Strangers help bride get new dress after hers was lost in massive wildfire

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Inevitably, a lot of things can go wrong in preparation for a wedding, but having one’s wedding dress burn up in a massive wildfire just days before the nuptials is pretty much the worst case scenario.

That was the devastating reality faced by Canadian bride Elise Boissonneault, who is scheduled to be married this weekend in Toronto, and whose wedding dress was destroyed, along with the bridal shop where it was purchased, by the raging wildfires that have been burning through Fort McMurray in Alberta for the past week.

Though Boissonneault and her fiancé were evacuated from their home in Fort McMurray along with tens of thousands of others, they chose to go forward with their wedding as planned. And thanks to the power of the Internet and the kindness of strangers, Boissonneault got a replacement dress.

The effort to find Boissonneault another dress similar to her original one was spearheaded by her friend and wedding photographer Alex Neary, who posted about Boissonneault’s dilemma on Facebook and within hours received offers from hundreds of strangers to loan or donate their used wedding dresses.

Businesses chimed in to offer their services as well, and when Boissonneault arrived in Toronto Thursday, she was taken by Neary to LeaAnn Belter Bridal, which lent the bride not one, but two gowns — one for the ceremony, and another for the reception.

“You don’t expect this to happen and then for people to put out this much love and support … it’s crazy,” Boissonneault told Toronto’s CBC News.

In other good news, Boissonneault learned her home had been spared from the wildfires, and she told the CBC she plans to help those affected by the devastation when she returns to Fort McMurray.

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