WHITE POINT, N.S. - Nancy Rogers was lacing up her wedding dress and putting the finishing touches on her makeup when word came of a fire spreading through the lodge where she was to be married.
The 32-year-old bride-to-be walked out of her cabin at White Point Beach Resort at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday to see smoke pouring from the hotel's main hall.
And even though flames were shooting 20 metres into the air and black smoke could be seen for several kilometres, Rogers and her fiance, Michael, decided to plow ahead with the ceremony she had been planning for months.
"We decided that the most important thing was that we wanted to get married and we were only an hour late," she said Sunday from her home in Halifax.
"It was definitely a memorable day."
Staff at the popular, seaside resort on Nova Scotia's South Shore moved the wedding to another building as firefighters from more than 10 different departments battled the massive blaze.
Rogers and some of her 45 guests, including a woman from Russia who lost her passport in the fire, were evacuated from their rooms and some of the cabins that dot the resort's white-sand beach.
She said it wasn't until after the ceremony that she realized how bad the fire was and that all of her wedding gifts and flowers had been destroyed.
"It was completely engulfed and everything was up in flames," she said. "We lost all of that stuff, but that's not important to us. We got the most important things."
The couple's wedding pictures include some that show the burning resort in the background, as well as fire trucks.
On Sunday morning, crews were still snuffing out stubborn hot spots at the resort, which started in 1928 as a private hunting and fishing lodge outside Liverpool.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells said he hoped officials would be able to get into the burned-out resort later in the day to try to determine the cause of the fire.
He said early indications suggest the fire may have started in the basement of the 83-year-old hotel
The sprawling wooden structure that housed the kitchen, conference centre, pool and some guest rooms was lost in flames that were kicked up quickly by high winds.
"The main building is lost," Wells said. "The fire is, for the most part, beat down. ... They're fighting hot spots, but it's nothing major as compared to what it was last night with mountains of flames."
There were no injuries, with staff and guests — including several kids' hockey teams — getting out safely after the fire was detected.
Darlene Norman, a councillor for the Region of Queens Municipality, said she could see the flames and billowing black smoke from several kilometres away as she headed to the resort.
She said the hotel, with its rustic log cabins along the beach, was key to the area economy and the community as a vacation and music spot. It employs over 100 people.
"It's the cultural heart of this community," she said from her home in nearby Liverpool. "It's a devastating blow emotionally to the staff. ... Everyone's pretty shocked and shaken."
The resort started as an eight-room main lodge, a few cabins and a dining room. It has expanded over the years to include tennis courts and a golf course. The resort was to undergo renovations early next year.
Mike and Nancy Rogers pose for wedding photographer Nicholas Augustus as White Point Beach Resort's main lodge burns in the background on Saturday Nov. 12, 2011. The couple were set to be married in the lodge but moved the ceremony to another building at the resort. The Firefighters from several detachments in Nova Scotia spent about six hours battling a roaring blaze at a resort on the province's south coast Saturday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nicholas Augustus)