Weddings … they barely ever go as planned. The bridesmaid’s dress rips, the pageboy throws a tantrum mid-ceremony, and the caterer brings chicken instead of salmon. Although, when it comes to the end of the night, the bride and groom look beyond these hurdles and prepare for a new life chapter together.
For couples in wildfire-prone areas like Colorado, their disasters are quite different, literally. “Wildfires are a part of life,” Sara McLaughlin, who married Michael Kramer on June 9th, told The Pacific Standard. The 416 Fire spread in southwestern Colorado.
The couple had planned to marry at Cascade Village Lodge in La Plata Country, however when residential officials announced the local disaster, the venue became evacuated. Rain, hail or shine – or fire – did not stop Sara and Michael from celebrating their special time with family and friends.
They relocated to a relative’s house in nearby Durango, and it was here where they stepped out to take a photo outdoors. They embraced the smoke cloud of apricot and tangerine hues, making for a striking background shot.
The image, captured by photographer Alexi Hubbell, went viral. Talk about a wild love.
“Natural disasters are viscerally powerful things we see on this planet,” says disaster researcher Mika McKinnon. “And to have that juxtaposed with a wedding— that contrast between chaos and order—is an aesthetically interesting thing.”
The bride, Sara, said, “It was initially taken as a personal way to remember how the fire had so greatly shaped our day and impacted local family and friends.”
Both Sara Kramer and photographer Alexi Hubbell used the traction garnered by the image to thank the many firefighters battling the flames and suggested ways to support Durango residents during wildfires.
Written by Shaymah Alkhair