From chaos to perfection, Angela and Jamie Williams were planning to get married at a nearby National Park but fires put a stop to this. By Leah Moore Photographer
From chaos to perfection, Angela and Jamie Williams were planning to get married at a nearby National Park but fires put a stop to this. By Leah Moore Photographer

Bushfires fuel ‘the most perfect’ day of their lives

WITH burning leaves starting to flutter down on her backyard, Angela Dalton thought she'd check to see it was all systems go for her wedding the next day.

"I rang at about 3.30 and they said 'you're actually on our list of people to call' and my heart just sank because I knew what they were going to say.

"For about 5 minutes I was just in complete shock. I was in silence, I just couldn't even get my head around it. What do you do with that short notice."

The Coffs Harbour woman was due to be married to fellow local Jamie Williams the very next day on November 9 at Bongil Bongil National Park but with fires raging around the region The National Parks and Wildlife Service deemed it too dangerous.

The celebration had been planned since the start of the year and guests were in town from across the country ready to be bussed out to the park.

"In town there was a lot of smoke and black dust. I knew it was really really dry and I made a joke on Friday morning that the only thing that would stop the wedding would be a bushfire - I wish I didn't make that joke because I feel like I jinxed it."

But now, looking back on the day and going by her married name, Angela Williams thinks it all happened for a reason and resulted in the "most perfect" day of her life.

 

From chaos to perfection, Angela and James Williams were planning to get married at a nearby National Park but fires put a stop to this.
From chaos to perfection, Angela and James Williams were planning to get married at a nearby National Park but fires put a stop to this.

"After the initial shock I called my sister and we sprang into action and started thinking. We tried Boambee reserve but all the shelters on the grassy area were booked out but then we called the Botanic Gardens and left a message.

"It was getting towards five o'clock and I wasn't even sure if they would call back but then Richard called and by 5.30 I was completely happy again."

Angela and her family will be eternally grateful to Richard Ackland, acting curator of the Botanic Garden in Coffs Harbour (North Coast Regional Botanic Garden) for turning the situation around.

"He put me completely at ease. He stayed back and drove my sister and I around to look at a few different options and we chose the Americas - it was just so beautiful with so many flowers in bloom - one garden bed was bright yellow, it was just so pretty.

"He just said 'you have to treat people like family'. To him it was a no-brainer: we needed help and he just helped us. He just didn't understand that not everyone is like that."

Richard remembers Angela phoning "in a bit of a state" but didn't think twice about stepping up to help out.

 

Angela and her family will be eternally grateful to Richard Ackland, acting curator of the Botanic Garden in Coffs Harbour.
Angela and her family will be eternally grateful to Richard Ackland, acting curator of the Botanic Garden in Coffs Harbour.

"She was fairly stressed, but by the time I'd shown her around, she was a lot happier," Richard said.

"When somebody is in that position you help as much as you can. If it was my daughter and she was in that state I'd wish that somebody would help her. They were really nice people so I'm glad we went out of our way to help them."

Angela and James have been friends for 20 years but only fell in love two years ago. They have one-year-old twins; a boy Jonty and girl Mabel. She also has two children from a past relationship: Oscar (10) and Camille (7).

"His life has changed so much in the last two years. Jamie has gone from bachelorhood to the father of four children and he's just so good at it; it's amazing to watch."

Angela grew up in Coffs Harbour and went to St. John Paul College.

They're both keen bushwalkers and had their hearts set on an outdoor celebration.

Approximately 80 people attended the wedding.

"It was just so relaxed and we had so many of our guests saying afterwards that it was the

most relaxed wedding they have ever been to.

"The actual day was perfect - I can't believe it."


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