Sonoma County

Couple Has ‘Magical' Wedding Despite Evacuating From Kincade Fire

Anyone who has thrown a wedding before will tell you to expect the unexpected on the big day. And that's exactly what one couple had to deal with when the Kincade Fire threatened their "dream wedding" in Sonoma County.

When Emily Merrell met Greg Hill, she knew she wanted the celebration of their marriage to be spectacular.

"We really wanted to do something in our backyard," Merrell said. "We love wine, we love wine country, and we fell in love with this venue in Calistoga."

But on the day of the wedding, the Kincade Fire roared dangerously close to Emily's dream wedding venue in Calistoga.

Even though the property was in the clear all morning -- 30 minutes before the walk down the aisle the fire marshal ordered everyone to evacuate.

"We were already taking pictures, we were all ready to go," Hill said.

Merrell texted a friend who had offered to host the wedding at her house if the fires became too dangerous.

"In downtown St. Helena, in a little residential house. Like, this is something that your mom lives in for retirement," Merrell said.

With only a few hours to spare, friends, family and Merrell's vendors moved the wedding and they made it happen.

"It worked out," she said. "It was magical."

The couple's friend had some open space next to her house that they used for the ceremony site and turned a long driveway into a catering space.

"Everybody pitched in and helped and made an aisle out of ferns," Hill said. "It really transformed this place. My brother was knocking on doors of neighbors asking for chairs."

The couple is now celebrating their honeymoon and thankful for the support of their friends and family.

"I can't believe we pulled this off. It was perfect."

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