Weddings … they barely ever go as planned. The bridesmaid’s dress rips, the pageboy throws a tantrum mid-ceremony, and the caterer brings chicken instead of salmon. Although, when it comes to the end of the night, the bride and groom look beyond these hurdles and prepare for a new life chapter together.
For couples in wildfire-prone areas like Colorado, their disasters are quite different, literally. “Wildfires are a part of life,” Sara McLaughlin, who married Michael Kramer on June 9th, told The Pacific Standard. The 416 Fire spread in southwestern Colorado.
The couple had planned to marry at Cascade Village Lodge in La Plata Country, however when residential officials announced the local disaster, the venue became evacuated. Rain, hail or shine – or fire – did not stop Sara and Michael from celebrating their special time with family and friends.
They relocated to a relative’s house in nearby Durango, and it was here where they stepped out to take a photo outdoors. They embraced the smoke cloud of apricot and tangerine hues, making for a striking background shot.
I want to give a huge thank you to the fire fighters on the ground trying to contain this thing! Sara and Michael were supposed to be married at Cascade Village but had to change venues to a family home on CR 250 at the last minute. I know the crews out there are working extremely hard to protect this valley and the homes in it, including the one we were at last night. From all of us at Alexi Hubbell Photography and the entire Carver, Kramer, and McLaughlin families, thank you for your service! Please spread the word that Durango and Silverton depend on tourist dollars in the summertime to survive. Those downtowns are not threatened by the fire and need your business! Monetary donations are being accepted by the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado for their Community Emergency Relief Fund. Checks can be mailed to the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado; P.O. Box 1673; Durango, CO 81302.By PayPal or credit card at the foundation’s website. Please see the @durango_herald for more information on how you can support firefighters and evacuees. #416fire. Hair and makeup: @hairfusiondgo Gown:@justinalexander @thebridalcollection
The image, captured by photographer Alexi Hubbell, went viral. Talk about a wild love.
“Natural disasters are viscerally powerful things we see on this planet,” says disaster researcher Mika McKinnon. “And to have that juxtaposed with a wedding— that contrast between chaos and order—is an aesthetically interesting thing.”
The bride, Sara, said, “It was initially taken as a personal way to remember how the fire had so greatly shaped our day and impacted local family and friends.”
Both Sara Kramer and photographer Alexi Hubbell used the traction garnered by the image to thank the many firefighters battling the flames and suggested ways to support Durango residents during wildfires.
Written by Shaymah Alkhair