The “out of control” wildfire in Fort McMuray had forced bride to be Élise Boissonneault to escape town – without her wedding dress.
Disappointed, her dreams of having a perfect wedding day were looking to get ruined.
Boissonneault and her fiancée were two of the 80,000 people who were forced to evacuate Fort McMurray last week after a wildfire spread to hundreds of thousands of hectares. The evacuation orders were so sudden that Boissonneault did not have time to stop by her seamstress’s house, where she had kept the dress.
Boissonneault and her fiancé Brandon Phillippo had planned to tie the knot in Toronto Islands this Saturday. But on Wednesday, when she was stuck in traffic on the way to Edmonton, she knew that her dress was gone. “I feel a lot more sorry for (the seamstress),” Boissonneault said, as reported by the Star.
That is when her wedding photographer Alex Neary requested a call for help, sharing the news on social media. In response, several offers came in. The bride-to-be, after trying a few dresses, was given two dresses by the Lea Ann Belter Bridal shop – one for the ceremony and the other for the reception.
“It’s honestly so touching I really can’t describe the feeling I have, it just gives me butterflies to think that people would do such a wonderful thing,” Boissonneault said, as reported by the Huffington Post.
“Everyone cheered for her when she got off the ferry and multiple people stopped her on the island because they recognized her and were so happy for her,” Neary said, as reported by CBC News.
With the almost 30 friends and family that will be attending couple’s wedding ceremony, Boissonneault said she is eager to be among her closest. “Really excited to see all them and their smiles,” she said. “It’s just nice to have comforting people around you. People you really love that are there for you always and supporting you.”
She said she was hoping to keep the dress a secret from her husband-to-be; but with all the attention it was receiving, she wondered if it was going to be possible. “Hopefully nobody tags him in any posts,” she said.
On Saturday I have a wedding. My couple are from Fort McMurray and yesterday they were evacuated from their home. I asked Elise what I could do to help her on my end here and she asked me if I could possibly help to find her a new dress as hers was lost in the fire. I posted on Facebook and within an hour hundreds upon hundreds of strangers had reached out, offering to give her their dress to wear. Designers, bridal stores and fellow photographers all did what they could to help her find a new gown. Elise arrived in Toronto at 3pm, I picked her up at 5:30pm and we went to @leaannbelterbridal where the ever so generous and gracious, Ginny, lent Elise not one but two dresses. One for the ceremony and one to change into for the reception. Elise was so overcome with emotions by everything that has happened and I can safely say that the kindness shown by strangers has touched her more than you will ever know. Thank you SO much for all of your help! You really don't know how much it means to her and her family. ❤️❤️❤️ #BeKindToOneAnother @vsco