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Speech pathologist reveals how she turned her wedding nightmare into the day of her dreams

An Australian couple were recently forced to re-organise their wedding in just seven hours after a freak lightning strike sparked a bushfire near their planned venue.   

Teagan Dwyer, 26, and Aaron Hamilton, 25, met in high school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, got engaged in May, 2018, and immediately started planning their dream day. 

And over the Australia Day long weekend Ms Dwyer and Mr Hamilton, his family and Ms Dwyer’s parents went to the rural Victoria venue Howqua Valley Views in 43°C heat to set up the space.   

 

An Australian couple were recently forced to re-organise their wedding in just seven hours after a freak lightning strike sparked a bushfire near their planned venue 

After the rehearsal the couple and their closest family and friends headed to a nearby town to have dinner.

‘Following dinner, at approximately 8:30pm, I checked my phone and noticed I had a voicemail from Lynden [the venue owner],’ Ms Dwyer told FEMAIL. 

‘She stated that a lightning bolt had struck and started a bushfire and for me to call her back as soon as possible.’

When Ms Dwyer called back she was told the venue owners Lynden and Ian, who also lived at the establishment, were evacuating but would grab the wedding dress and tuxedo.

Lightning strike: A lightning bolt had struck and started a bushfire, meaning it was unsafe to be at the venue. New venue pictured before

The couple were forced to find a new place for the reception. New venue pictured after

Lightning strike: A lightning bolt had struck and started a bushfire, meaning it was unsafe to be at the venue. The couple were forced to find a new place for the reception. Pictured before (left) and after (right)

When Ms Dwyer called back she was told the venue owners Lynden and Ian, who also lived at the establishment, were evacuating but would grab the wedding dress and tuxedo. Pictured: The fire at Howqua Valley Views

When Ms Dwyer called back she was told the venue owners Lynden and Ian, who also lived at the establishment, were evacuating but would grab the wedding dress and tuxedo. Pictured: The fire at Howqua Valley Views

Ms Dwyer was told it was unsafe to return to the venue that night and would have to find accommodation elsewhere.

If the fire wasn’t under control the next day they wouldn’t be able to have their wedding there, but Ms Dwyer was confident that the fire would be under control by the next morning.

However a text a 6.30am alerted her that this wouldn’t be the case as the fire was in fact growing. 

Determined: 'I was distressed on the inside but calm as I could be on the outside as I knew if I did not stay calm, we would not be getting married that day – and I was not having that,' Ms Dwyer said

Determined: ‘I was distressed on the inside but calm as I could be on the outside as I knew if I did not stay calm, we would not be getting married that day – and I was not having that,’ Ms Dwyer said

‘I barely slept that night, had an upset stomach due to stress and when I got the venue owner’s text I knew instantly that the odds were not in our favour or theirs,’ Ms Dwyer said.  

‘I was distressed on the inside but calm as I could be on the outside as I knew if I did not stay calm, we would not be getting married that day – and I was not having that!’

Ms Dwyer quickly leaped into action to ensure she would be walking down the aisle, having already called her celebrant in case she needed to make back-up plans.

They made plans to meet at another venue, Mansfield Botanic Park, in the morning to figure out whether it would be a suitable spot for their ceremony, and quickly that became the new place they would have their wedding.

‘Between 7am and 7:45am I attempted to contact all vendors including hairdresser, makeup artist, florist, caterer, photographer and videographer to let them know of a possible relocation before jumping in my car to meet the celebrant at 8am,’ she said.  

Lynden and Ian suggested the Mansfield Showgrounds could work as a place to hold the reception, and by 9.40am she had a new place for her ceremony and reception.     

‘When it was confirmed we would have to relocate the Lynden and Ian thankfully said that if we could get there quickly we could get out all of our things including tables, chairs, decorations, clothes, two cars, and our cool room full of drinks,’ Ms Dwyer said.

The venue owners from the initial establishment suggested a spot that could work as a reception, and by 9.40am she had a new place for her ceremony and reception

The venue owners from the initial establishment suggested a spot that could work as a reception, and by 9.40am she had a new place for her ceremony and reception

Race to get it set up: 'When it was confirmed we would have to relocate the original venue owners thankfully said that if we could get there quickly we could get out all of our things including tables, chairs, decorations, clothes, two cars, and our cool room full of drinks,' Ms Dwyer said

Race to get it set up: ‘When it was confirmed we would have to relocate the original venue owners thankfully said that if we could get there quickly we could get out all of our things including tables, chairs, decorations, clothes, two cars, and our cool room full of drinks,’ Ms Dwyer said

‘I sent my husband-to-be to contact all family members and friends that had already arrived that owned a ute or trailer to convoy up to the venue. In the end there was a convoy of eight cars that got everything out of there in less than two hours.’

Over the next six hours around 30 members of the bride and groom’s family transformed the reception.

Ian Lynch from Howqua Valley Views told Daily Mail Australia he and Lynden were disappointed the couple couldn’t have the wedding at their establishment.

‘We did everything we could to help them as they were such a lovely couple,’ he said.

He said they had a terrific day in spite of the fire raging a kilometre from their original venue.

Mr Lynch told Daily Mail Australia the couple came to have tea with him the next day and give him a card to thank him.

The shift in venue meant the couple had to change the wedding’s entire timeline.  

‘Aaron and I were always going to have a first look photo shoot before the ceremony but there was absolutely no time and so the feeling of seeing him for the first time standing at the alter was absolutely incredible,’ Ms Dwyer said.

Over the next six hours around 30 members of the bride and groom's family transformed the reception and change the wedding's entire timeline

Over the next six hours around 30 members of the bride and groom’s family transformed the reception and change the wedding’s entire timeline

She said it was a miracle and many guests commented that it couldn't be known that the wedding wasn't supposed to be there the entire time

She said it was a miracle and many guests commented that it couldn’t be known that the wedding wasn’t supposed to be there the entire time

‘Then to walk into the reception hall and see the space absolutely transformed and unrecognisable from what it was that morning took my breath away and brought me to tears.’

She said it was a miracle and many guests commented that it couldn’t be known that the wedding wasn’t supposed to be there the entire time.

‘Now in the aftermath, we feel so loved and so exhilarated. We are incredibly grateful to our hardworking families that pulled together when we needed them without a second thought.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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