A jilted bride has explained why she decided to carry on with her wedding without her groom when he failed to turn up.
Kayley Stead, 27, who lives in Portmead, Swansea, Wales, discovered she wasn’t going to marry her partner of almost four years Kallum Norton, 24, the morning of her do.
Despite the heartbreak, Kayley decided to go ahead with the big day, surrounded with her loved ones around her, on September 15 at Oxwich Bay Hotel in Gower, Swansea, Wales.
Kayley went ahead with her wedding entrance, meal, speeches, dances and even posed for professional photos without her groom.
Brave Kayley punched off the top tier of her wedding cake, and spent her first dance with the groomsmen, her brothers, and dad Brian, 71. She even entered the party singing along to Lizzo’s ‘Good as Hell’ with her bridal party.
Now Kayley (pictured) says she is pleased she still had the party, so that all the money and effort put into planning the do didn’t go to waste
Despite her heartbreak, Kayley (pictured) decided she would enjoy her big day, after splashing out £12,000 on the celebrations
Kayley was with her ex boyfriend Kallum for almost four years, with the groom-to-be proposing in August 2022
Now living alone, with her honeymoon cancelled, Kayley is pleased she still had the party – so money and effort didn’t go to waste.
Her friends have rallied around her, barely leaving her side and setting up a GoFundMe page to try and recoup some costs.
Insurance clerk Kayley said: ‘I saw the groom at around 4pm the day before the wedding and I haven’t heard from him since.
‘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.
‘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.
Despite being heartbroken, Kayley decided to don her wedding gown (pictured) and enjoy the day with her friends and family, looking her best
According to Kayley (pictured) the bridal party woke up around 6am, and started getting ready. The groom had disappeared by this point, but the bridal party hid Kayley’s phone to ensure he was actually gone before breaking the news to her
Even after discovering the groom had fled, Kayley reassured the bridal party that he would be back – and that he was likely just clearing his head before the big day
Friends: Kayley (pictured with her bridesmaids) said ‘asked the girls, his family and the groomsmen to continue getting ready, because I honestly believed he was going to be there’
The plucky singleton continued with the wedding day, and enjoyed the formalities, including the after dinner speeches (pictured)
‘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, named by The Sun as Kallum Norton, started dating in December 2018 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. I was in complete bliss – unknown bliss.’
The groomsmen contacted the bridal party to tell them he’d left, she claims.
Kayley said: ‘We woke up at quarter past six when the make-up artist arrived, had breakfast together and then started getting ready.
‘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.
Celebrations: while the groom may not have been at the wedding, Kayley’s friends and family were, and she made the most of their company to ensure the day wasn’t all about misery and heartache
When Kayley discovered the groom really had gone, her videographer jokingly suggested that she go ahead with the wedding anyway. She said: ‘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?’
Despite not having the day go entirely to plan, Kayley made changes throughout the planned wedding to turn a devastating day into a beautiful one
‘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.
‘I asked the girls, his family and the groomsmen to continue getting ready, because I honestly believed he was going to be there.’
At around 11am, Kayley had just sat to have her hair done with her make-up all finished when she spoke to the groom’s dad on the phone.
She claims he told her that her partner would not be attending the wedding.
Kayley said: ‘At that point, I was gone. I was sobbing.
According to the bride, although her fiance did a runner, all of the groomsmen stayed, as well as all of her friends, family and loved ones
Kayley says that despite the sadness of the day, she still wanted photos ‘because all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids looked absolutely incredible’
‘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 make-up, 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?’
The two wedding 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.
‘When my sister and my best friend were explaining what had gone on to the guests, everybody was crying because they had been looking forward to that day.
‘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.
Describing the day, Kayley has said she ‘wanted to make sure everyone knew that it wasn’t about the sad, we were going to power through this’
Among the changes Kayley made to her big day, she avoided the ceremony room, which she says she didn’t want to see given the circumstances
Dance: among the traditions Kayley was looking forward to was dancing with her father, which she decided to go ahead and do despite her groom ditching the big day
‘Nobody knew what to do, I think they were a bit scared to say something, and then everybody just started cheering and hugging me.’
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 without her groom 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 along to Lizzo’s ‘Good as Hell’ on their way to the top table.
She said: ‘We were just doing things off the cuff, really. It was all based on instinct, and we just went with it.
‘I still wanted photos because all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids looked absolutely incredible, and I wanted them to have their pictures as they normally would.
‘The photographer also took a photo of me in my dress in the garden, and then we did family photos and bridesmaid photos instead of the bride and groom.
‘You can probably see a few tear streaks down my face, but I love the photos.
Kayley, pictured with friends, says that there were ‘so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake’ during the adapted wedding day
‘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.
‘I wanted to make sure everyone knew that it wasn’t about the sad, we were going to power through this.
‘Everybody kept saying sorry to me, but I wanted that to stop – they hadn’t chosen that path, they’d chosen to stay, so let’s celebrate that.
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 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.
‘My four brothers and the groomsmen joined in because I wanted to thank them for staying. They didn’t run away, and I would have totally understood if they did, but they stood by me the whole day.’
‘There was still happiness in the day’, Kayley has said of her non-wedding day, managing to find some positives among the sadness of the day
Since the wedding, some of Kayley’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to try and help Kayley get some money back after she spent her life savings
Instead of walking through the sparkler tunnel with her groom, Kayley walked 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 isn’t going on the honeymoon to Turkey.
She has packed up her ex’s belongings from her home and left them with family with still no word or explanation from him, she claims.
Kayley said: ‘My best friends haven’t left my side since, they slept with me in the room, so I wasn’t on my own, as it was a weird space to be in without seeing all his stuff.
‘I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire, I’d rather just deal with the situation as best as I can and hold my head high.
‘I don’t want anybody to think I gave him a reason to leave me because I had no inclination before that he was going to do this.
‘I had no clue, no signal. He showed me no reason as to why he would leave me on that day.
‘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.
Kayley (pictured) says she had ‘no clue, no signal’ that she would be jilted, saying that the groom ‘showed me no reason as to why he would leave me on that day’
Now Kayley’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page for the bride, saying they ‘want to help build a fresh start for her where she never has to suffer financially from the aftermath of this ordeal’
According to a friend, Kayley has a ‘heart of gold and would do anything for anyone’ – and she did not deserve to be left on the morning of her wedding day with no explanation and zero contact from the groom
‘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.’
Since the wedding, Kayley’s friends have set up a GoFundMe page to try and help Kayley get some money back after she spent her life savings on the day.
Kayley’s best friend and maid of honour, Jordie Cullen, 27, who set up the GoFundMe page, said: ‘Kayley has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone.
‘She did not deserve to be left on the morning of her wedding day with no explanation and zero contact from the groom. We now ask you help us pick our girl up, dust herself off and move on.
‘As her best friends and family, we want to help build a fresh start for her where she never has to suffer financially from the aftermath of this ordeal.’
The groom has refused to comment.