A couple from Maple Ridge is dealing with more than the usual last-minute errands in the lead up to their wedding after the reception venue was destroyed in a fast-moving fire, which a family member narrowly escaped.

Alison Radford and Scott McAdie had spent months upgrading and preparing his sister’s barn in Mission to host 100 wedding guests on Saturday, but flames gutted the metal-clad structure Wednesday afternoon, collapsing the roof and destroying the structure and much of what was inside.

"When [my sister-in-law] first told me the barn had burned down I didn’t believe here, " said Radford, who’d been at the 3600 square-foot barn on the rural Mission property just half an hour before the fire started. She went back that night to see the damage for herself.

"It was heartbreaking, " she said. "The roof was gone; you could see all the stars. "

McAdie’s niece had been in a second-floor suite in the barn with her dog when the flames broke out and was unable to escape because the heat was too intense. She sought refuge on a balcony as a neighbour brought a ladder to rescue her. It grew too hot almost instantly and she had to jump down much of the one-storey drop.

"She was upset, " said her stepfather Dean Davies, who arrived moments after her escape. "She went to the hospital to get checked out but she’s fine. "

Davies said while the structure was insured, he doesn’t believe he had enough coverage to rebuild the entire structure and replace the dirt bikes and equipment he’d had inside; he’d already moved some vintage cars and heavy machinery away from the building in preparation for final wedding preparations

"Today and tomorrow we were supposed to be decorating, " said McAdie.

Radford and McAdie, who got engaged in Hawaii in February, are throwing the wedding on a shoe-string budget after buying a new house this year to accommodate their soon-to-be blended family of four kids aged 6 to 14 years-old. While much of their alcohol survived in a concrete portion of the barn, the decorations and many of the party supplies were damaged by water, smoke and soot; few are still usable.

When CTV News went to the property on Thursday, investigators from Mission Fire Rescue were still on scene combing through the debris as they worked to figure out what happened. The family believes oily rags from recent wood-staining work to spruce up the walls caught fire in the barn.

The ceremony itself will take place according to plan on Saturday at the Davis property, though McAdie an Radford are still trying to figure out if they’ll be able to relocate the reception to a community hall available about 10 minutes away or be able to scrounge up thousands of dollars to rent tents and a dance floor to have the celebration elsewhere on the property.

It’s unwanted stress on top of what’s an already busy and emotional time for the soon-to-be newlyweds.

"The ceremony will be beautiful because that’s over by the house and nothing got wrecked, " said Radford.

"But [dealing with fire damage is] not what you imagine on your wedding day. "