Brides are told to always expect the unexpected on their wedding day.
But that took on a new meaning for a Chicago couple who got married in California’s wine country during the Kincade Fire.
Curtis and Katie Ferland traveled from the Windy City to have their dream destination wedding in Sonoma County Saturday, according to the Mercury News. When they landed, they were confronted with the enormous blaze that was ravaging the northern end of the county.
The couple continued their nuptials as planned at the Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood, about 30 miles south of where the fire started, but not without a few hiccups, the paper reported.
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The air was heavy with smoke, and the skies were as red as the flames that continued to burn. However, it wasn’t the first time the couple’s photographer had shot weddings during wildfires.
“It was the third year in a row that I had a wedding in the wine country and had smoke,” Karna Roa of KMR Photography told local station KNTV.
One particular photo went viral, depicting the couple hand in hand with masks over their mouths to protect them from the smoke as the fire raged in the background.
“Is this the ‘new normal’ for the California wine country in 2019?” Roa wondered in an interview with the Mercury News.
The couple’s wedding planner, Sara Sugrue, told the paper that the newlyweds didn’t exchange vows with the masks on and that they were only worn briefly outside for pictures.
Curtis told KNTV that his wife had to be talked into taking the picture with the masks because she feared it would be “tacky.”
“All we wanted was to have our dream wedding,” Katie said, “and we did. It’s crazy.”
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The Kincade Fire has burned 76,000 acres, destroyed 19 buildings and forced 200,000 to leave their homes as of Wednesday morning.
Wildfires are nothing new to wine country. More than 40 people died and 5,000 homes were destroyed in fires that swept across Napa and Sonoma counties in 2017. More than two dozen wineries were damaged by the blazes, although most had recovered and were operating again within a few months.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT
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