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One bride wasn’t expecting to receive this heartbreaking news on her wedding day.

Many spend years dreaming about their wedding day and settling down with their chosen person. So to get engaged, plan a wedding and spend your entire life’s savings only to be ditched at the altar is downright devastating. But, as this inspiring bride proved, it’s not the end of the world, either.

How a Happy Day Went Completely Wrong

table filled with flowers and cutlery
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives

Kayley Stead had been with her boyfriend, Kallum Norton, since 2018. In December 2020, he asked her to marry him. Fast forward to September 15, 2022, and everything was in place for the big day. The officiant had been hired, the venue was booked, and all that was left to do was for the bride to walk down the aisle.

Except there was a huge problem: the groom had fled.

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At first, Stead had no idea that Norton had left. One of her bridesmaids had snagged and hidden her phone as the wedding party worked to track down the runaway groom. Eventually, Stead found her phone, however, and realized she had a missed call from Norton’s mom, who broke the news that her son was missing.

At first, Stead carried on, putting her faith in the man she loved. “I know he’ll be there. I’m not worried,” one of her bridesmaids later recalled. So everyone continued getting ready while trying to track down Norton. Eventually, though, Norton’s dad called someone in the wedding party to confirm he had spoken to his son from a blocked number. He was safe, but he wasn’t coming to the wedding.

The Hard Decision One Bride Had to Make on Her Wedding Day

bride holding a bouquet
Photo by Leah Kelley

At that point, Stead had a decision to make. Her groom had left without explanation, and she had all these people there for a party she had spent her life savings on. After some encouragement from her wedding party, she went ahead. Everyone was already there, and she had always dreamed of celebrating with her aging parents. She feared she might not get another chance.

“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?” she told the Daily Record.

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“So I was a jilted bride and unfortunately, s— things happen to people. Even though the day didn’t go to plan, I couldn’t let the hard work that I put into this day and a good party go to waste. The day was filled with many laughs and a lot of tears,” she later shared on Instagram.

After the wedding party informed the guests, they joined Stead for the big entrance — to Lizzo’s “Good As Hell.”

“This song carried me through the day and reminded me that, ‘if he don’t love you anymore just walk your fine ass out the door,’” she continued. “I have never resonated with lyrics so much as I did/do with @lizzobeeating’s song until that moment.”

How One Bride Had an Amazing Party at Her Wedding

Since then, The Sun tracked down Stead’s ex-fiancé, who is now a rookie police officer in the UK. According to the article, he and Stead still haven’t spoken, and when asked for a comment, he simply said he didn’t want to talk about the article.

“I don’t expect anything different, but I do expect someone to own their actions and be responsible for what they did,” Stead responded.

In the end, Stead had a fantastic party and that dance with her father. She made unforgettable memories with her friends and family and reminded thousands of people that sometimes you can find the positive in even the darkest situations.

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“Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan, and I ended up being left without my partner on our wedding day, but luckily I wasn’t alone,” she shared on Instagram. “I was surrounded by amazing family and friends, who stayed by me the whole day and lifted me back up when I fell (no pun intended, I did actually fall). I will be forever grateful for what you did.”

Her friends weren’t done there, though. After the story went viral, they created a GoFundMe page breaking down the situation and asking people for contributions to get Stead’s money back. They’ve already surpassed their goal.

“Kayley, we all love you with all our hearts,” her bridal party wrote. “You are the strongest person we know, and we will carry you through this until the day you get to walk on your own two feet again. You deserve the world and so much more.”

How One Woman Proved the Power of Positive Thinking

woman running in a field wearing a white dress and holding a flower
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas

Stead showed the world that looking for the positive in a situation is possible, even at her lowest. She woke up on her wedding day thinking she and her fiancé were going to start their lives together and went to bed with her best friends by her side instead.

It’s a solid reminder that even when we face a significant loss, there is power in friendship and family. Finding your chosen family doesn’t always look how we expect it to, but it can still be beautiful if we pause and take a moment to appreciate what we can.

So maybe the next time a relationship doesn’t work out, you miss out on a job you wanted, or something else knocks you down in life, remember that girl Kayley who had her entire wedding day without her groom. Someone better is probably waiting around the corner for her, and something better may be waiting for you too.


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