Young girls often dream of their wedding day, visualizing the moment they finally find a person who deserves their love, makes them feel safe, and a day that makes them feel special and beautiful.
The last thing this bride could have imagined the day that she said yes to the love of her life, and woke up on the day she thought they would be saying "yes", was that she would be stranded at the altar by her husband-to-be. However, Kayley Stead, 27, couldn't let her dream be shattered by a man who clearly did not deserve her love. So she took matters into her own hands.
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It Was Love At First Sight
Before the potentially traumatizing wedding day, Kayley and her ex-fiancé were in love. Kayley reflects on the night they met at a club: " I met my ex-fiancé and we instantly hit it off. We had a great night together, our meeting felt really serendipitous. But because he lives in England, I never expected our relationship to go any further."
However, the couple exchanged numbers and went on a date immediately the next day, with the ex-fiance even staying an extra night just to take her to dinner. From there, he moved to England to be with her until the day he proposed, unprompted or pressured by Kayley.
Kayley hadn't seen any red flags that could've warned her that she would be left at the altar: "At the time, I believed the relationship was healthy. I felt we matched each other's personalities and pushed one another to strive for the best. We always laughed together and I thought he was the person I would spend the rest of my life with. No couple is perfect, but I thought he was perfect for me.
I don't feel that I once pushed him towards getting engaged. Throughout the relationship, we often spoke about the possibility of getting married, but I never wanted to pressure him into it."
Vanished Into Thin Air
Now back to the day of the wedding, on a beautiful Thursday morning in the still warm fall of the weather of September. All seemed well as the bride and her bridesmaids woke up in their Airbnb, still having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning.
The bridesmaid's bliss was quickly interrupted when one of them got a call at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.
"[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had 'gone.' We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone," Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.
Holding On To Hope
The last Kayley spoke with the groom was around at 4 p.m. the day before. They then agreed to spend the night apart with their bridal party to create even more of a build-up for the big day. This meant that Kayley had no idea that he was getting cold feet.
When she woke up with the sun the next day to get her hair and makeup done, she was excited and assumed all was well. The bridesmaids didn't want to ruin her day until they were sure: "They wanted to make sure he was definitely gone before panicking me," she said. However, it wasn't until the mom's parents called her sobbing that she found out that he was gone.
However, even then, she held on to hope. She knew he often went for walks or drives by himself to clear his head when he was anxious. She told everyone to keep getting ready and that he'd be back:
"I honestly believed, hand on heart, that he was going to be there," she remembers.
Nothing Was Refundable
The bride continued on with her hair and makeup, until at about 11 a.m. when the groom's father revealed that he would not be coming after all: "At that point, I was gone. I was sobbing," says Kayley. She could barely process the words as she broke the news to the rest of the bridal party, her hairstylists, parents, and videographer.
Kayley was in shock. Not only had her supposed soulmate abandoned her without warning or explanation, but she was also left with all the wedding preparations for which she had used up all her life savings to pay for. Kayley's £12,000 ($13,000) was also non refundable.
Then as a joke, the videographer said to her: "'Why don't you carry on, girls? You’ve spent all this money, you’re not getting it back, all your guests are there, why don’t you just go?’"
The Party Must Go On
Kayley thought about what the videographer said and figured they were on to something: “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?” If she was going to get through this, she might as well do it in style, with the support of all her loved ones.
Her friends encouraged her and even the groomsmen accompanied her down to the venue to keep the parties going. "I didn't want to remember the day as complete sadness," she said. So with her head held high, she walked into the reception with her bridesmaids as they sang to the Lizzo hit "Good as Hell."
Kayley spent the day dancing with her groomsmen, her brothers, and her dad. She kept the reception going with speeches, caking cutting and walked out of a day well spent through a path of sparklers held by her guests before spending the night in the bridal suite with her maid of honor.
Her guests were sad about the devastation, but they wanted Kayley to feel supported and loved.
A Little Hope In A Time Of Confusion
Kayley still had a great day despite the circumstances. "She was the most beautiful bride we had ever seen," recalls her bridesmaid.
Kayley is grateful that her memories of that dreadful day are full of happy moments: "I wanted to make sure everyone knew that it wasn't about the sad and we were going to power through this. It was a very awkward situation for [my friends] to be in, but they all stayed."
“I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness,” she continued. “There were so many special moments… so there was still happiness in the day.”
The Groom Refused To Apologize
After the wedding, Kayley still had to deal with the aftermath of her ex-fiance's decision." She canceled her honeymoon trip to Turkey and packed up her ex-partner's belongings from her home and left them with his family.
"Since that day, I have spoken to my ex-fiancé, but not about the wedding. He contacted me to ask for his stuff back. He did apologize but didn't ask how I was or offer an explanation for why he left. I just wish he had spoken to me before the wedding day if he was feeling nervous or upset. I would never try and convince someone to marry me or stay in a relationship, he is free to make his own choice.
But for me, I do expect a level of respect. I wanted him to own his decision, because what hurt me the most was that he was not able to tell me face-to-face, or even over the phone." she told to Monica Greep on Newsweek
Love Is The Hardest And Yet Most Rewarding
Love is hard, and it's rare to find someone who will love you unconditionally and earn your trust. However, this was a sort of blessing in disguise that showed the groom's true colors.
Kayley is using this experience as a learning opportunity from which she is walking out stronger: "I want to face my fears head-on and I feel now that he was not the type of partner to do that with me. I am still picking up the pieces, but I'm grateful he left me in a position where I could walk away with pride.
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A Go Fund Me For Kayley
The good news is that after the party, her bridesmaid set up a GoFundMe page to help Stead recoup her losses and it has already exceeded its goal of £10,000 ($10,830).
"She's now home to reality with no husband and her future plans and dreams all ripped away from her. She had to face an empty room filled with all his belongings. Trust us, she will never be alone as long as we live. We are picking up the pieces of her broken heart and life as we now navigate this process, but we could never give her back what he has taken from her. " explains her bridesmaid on her Go Fund Me Page.
This has helped recoup the costs of the wedding she had spent all her life savings on. This gives her an opportunity to keep living her life, and a second chance at love.
In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it's much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.