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I was jilted at the altar but decided to carry on with my £12,000 wedding anyway

A bride-to-be went ahead and partied with her family and pals at her £12,000 wedding — after she was jilted on her big day.

Kayley Stead, 27, did not let the lack of a groom stop her from making her big entrance in her wedding dress, or going ahead with the meal, speeches, dances and professional photos.

Kayley, from Portmead, Swansea, was with Kallum for almost four years. He proposed in August 2020

She said: “The day turned into a day I will always be proud of.

“I can truly look back on it and smile because it will always remind me that I don’t need someone else’s love to be happy.”

After hearing groom Kallum Norton, 24, was not turning up, insurance clerk Kayley wiped away the tears, reapplied her make-up and told everyone: “I’m going to do it.”

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

“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.”

Kayley’s bridal party, including sister Katie, 29, called the groomsmen and told them to head to the wedding venue where they would carry on with the party regardless.

The two parties headed into the ceremony room at Oxwich Bay Hotel, Gower, Glamorgan, together and told the guests what had happened.

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

The photo booth had displayed the sign “Mr and Mrs”, but it was quickly replaced with “Kayley’s Shindig”.

Rather than sharing her first dance with the groom, Kayley instead danced with her dad, Brian, 71, and brothers Craig, 47, Matthew, 46, Gary, 46, and another Craig, 43.

She even punched the wedding cake as it reminded her of Kallum.

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

“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, we were saying it felt like an episode of Hollyoaks or EastEnders.”

Kayley, from Portmead, Swansea, was with Kallum for almost four years. He proposed in August 2020.

The night before the September 15 wedding, Kayley stayed in an AirBnB, celebrating with her bridesmaids, while the groom and his groomsmen stayed in a caravan near the venue.

But he left the caravan that evening and never returned, leaving the groomsmen to contact the bridal party the next day with the news.

Kayley said: “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 really gone before panicking me.

“But 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 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 he was going to be there.”

Kallum’s dad later phoned to say his son was not going to turn up.

Kayley’s friends have since set up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs.

But Kayley said: “There were so many special moments, my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, and punching the wedding cake.”