A bride has revealed how she went ahead with her wedding despite being jilted at the altar – and says she has no regrets as it meant her mum saw her big day before she died.
Kayley Stead, 27, from Swansea, discovered she wasn’t going to marry her partner of almost four years, Kallum Norton, 24, the morning of her big day in September.
Despite her heartbreak, Kayley decided to go ahead with the big day, surrounded by her loved ones – including mum Dee, 65, just a few months before she passed away.
Kayley did everything pretty much as planned – including her wedding entrance, meal, speeches and dances – and even posed for professional photos without her groom.
While Kayley did not name her groom publicly, it emerged shortly after he stood her up that he was a newly-qualified Gwent Police PC called Kallum, who had passed out from training just days before they were meant to get married.
Kayley Stead, 27, from Swansea, has spoken out about the positives of still going ahead with her wedding in September despite the groom abandoning her on the day
Despite the heartbreak, Kayley, decided to go ahead with the lavish £12,000 reception party, surrounded by her loved ones, on September 15 at Oxwich Bay Hotel in Gower.
Insurance clerk Kayley, who lives in Portmead, has spoken out for the first time since moving on from her heartbreak to reveal she has no regrets – and would even do it all over again.
Her mum Dee died just four months after the wedding, and defying convention by going on with her big day despite being jilted, means she got to be a part of Kayley’s big day.
Kayley with her mum, Dee, who passed away recently. Kayley says she doesn’t regret going ahead with her big day without her groom, as it meant her mum could be part of the day
Kallum Norton (pictured), 24, was a newly-qualified PC with Gwent Police who passed out from training just days before what was meant to be his wedding day
Kayley also revealed she isn’t ready to date yet and is instead committing to the biggest love of her life – herself.
She claims she still hasn’t spoken to her runaway groom – five months after he ditched her.
But incredibly she said she doesn’t ‘resent him’ – instead saying: ‘He must’ve really been struggling with something.
‘It must be hard for him right now because he’s going through a break-up just as much as I am.’
Kayley says she has no regrets as it meant her mum, Dee, 65, saw her big day before she died
When asked by The Sun newspaper if he would apologise, Kallum said: ‘I don’t want to talk about the article.’
His ex-fiancée responded at the time: ‘I don’t expect anything different, but I do expect someone to own their actions and be responsible for what they did.’
The incredibly strong Kayley might have missed out on her honeymoon – which she hasn’t been on yet – but she helped her heartache by going on an epic girls’ trip to New York.
Kayley said: ‘I haven’t cashed the honeymoon in – my mum passed away, which has been another horrible thing.
‘There was still happiness in the day’, Kayley said. She’s pictured with her bridal party who helped her through her wedding day
Kayley’s mum got to see her dancing with her dad (pictured together) who, she said, ‘always said he wouldn’t dance at my wedding!’
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
‘But it makes me even more glad I went ahead with the day and had the opportunity to make those memories with her.
‘She got to see me dancing with my dad – who always said he wouldn’t dance at my wedding!
‘When one door closes, a window opens. And I want to pull that window open as much as possible, and soak up all the sun.’
Kayley and her ex started dating in December 2018 and got engaged when he proposed in August 2020.
The morning of her wedding she found out he’d left his groomsman – and hadn’t returned.
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
Kayley says that despite the sadness of the day, she still wanted photos ‘because all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids looked absolutely incredible’
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
Kayley initially sobbed and said she couldn’t face going into the venue where she had been due to get married.
Her supportive friends, including bridesmaids and groomsmen, went into the ceremony room together and told the guests what had happened.
Kayley pulled it together and they all headed out to the garden to meet her instead – before going on to make the most of the extravagant reception they had laid on.
Kayley was joined by the groomsmen and bridesmaids as they sang and danced along to Lizzo’s Good as Hell as they entered the venue and made their way to the top table, where she had been due to sit with the groom.
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’
She replaced her first dance with a boogie with her dad, brothers and the groomsmen to ‘Love You To The Moon and Back’ by Dolly Parton.
Kayley walked through her sparkler tunnel alone and partied the night away before spending the night in the bridal suite with her maid of honour.
The last few months have certainly not been easy for her – but Kayley’s determined to put the past behind her and live life to the full.
‘It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, to be honest,’ she said.
‘Not just because of the breakup – but loads of people have been reaching out to me saying my story resonated, because they were going through the same thing.
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
‘A lot of it has been incredible.
‘I’ve met people I never thought I was going to meet – Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield, even Kelly Clarkson!’
Shortly after the ‘wedding,’ Kayley made an appearance on This Morning.
During her segment, she was told by Holly and Phillip her cancelled honeymoon would go ahead – thanks to a £2,000 gift from the show and travel company, Hays Travel.
Unfortunately, all future plans were put on hold due to the death of her mum at the end of 2022.
Despite a horrendous few months, Kayley doesn’t look back at her former relationship with any regrets.
‘With every relationship, it’s really easy to look from the outside in and vice-versa,’ she said.
‘It’s really easy to say, “this wasn’t right for me.”
‘But it felt right at the time. During the relationship, I was wholeheartedly committed to my ex, as well as my future with him.
‘I’m a new Kayley now, so I’m glad it happened.
‘I haven’t heard from him since.
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?’
‘I don’t resent him for what he did, either.
‘Looking back on what happened – I came home to a house with all his stuff still in it. It shows he acted on impulse, so he must’ve really been struggling with something.
‘It must be hard for him right now because he’s going through a break-up just as much as I am.
‘As much as he was my partner, he was also my best friend – and I just wish he’d have come to me, even as a friend, to let me know he was struggling.’
Kayley isn’t currently looking to date, and has no plans to enter a new relationship anytime soon.
‘I’m not ready at the minute, especially after losing my mum,’ she said.
‘I’m not Kayley-and-someone-else now. I’m just Kayley. I’ve had incredible highs and incredible lows,’ the 27-year-old said
‘It was weird going out without my engagement ring.
‘I just need to focus on myself a bit more.
‘I’m taking free therapy sessions from my work, I’m journaling, I’m saying “yes” to everything – including a trip to New York with my best friend.’
While she hasn’t been able to go on a honeymoon just yet, Kayley’s once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York was more empowering than she realised.
‘I never thought I would because [my ex] didn’t like New York. I went to Madison Square Garden, it was incredible!
‘I’m not Kayley-and-someone-else now. I’m just Kayley. I’ve had incredible highs and incredible lows. In fact, I’d love to go back and do the whole wedding on my own again, as I am now. I think I’d enjoy it 10-times more!’