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'Happy ending' for Michigan couple whose wedding limo caught fire on way to reception

Isabel and Brendan Kiel's limo began to smoke en route to their reception. Everyone made it out safely, and the bridal party is left with memories for a lifetime.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Isabel and Brendan Kiel's wedding day began like a dream. Their ceremony in Grand Rapids was beautiful, and the bridal party was having a great time. 

Then, it was time to take a limousine to their reception in Holland. Inside were the bride and groom, the entire wedding party and the photographer

Along I-196 near Hudsonville, the limo began to smoke.

"I started to smell like a little bit of something burning," said Isabel Kiel. 

The driver pulled over, and after a few minutes, everyone left the vehicle for the side of the road. 

"Within seconds that white smoke from the engine turned black," said Andi Bennett, the wedding photographer, "The limo driver said he could see fire, and we started booking it down the side of the highway."

Shortly after, police and firefighters showed up to extinguish the burning vehicle. 

Credit: Andi B Photography
The limousine was badly burnt in the fire.

However, once the wedding party realized they had already escaped the danger and everyone was safe, they continued their wedding revelries on the side of the highway. 

"Some were barefoot, some had drinks in hand, we decided to carry on the party on the side of the highway while we wait," said Bennett, "I saw it as a good photo opportunity to encourage them to keep having fun and enjoy it as best they good." 

Bennett began snapping photos of the chaos, cementing the memory of the fire for the couple's wedding photos. 

"We're definitely framing some of those pictures because it's so funny," said Kiel. 

Another party bus showed up to finally take the group to the reception. Kiel said the whole time, the limousine company was fantastic to work with, and will be reimbursing everything. 

"We went straight to our reception," said Kiel, "And when we actually got off the bus, all of our vendors were standing there in like this tunnel clapping for us. Like we had just survived the worst thing ever, which was so funny."

While able to laugh at the situation now, Kiel said there were some moments the reality of the danger they survived set in. 

"This could have been so much worse," said Kiel, "And I think for all of us, there was a point where all of our jaws were on the ground because we were just like, Okay, this could have been very bad if we didn't get off."

Credit: Andi B Photography
The wedding party continued their festivities on the side of the road once everyone was safe from the fire.

There were some losses in the fire: purses, shoes, the men's suit jackets and more. But one thing survived: the beer coolers. 

"They had pulled the coolers out of the fire," said Kiel, "And the coolers still had all of the ice and all of the beer the cold beer in it. So, they put it all in a trash can from new party bus and they brought it out, and everyone just started cheering. It was so funny."

The old adage goes: rain is good luck for a marriage. But what about a fire? Kiel said she is not worried. 

"We've been together for a long time, I don't think I'm gonna let any fire scare me off," said Kiel, "I think this means that we can withstand anything."

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