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Young couple’s dream Okanagan wedding saved after original venue evacuated because of wildfire

It was supposed to be a dream wedding for Tyler Balaban and his fiancé Ronny.

However, when a lightning storm passed through the Okanagan on Tuesday, July 17, it nearly went up in flames. Literally.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia

Their original venue, Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greta Ranch, was evacuated after the Mount Eneas wildfire ballooned from two to more than 1,000 hectares in a matter of hours.

“For myself absolute shock, and then after that wore off I went into search and (conquer) mode,” Balaban said of his reaction. “Being (that my) fiancé was on a houseboat, I didn’t tell her until it was certain that the evacuation notice was in effect.”

“Telling your girl that your wedding day dreams are crushed was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.”

Balaban took to Twitter, hoping that social media could help him find a solution to his problem, and did social media ever deliver.

People offered up their houses, wineries broke policies to try and help and, within 24 hours, the young couple had decided on a new venue.

Quails’ Gate came to the rescue, offering up their private lake house for their special day, a venue that generally doesn’t allow weddings.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed

And despite the scrambling leading up to the wedding, Balaban said the day couldn’t have turned out any better.

“The day of the wedding everything just clicked,” he explained. “It was emotional to see how transformed the venue turned out compared to the day before!”

Balaban said he has to thank Gordon Fitzpatrick, owner of Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, and multiple Quails’ Gate staff for making the day so magical.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed

Now the newlyweds are off to Thailand for their honeymoon, while still basking in the ongoing support of the entire Okanagan community.

“I truly feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” said Balaban. “A wedding forged in fire turned out to be a unforgettable fairytale ending!”

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