British Columbia

'That will stick with us forever': the wedding saved from wildfire by the kindness of strangers

Ronny Kwetny and Tyler Balaban's original venue was evacuated due to wildfires — but when their plight came to light on social media, the couple from Coquitlam, B.C., were inundated with offers to help find a new location.

Ronny Kwetny and Tyler Balaban overwhelmed by offers to help after original venue was evacuated

After a last-minute search for a new venue — aided by family, friends and strangers — Ronny Kwetny and Tyler Balaban were married by Okanagan Lake on the weekend. (Submitted by Ronny Kwetny)

A B.C. couple whose dream wedding was threatened by wildfires refused to let the flames ruin their happily-ever-after — and, thanks to numerous offers of help from family, friends and strangers, they tied the knot on the weekend.

Ronny Kwetny and Tyler Balaban had planned to get married at a vineyard in the Okanagan but, just days before the event, the ranch was evacuated due to the fires.

"Emotions were definitely running high," said Kwetny, who was left with 48 hours to re-plan the big day.

But when their plight came to light on social media, the couple from Coquitlam, B.C., were inundated with offers to help find a new venue.

"The thing that surprised us was how much support and compassion and how generous everyone was," Kwetny told Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South.

"People that we had never met, they don't know us at all, they would call up and offer up their properties."

She said some people offered to give up their homes for the night, willing to go sleep elsewhere, in order for the couple to hold their wedding on their property.

'We had guests continuously coming saying, ‘Well from now on, we’re all going to plan our weddings in 48 hours — who needs a year?' says Ronny Kwetny. (Submitted by Ronny Kwetny)

'Kindness of complete strangers'

In the end, Kwetny and Balaban tied the knot at a lake house at the Quails' Gate winery, near Kelowna, B.C., over the weekend.

"That will stick with us forever, just the kindness of complete strangers to someone in need," Kwetny said.

Balaban recalled exchanging their vows and being able to see smoke from the wildfires over the horizon.

"Looking at each other and knowing that we got here, we have all this support, it brought us stronger together," he said.

The couple spoke to CBC from the Vancouver International Airport, en route to their honeymoon in Thailand.

With files from Daybreak South

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