This bride decided to carry on with her wedding without her groom when he failed to turn up Credit: SWNS

Kayley Stead had spent her life savings on her wedding and wasn’t about to let it all go to waste… even without a groom.

The jilted bride discovered she wasn’t going to marry her partner of almost four years when her mother-in-law-to-be broke the news he’d fled on the day of the wedding.

Despite the heartbreak, Kayley 27, decided to go ahead with the big day on September 15 at Oxwich Bay Hotel in Swansea, with her loved ones around her – after spending £12k on the celebrations.

Lovingly supported by her bridal party and family, Kayley went ahead with her wedding entrance, meal, speeches, dances and even posed for professional photos without her groom.

She entered the party singing along to Lizzo’s Good As Hell with her bridal party, punched off the top tier of her wedding cake, and spent her first dance with the groomsmen, her brothers, Craig, 47, Matthew, 46, Gary, 46, and another Craig, 43, and her dad, Brian, 71.

Now living alone with no explanation from her ex (who has refused to comment) and her honeymoon cancelled, Kayley is coming to terms with what has happened.

Her friends have rallied around her, barely leaving her side and setting up a GoFundMe page to try to recoup some of the money spent on the day.

Bride Kayley can be seen punching the top tier of her wedding cake with her bridesmaids (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)
Kayley found out on the morning of her wedding that her groom had run away (Credits: Tom Wren SWNS)

Kayley, who works as an insurance clerk and lives in Portmead, Swansea, said she saw the groom at 4pm the day before the wedding but hasn’t heard from him since.

She said: ‘We’ve tried to reach out to him, but I’ve had no response from him, no reason why.

‘I’ve had no explanation – not that I want one now, because it’s too far along the line.

‘It was an absolute shock, 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.

Kayley looks beautiful before the wedding standing next to her bridesmaids who encouraged her to continue on (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.

‘The whole day, we were saying it felt like an episode of Hollyoaks or EastEnders. It didn’t feel like a real life situation.

‘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.

The bride was getting her hair and make-up done when it was discovered that the groom would not be attending the wedding (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘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 and her ex had been together for almost four years and got engaged when he proposed in August 2020.

The night before the wedding, Kayley stayed in an AirBnB celebrating with her bridesmaids while the groom and his groomsmen stayed in a caravan near the venue.

Kayley said: ‘The groom and I had already agreed not to speak the night before the wedding anyway, so I didn’t know what was happening on his end, I didn’t have a clue.’

Unbeknownst to Kayley, the groom left the caravan that evening and never returned, leaving the groomsmen to contact the bridal party with the dreadful news.

Kayley still had her sparkler exit that was originally planned for her and her groom (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘We woke up at quarter past six when the makeup artist arrived, had breakfast together and then started getting ready,’ Kayley said.

‘One of the groomsmen contacted my best friend to say the groom was gone, and the bridal party hid my phone so they could decide what was the best way to tell me and I wouldn’t find out from someone else.

‘They wanted to make sure he was definitely gone before panicking me.

Kayley looks gorgeous in her wedding dress with her bouquet, deciding to have professional pictures despite not getting married (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘I found my phone and saw I had a missed call from his mum. I called her back and she was crying and told me he had gone for a drive in the early hours of the morning, and he was gone.

‘At that point, I wasn’t nervous, I was still quite hopeful, as throughout our relationship, he had sometimes gone for a walk or a drive to clear his head when he was nervous.

‘For a couple of hours, I was saying he was going to be there, and I was reassuring the girls. I honestly believed, hand on heart, that he was going to be there.’

Kayley asked everyone to continue getting ready, believing the groom would show.

At around 11am, Kayley had just sat to have her hair done with her makeup all finished when she spoke to the groom’s dad on the phone – who said her partner had been in touch and would not be attending the wedding.

Kayley said: ‘At that point, I was gone. I was sobbing.

The bride parties with her guests as the night draws to a close (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘Once I told my parents, the hairdresser and the videographer, that’s when I had to tell myself that it wasn’t going to happen.

‘As a joke, the videographer said “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?”

‘My sister was redoing my makeup, because at that point it was all just gone, and she said: “Why don’t you do it, Kayley?”

‘That’s when I was like, I’m going to do it. 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 thanked her family for staying and celebrating the day with her after the groom’s family left (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

Kayley’s bridal party called the groomsmen and told them to head to the wedding venue, where they would carry on with the day, regardless of the groom turning up.

The two parties headed into the ceremony room together and told the guests what had happened before asking them to head out to the garden to meet Kayley instead.

Kayley said: ‘I didn’t want to see the ceremony room – I’ve never seen how that looked.

‘I asked for 10 minutes to myself before I saw my guests, and then rather than walking down the aisle, I walked round the corner in my dress and had everybody just looking at me.

‘Nobody knew what to do, I think they were a bit scared to say something, and then everybody just started cheering and hugging me.’

It was important for Kayley to dance with her dad at her wedding (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

The groom’s family had left by the time Kayley made her grand entrance, but all of the groomsmen stayed, as well as all of her friends, family and loved ones.

With their support, Kayley carried on with the day she had planned and made changes throughout to turn a devastating day into a beautiful one.

Instead of the traditional bride and groom’s entrance, Kayley was joined by the groomsmen and bridesmaids as they sang and danced on their way to the top table.

The bridesmaids stands beside Kayley, supporting her throughout the day (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

She said: ‘We were just doing things off the cuff, really. It was all based on instinct, and we just went with it.

‘You can probably see a few tear streaks down my face, but I love the photos.

‘I was never going to make a speech, but I wanted to thank everyone for staying because they didn’t have to. It was a very awkward situation for them to be in, but they all stayed.’

The photo booth had originally displayed ‘Mr and Mrs’ with what would have been the couple’s married name but was quickly replaced with a sign that read ‘Kayley’s Shindig’.

Rather than sharing her first dance with the groom, Kayley instead danced with her dad, brothers and the groomsmen to Love You To The Moon And Back by Dolly Parton.

Kayley poses with her entire family at the venue in Swansea (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)
The bride and bridesmaids cut the cake (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

Kayley said: ‘I’d always dreamed of dancing with my dad at my wedding.

‘He’s 71, and I always had a fear that he and my mum, Dee, 63, wouldn’t be at my wedding, so I always wanted to have my dance with him.’

Instead of walking through the sparkler tunnel with her groom, Kayley strutted through alone and partied the night away with her guests before spending the night in the bridal suite with her maid of honour and one of her best friends.

Kayley is now adjusting to a newly-single life without her groom and sadly cannot go on the honeymoon to Turkey.

‘I had no clue, no signal,’ she said. ‘He showed me no reason as to why he would leave me on that day.

Kayley dances with her dad in front of guests (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)
A tearful bridesmaid gives a speech at the wedding after the groom said he would not be attending (Credits: Neil Jones Photography / SWNS)

‘A couple of days before, we were going for food together, he was talking about the honeymoon, and he bought me a book last Christmas with a million reasons as to why he loved me inside, all handwritten with our special moments.

‘After I found out he wasn’t coming to the wedding, I decided I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.

‘There were so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake. There was still happiness in the day.’

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