When life hands you lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade — even if your heart is breaking.
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Like many brides, 27-year-old Kayley Stead of Swansea, England had been dreaming of her wedding day for a long time. She sunk her life savings into the big day, spending about £12,000 (about $13,700) on a ceremony and lavish reception at Oxwich Bay Hotel in Swansea. But on her big day, there was one thing missing: the groom.
Kayley Stead made the brave decision to carry on with the celebrations without her partner of four years Kallum Norton after he ditched her before the ceremonyhttps://t.co/BoBM7KUSOh— The Daily Record (@Daily_Record) September 27, 2022
Kayley and Kallum Norton had been together for four years before he proposed in August 2020. The night before the wedding, they agreed not to speak or see each other due to tradition. Kayley spent the evening partying with her bridesmaids at an AirBnB, while Kallum and his groomsmen stayed nearby.
That night, the groom left around midnight and did not return. He’d changed his mind, and Kayley had no idea. Not only that, but he wouldn’t even tell his bride-to-be himself, leaving it up to his groomsmen to deliver the news. The groomsmen told Kayley’s bridesmaids, who decided to keep it from her in case he changed his mind again.
“There were so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake, so there was still happiness in the day. I’d spent all this money.” – Kayley Stead pic.twitter.com/NAGC1ej1OD— Birmingham Live (@birmingham_live) September 26, 2022
Later, the groom’s mother called her in tears and confirmed that he had left. Kayley refused to believe that he wasn’t coming back, holding out hope that he was just clearing his head before saying, “I do.”
But later his father called to say he was not coming back, and there would be no wedding that day. Kayley broke down in tears as her bridesmaids tried their best to console her. When the videographer jokingly suggested they carry on with the reception, Kayley realized he was right.
“That’s when I was like, ‘I’m going to do it,'” she recalled. “I’d spent all this money, I’d been looking forward to the food, a dance with my dad, spending time with my family, so why not?”
Kayley redid her makeup, straightened her dress, and walked into the reception with her father by her side and her head held high! The moment she entered, her guests erupted into applause and cheers. The groom’s family had all left by then, but her family, friends, groomsmen, and bridesmaids were all eager to make her feel better.
“It was an absolute shock,” she said. “I had no indication he was going to do this, but seeing my girls distraught as well made me want to turn the day around. I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.”
Kayley decided to continue with many of their planned events, but without the groom. She made her entrance through a sparkler tunnel while singing along to a Lizzo song, then posed for photos, shared a first dance with her father and brothers, ate a lovely meal, and even delivered an emotional wedding speech thanking them for staying. When it came time to cut the cake, the bride smashed the top tier with her bare hands.
The bride’s friends supported her all day, and after the event, they set up a GoFundMe to repay the wedding expenses.
In spite of her heartbreak, knowing she has the support of so many people means the world to her. She views the failed wedding as a special day in her memory anyway.
“There were so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake — so there was still happiness in the day,” she said.
Kayley, we’re so proud of the way you soldiered through the pain to reclaim your special day! We may never know why the groom left, but we have every confidence that Kayley is going to do just fine without him.
Share this story to cheer for Kayley’s independence.
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