A wedding disaster turned into a true story of unbelievable kindness, lifelong memories, and inspiration.
Tyler Adair and Ayla Ranahan were planning on celebrating their dream wedding at a lakefront cabin in Blind Bay on June 23.
The Calgary couple made their way to British Columbia in hopes of blue skies and warm weather, but were instead met with persistent rain and floods.
Despite the weather, the couple happily said their vows in the rain, under a simple archway on a dock.
“It was beautiful,” said Shirley Breckenridge, a longtime family friend. “The bride had mud all over the train of her dress but she didn’t even care. She said she is only wearing it once anyway.”
Breckenridge also described the mother of the groom, who wore her finest dress which was accessorized with a pair of gum boots.
The continuous rain soon caused water levels to rise and the wedding reception to be replaced by a sandbagging marathon.
Wedding guests struggled to save the cabins from disaster.
As the water continued to climb towards their cabins, help came from the most unexpected place.
“A colony of Mennonites showed up,” said Jason Adair, the groom’s brother. “No one called them, they just came on their own.
“They said we have a truck with 40 tons of sand and sandbags, as well as people to help you.”
A total of 48 people showed up to help the couple on their wedding night.
“They didn’t even ask for anything in return,” said Breckenridge.
“They just showed up when we were in need of help. It was truly amazing,” she says.
“With their help we had the entire area sand bagged in an hour-and-a-half,” added Jason.
“There were children, as well as adults,” said Breckenridge. “Everyone was lending a hand in some way.”
The family and friends of the couple could not get over the generosity of the Mennonites.
Breckenridge explains that when they were finished sandbagging, the Mennonites gathered together on the dock where the couple had earlier said their vows and, together, sang a song about love and coming together.
She tries to describe the strong emotions that hung in the air at that moment.
What seemed like a disaster had quickly turned into something much more inspirational.
People they had never met, had come together and performed a true act of human kindness.
Many in the group agree that at that moment, the song meant much more than a simple wedding wish.
“I don’t think there was a dry eye,” says Breckenridge.
The group of Mennonites took no time to rest before heading out to help even more people in need.
Almost directly after they finished helping out at the Blind Bay cabins, the group was called to help out in Enderby.
“They left to help them out right away, and they were going to be working straight through the night,” she explained.
Jason says that when they woke the next morning, they decided they had to pay forward the extreme generosity that was bestowed upon them.
“We went up and down the road helping whoever we could. We helped sandbag for an RCMP officer and his wife, as well as another family just down the road here. We also went and helped Ryan Smyth’s parents move some of the gym equipment and matting out of their house so it didn’t get wrecked.”
“They just did such a great thing for us,” said Jason.
“We felt we had to do what we could to help others as well.”