California couple marries at evacuation center despite Oroville dam damage

OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — A California couple has taken a crisis and turned it into celebration. They were forced to leave their home because of damage done to a dam at Lake Oroville, California.

With the help of complete strangers, the couple was able to get married just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The band was playing, flowers were all set, and glasses were ready to toast. As the bride takes the walk down the aisle, her guests are reaching to get a look. You’d never know all of them were strangers to each other just a few hours before.

“I told her, what special day do you want to do it, she says how about valentine’s day,” Henry Rueda said. “I was just going to have a small little wedding for me and her, a couple of our friends. The Oroville dam destroyed our Valentine’s Day.”

Leotta and Henry Rueda’s marriage had been ten years in the making. On Sunday, the couple was forced to evacuate their home for the Placer County Fairgrounds with about 300 others displaced from their homes. Their big day was ruined, or so they thought.

“We reached out to the community,” Chris Gray-Garcia said. “They’ve been fantastic in responding with any donations they could possibly ask for, we thought they’d be happy to help in this case and they sure did.”

With a single Facebook post, Henry and Leotta’s wedding was back on. Evacuees themselves became makeshift wedding planners. One by one, donations poured in to the evacuation center. A tuxedo and dress, food and drink, flowers, even a hotel room and a limo brought.

“I’ve never been in a limo,” Leotta said.

“A limousine waiting for me to take me to the hotel is like wow,” Henry said.

Of course, despite all they’ve been through, one wedding staple this couple was never without, was love.

“I know we had our ups and downs, but I will always love you,” Leotta said.

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