From the moment Angela Graham arrived at Ottawa's Strathmere wedding venue she knew it was the one.

Now, she's hoping it can also be the one for someone else.

Graham and her fiancé Stephen Borsellino are cancelling their dream wedding after a fire nearly destroyed Borsellino's father's home in the Hamilton area Sunday.

'Easy decision, tough reality.'

"We couldn't justify spending our wedding savings on a wedding when his family doesn't even have a home right now," said Graham, who also lives in Hamilton.

Borsellino says the fire started on the porch and spread quickly to the attic. As fire crews raced to save what they could Borsellino says he and his brothers learned their father didn't have home insurance.

wedding fire

Fire crews work to extinguish fire at Hamilton area home on Sunday. (Angela Graham)

"I just said you're going to have to accept some help that you're not going to want to accept," said Borsellino. "We both agree that a roof on the house is worth more than having a wedding."

The pair had budgeted about $30,000 for their big day on Sept. 10, but $5,000 of that is tied up in deposits at Strathmere, a country retreat popular for weddings.

Graham said on Wednesday the venue has transferred half the deposit to allow the couple to have a smaller, 25-person ceremony with close family and friends at the venue a day earlier, on Sept. 9.

"They really are helping us and going over and above to make sure we still have a dream wedding; albeit a mini version," she said in an email.

If they can find someone else to take their Sept. 10 date she says they'll get even more.

"We're looking for somebody that would be willing to take that over for us," said Graham. "So we can really put as much money back towards rebuilding this home as possible." 

Angela Graham wedding fire

Angela Graham and Stephen Borsellino were set to marry Sept 10 at Ottawa's Strathmere wedding venue. (Melissa Johnston)

Graham says she's confident in their decision, even after months of planning and years of saving.

"It's not easy and it's not fun but it's the right thing to do," she said. "It's family first and it's priorities."

wedding fire

Borsellino says wedding money will help his dad rebuild. (Angela Graham)