Their love is on fire! Evacuated wedding goes horribly wrong in a wonderful way
MANAHAWKIN — Moments after Allison Duffy's cousin toasted her wedding — talking about how adventure follows Allison and husband Kevin Duffy wherever they go — a smell filled the reception hall.
The reception at the Bonnet Island Estate in Manahawkin on Friday night was going well, with everyone on the dance floor. But suddenly, one member of the venue staff grabbed the microphone and told everyone firefighters had just arrived. They'd have to evacuate.
Allison, whose maiden name was Russoniello, said her father told her the morning of the wedding, "Please promise me that nothing is going to get you down today. Nothing's going to bother you. It's you're day. It's going to be perfect," she recalled to New Jersey 101.5.
Surrounded by fire trucks with her uncle's jacket draped on her shoulders, Allison remembered her dad's advice. She turned to her new husband and to photographer Drew Noel, and said, "We're having a photoshoot in the fire truck in my wedding dress."
She remembered telling her family, "What am I going to do? Cry? That's not going to fix it."
After firefighters had determined the odor was coming from a small refrigerator and allowed everyone back in the building, Allison invited the firefighters in for a picture.
"We get on the dance floor and I said, 'We can make this so much better. Can you pick me up?' They're looking at each other like 'Is she crazy?'" Allison said.
She jumped up on one of them, and thanked them for coming out as she urged them to lift her up higher.
"One of them takes their helmet off puts it off, puts it on my head (and) we have a story," she said.
Noel said he hopped up on a chair to get the picture, and made sure the firefighters lifted Allison as high as they could.
"The DJ was awesome too. He played (Sean Kingston's) 'Fire Burning on the Dance Floor' and got everyone going. Everybody's cheering. She's rocking out having a great time because she's that kind of bride," Allison said. "Nothing could knock down the day and she got this photo of her being hoisted up by two fire companies."
Allison said the DJ also played Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" as everyone filed back into the reception too.
"I don't think I'll ever forget it," Allison said .
Moments before the evacuation, her cousin and maid-of-honor, in a toast to the bride and groom, described Kevin and Allison as adventure-seekers who enjoy the outdoors.
"'Follow the adventure' was our motto for the night, and she talked about how we how we have to avoid bad adventures like getting our luggage completely stolen and all the unfortunate, funny things. Everyone after the fire throughout the night kept saying, 'See, the adventure continues and you have to make lemonade,'" Allison said.
There was one more adventure awaiting the couple, both 27, when they arrived home from a quick weekend honeymoon.
"We came home (Sunday) to our house to five inches of water in the basement for the first time," Allison said. Family and friends came over to help them bail water.
"We had another mess on our hands but we're laughing," Allison said.
Kevin is originally from Point Pleasant and Allison is from Middletown; they now live in Atlantic Highlands. Kevin works for a small medical sales company in Manasquan while Allison is an eighth teacher at the Knollwood School in Fair Haven.
Allison said she is looking forward to telling her children the story of their wedding.
"I can hear (Kevin) telling them 'and then mommy got picked up by the fireman," she laughed.
Photos courtesy Drew Noel Photography
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.