Newlyweds, engaged couples survey the damage after fire destroys Sugar Spring Ranch


COLUMBIA, Ill. – For the last couple of days, brides and grooms have been surveying the complete destruction of their wedding venue in Columbia, Illinois.

Sugar Spring Ranch went up in flames over the weekend. Couples are rushing to find new locations for their receptions.

One couple, who were among the last to hold their reception at the spot just a few days before the fire, were shocked to learn the venue had burned down.

“Look at it now. I’m speechless,” Virginia Beckett said.

Virginia and her husband, Jon Beckett, cannot believe what happened to the place where they were celebrating their nuptials.

“It’s just mind-blowing,” Jon said. “This was a gorgeous location.”

Photos taken before the flames burned are evidence of just how beautiful the place was.

“It was something we never expected to happen,” bride-to-be Denna Ashcraft said. “It was obviously something very devastating to us.”

Ashcraft and her fiancé, Kyle Eldridge, had been planning their October wedding at Sugar Spring Ranch for months. She already purchased the dress, invitations, set up catering, and picked out the cake.

“We don’t want any of this to go to waste because we don’t know what’s going to happen now,” Ashcraft said.

They have begun looking at other locations but are hopeful a new Sugar Spring Ranch building will be ready when they say their vows.

“We got to plenty of time to plan and attempt to recover,” Elridge said.

Brides and grooms are quick to salute the owners, the Meyer family, for their compassion they are showing in the middle of their own tragedy. That compassion has been a two-way street.

“Most of these brides are reaching out,” Sugar Spring Ranch owner Melinda Meyer said. “They want to support us. They want to help us.”

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