Nova Scotia

Halifax newlyweds recover charred marriage licence months after limo fire

Phil Mabley and his wife Karine Matte assumed the document was destroyed in the fire, until someone at the wreck yard discovered it — slightly charred, but intact — and brought it back to them.

Documents found 3 months after blaze, bride 'seems to think it's a sign'

Phil Mabley and Karine Matte plan on framing the marriage certificate they thought was destroyed in a limo fire. (Phil Mabley)

Phil Mabley and Karine Matte were getting their wedding photos taken at Halifax's Public Gardens on July 8, 2017, when their stretch limousine suddenly went up in flames.

Their rings were not in the limo, but their marriage licence was, so the couple assumed it was gone for good.

That is, until Monday, when someone contacted them over Facebook to say it had been found.

"It's hard not to believe it's a sign at some point, considering that everything else burned and that this piece of paper is still kicking and is kind of in good shape," Matte said.

"Even the gentleman that found it was kind of shocked. He was at the wreck yard and was just walking by and said he just happened to look inside it and he could see the papers just sitting there," said Mabley.

"When you look at what the remnants of what the limo was, like, I'm shocked anything survived."

The limo caught fire on Spring Garden Road in Halifax on July 8, 2017. (Paul Vienneau)

The certificate itself is weather-damaged, but only slightly charred.

"It's actually kind of amazing that any of it survived through 15-foot flames," said Mabley. 

"We can read our names and the number and everything," said Matte.

"The receipt was still in there too," added Mabley.

'A pretty good story to tell'

The couple went through with their wedding without their marriage certificate.

Halifax Regional Police ended up escorting them to their venue. The incident, and the national news coverage that followed, made it the talk of the reception.

"We're happy for it because we got well wishes from family across all of Canada and the United States," said Mabley.

"And some people who couldn't come to the wedding saw us that day so it felt good," said Matte.

Because the couple thought their original licence was destroyed, they got a replacement.

Now that they have the original document back, they plan to frame it along with news clippings about the limo fire.

"It's a pretty good story to tell," said Mabley.

The couple plans to frame the charred and weathered documents. (Phil Mabley)

About the Author

Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.