incredible feat to have all my family and friends arrange to come to the US for it. We gave ourselves 18 months to do it and I’m glad we did – it gave me time to really think about how I wanted our wedding to be. My best friend designed our invites which I cut and put together myself and then hand calligraphed each guests’ address onto in finetic gold ink. I crafted a lot of tea light candle holders to use as romantic decorations. While it took time, all the personal touches really made it feel like “our day.”
A month to go and everything was essentially set. My family was arriving two weeks prior to the day and we couldn’t be more excited that everything was falling into place! Three weeks before our big day, I woke up and checked my e-mail. There was one from my cake designer which said “Kaoma – I wanted to let you know in case you don’t already, there was a fire at your wedding venue last night. Let me know if I can do anything.” I was thinking “No way – she must have the wrong place!” so I frantically typed it into Google, and there it was, a news story and pictures of our wedding venue that we chose 16 months ago and absolutely adored, up in flames.
Sam is a medic and a fireman and was working a shift at the time, I called him immediately; he’s always good in these situations! He called the fire chief of the local department where our venue was, who told us, he was sorry but that “a team of 100 men couldn’t put that place back together in time for your wedding in three weeks.
We were going to be getting married in the mountains, a hugely popular wedding destination which is why we booked our venue so far in advance. We couldn’t believe what was happening. The thought of calling it off didn’t even cross our minds, our friends and family were FLYING IN just for this! We called everyone we knew in that area or who had friends in that area. Everyone immediately swung into action to find us a new venue!
Along with all of our other vendors, we called our photographer, Perry Vaile, to let her know the situation. She said “I got this!” She called around, including the Grove Park Inn. Thinking it was probably a waste of time because we thought that there would be no way the Grove Park has availability in the fall. Well, the stars all aligned. Erin Pangerl, the event coordinator at the time, informed us they had an opening at the country club for our day and that she wanted to help us in any way she possibly could! We signed the contract two days later and oh my goodness, we were getting married at the Grove Park Inn!
My family arrived and wedding festivities began. It was not only the best day ever, but the best three weeks ever! I don’t think there will ever be a time when both mine and Sam’s family is in the same place at the same time!
Despite rain leading up to and on the day of, it held off for the entire length of our wedding! Perry Vaile captured our day beautifully and we couldn’t be more thankful to our family, friends and amazing vendors who moved mountains to make our big day so incredible!
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Photography: Perry Vaile | Floral Design: The Bloom Room | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Cake: 50fiftydesserts | Bridesmaids' Dresses: White Runway | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka | Hair: Adorn Salon And Boutique | DJ: DJ Asian Will | Band: The Greenliners | Groom's Attire: Vera Wang | Groomsmen's Attire: Vera Wang | Venue: Omni Grove Park Inn | Make Up Artist: Blush By Wendy (artist Was Sara)