Raging Wildfire Sets a Dramatic Background for Oregon Couple’s Wedding Photos [Gallery]

Michael and April Wolber’s wedding was almost canceled when a nearby wildfire began to burn dangerously close to their location, but they got a photograph of a lifetime.

  • Photo: Josh NewtonPhoto: Josh Newton
  • Photo: Josh NewtonPhoto: Josh Newton
  • Photo: Josh NewtonPhoto: Josh Newton
  • Photo: Josh NewtonPhoto: Josh Newton
  • Photo: Josh NewtonPhoto: Josh Newton

An Oregon couple had to relocate their wedding ceremony because of a wildfire, which broke out nearby and gave them the most surreal backdrop for their wedding photos.

April Hartley and Michael Wolber have found their dream location place for the wedding, Rock Spring Ranch in Oregon but everything went not as planned.

As Michael was waiting for his beautiful bride to go down the aisle on Saturday afternoon, when a fire truck rolled up with sirens blaring and everyone was told to evacuate the area because the Two Bulls wildfire was fast approaching.

“My heart was sinking,” Michael Wolber said. “I remember looking at the pastor, saying ‘Liz, I have to marry April today and I have to marry her here.’”

However, luckily to the bride and the groom, the firefighters changed their minds, as long as the ceremony was shortened. The wedding minister, Liz Leavitt, quickly married the couple, everyone cheered, and the evacuation began.

“It’s terrible to be evacuated from your own wedding,” said Lisa Clark, a fire information officer with the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center. “But it’s a story for the rest of their lives and nothing that could be duplicated.”

Clark added: “I don’t think the firefighters would have allowed the extra few minutes if it had been that critical.”

The happy groom then said: “It was like a movie,” describing it “the most beautiful ceremony either of us could have ever imagined.”

Guests began loading their cars as quickly as they could, and the reception was relocated to downtown Bend’s Drake Park. While that happened, wedding photographer Josh Newton sneaked away with the couple to take some incredible photos, with the wildfire raging in the background.

“I have never in 10 years photographed anything like it,” Newton told HuffPost Weddings. “It all felt very surreal, somewhat scary. We were all in shock. But it was also romantic and something that only happens once in your life.

“Michael and April reacted amazingly to the whole thing. They were stoked that everyone was safe and they were so optimistic and joyful about everything.”

Wolber told Fox 12: “The fire changed the plans of our day and completely changed the course of what we thought our wedding was going to look like. We wouldn’t change a single thing about the way yesterday went off.”

The wedding photo has since gone viral with over 88,000 likes on Facebook to date. With thousands of shares and likes on social media, people are clearly moved by the unexpected scene. Newton said people think the photo looks like the cover of a romantic novel, or a poster for “Gone With The Wind.”

“I wouldn’t blame them if they were bummed about it, but it would have made the photos less awe-inspiring,” Newton said. “They were just happy to be married and that’s what’s important.”

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