Monday morning, Colton and I woke up thinking we were heading to Napa to get married that Saturday. Our things we packed, Bentley was by our side and we were on our way to our early morning flight. I was in such a whirlwind making sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, that I never once turned on the news. We raced to the airport, got through security and were standing in line, about to board, when I finally read my text messages.
The first one I saw was a text from Colton’s mom, with the news of wild fires in wine country from the night before. I immediately called our planner to find out exactly what was going on. She confirmed the fires, just how bad they really were, but assured that the venue, our hotels, and everything were fine. The fires were mostly north of Calistoga and on the other side of the mountains in Sonoma. That yes, there was smoke in the air, but that by Thursday it should fade out.
So we boarded the plane feeling at ease.
Once we landed, we had about 47 text messages from friends and family asking if the wedding was still on. We said yes, of course (!) but that we needed to assess the situation. Once we got into Napa, we still carried on like nothing was happening. There was zero cell service in the town and it had yellow smokey fog going through it. Other than that though, things were going on as usual. We met out planner downtown, got our marriage certificate, talked about the fires and still had every intention to move forward. That by Thursday most of this would be gone. The wineries would open back up and everything would be just fine.
Needless to say, I was feeling confident. The smoke downtown really wasn’t bad and I knew that it would fade out quickly.
As we made our way to Calistoga, we never saw any fires, but the smoke started to get really bad. The whole area looked like an apocalypse had hit. I immediately started crying. It hit right then just how bad it really was. None of the towns had electricity, there was no cell service, and none of the wineries or restaurants were open. We stopped and talked to one guy at a nearby hotel in St. Helena, and he told us his hotel had no electricity and that they were only allowed one flush for the evening.
So we kept making our way up to Calistoga to see the damage. Calistoga was supposed to have been one of the cities affected by the fires the most, so we were preparing for the worst. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised. Yeah the town was a little dead and nothing was open, but they had electricity and there was movement.
So we dropped off Bentley at the hotel and went to find food. We drove around for what seemed like hours and couldn’t find anything open. We finally found a grocery store in St. Helena running off a generator, that had been so picked over, you would have thought a hurricane was hitting. Colton got a frozen pizza, I got a lean cuisine (gross) and we went back to our hotel.
At this point, everyone and I mean everyone we talked to said that by Tuesday, the smoke would start to go down, Wednesday the wineries would be back open, and that by Thursday and Friday the smog (which was really really bad) would blow out.
So we went to bed feeling confident.
Tuesday morning I woke up to a million texts from our parents at 5:00 am, asking for us to call them when we woke up.
As we looked outside, the smog had gotten worse. The fires were controlled but you could barely see around you. There were ashes in the air and I could just feel my heart drop. We talked to our parents but ultimately I needed to talk to my planner and caterer. I mean, our parents weren’t here. Colton and I were, so it was hard to hear from them what they thought we should do when they weren’t even here. As soon as I got on the phone with my planner, I knew. Basically, the smoke wasn’t going to get any better, so the air quality would be really unsafe for guests. They didn’t know when the towns were going to get electricity. The restaurants weren’t getting shipments for food and most of the hotels were canceling our guest’s rooms to give to the firefighters, which makes total and complete sense.
I was a total and complete mess but this time. I felt like I had held myself together for the most point, up until I tried to sneak away to the gym and had a phone call from my mom. I’ll never forget the image of me walking on a treadmill, full on hysterically crying on the phone, while everyone around me tried to ignore it. It was so awkward, but I was so upset.
At the end of it all. Colton and I ultimately decided to postpone our wedding. This was literally the hardest decision, but I think it was the right one. This is not something we wanted to bring our friends and family into. We had been planning for over a year and never in a million years did I think this would happen. In order to not lose all of our money, postponing was our best option. Our caterer, the venue and all of our vendors were so over the top helpful and understanding.
All I can think of in this whole situation is that everything happens for a reason. That God has bigger and better plans for us. To be completely honest, I was so stressed going into this week and it is honestly kind of relieving knowing that going into May, everything will already have been planned and paid for. Of course, Colton and I are devastated, I mean, we thought we were getting married this weekend…. But at the same time, so many families lost their homes and their lively hoods. Lives have been lost. I mean… this fire was devastating for so many. Our wedding is so, so small on the greater scale of things.
Our official new official wedding date is 5.19.18. We are moving forward and could not be any more excited!
As sad as I am, I know we made the right decision. We will still be going on our honeymoon but are taking it as more of a vacation.
Thank you to everyone who has been sending messages to Colton and me, and for keeping us in your prayers. Your encouraging words really mean the world to us. I really do believe that God has a bigger plan, so we are completely at ease.
The post is in no way shape or form meant to be unsympathetic towards anyone involved or affected by the fires in California. Coming from someone who just went through Harvey, I know first hand what devastation from Mother Nature looks like. This post is strictly meant for our friends and family who have not heard directly from Colton or I. This is for my devoted readers who have been following our wedding journey every step of the way.
Our hearts ache tremendously for those affected by the fire and are sending all of our love and prayers. What we went through is so small in comparison to those affected directly.