Kimberley on crutches and in a wheelchair
Kimberley on crutches and in a wheelchair on her wedding day
When Calvin proposed I excitedly started planning her big day. But then disaster struck just days before our ceremony, and I faced a battle to make it down the aisle.
By Kimberley Donoghue, 28, from Llanelli in Wales

I grinned as I made the finishing touches to my table plan. Perfect. I’d created a beautiful hand-made wooden centrepiece so everyone would know where to sit during my wedding breakfast.

My big day was quickly approaching, and I couldn’t wait. In just four days I would become Mrs Donoghue, when I married the love of my life.

Calvin, 27, and I had been together for seven years, after meeting at a local football match in May 2008.

He played in the same team as my brother, Nicholas, and when we got chatting we hit it off straight away, swapping numbers in the pub after the game.

As well as being a good footballer, Calvin was a real charmer – even though he suffered with alopecia he was confident and cheeky, and won me over with his sense of humour.

I fell for him quickly – and we moved in together just six months later.

In August 2011 he proposed. He wasn’t one for romance, so one night, while we were at home with a takeaway, he just casually passed me a little box.

To my delight, I opened it to find it contained a sparkling engagement ring.

‘Will you wear it?’ he asked with a glint in his eye.

‘Of course I will! I squealed. ‘It took you long enough to ask!’

As he slid the ring onto my finger and we we made a toast to our future together, I started to imagine what our special day would be like.

Kimberley with Calvin
Kimberley with Calvin

I’d dreamed about my wedding since I was a little girl and I wanted no expense spared on my big day, so we spent the next four years saving up.

With help from our parents we managed to save £12,000 and set the date for April 2015. Finally, my dream day was becoming a reality.

After trying on nine dresses, I finally found my perfect dress – a beautiful, flowing princess gown, which made my mother cry tears of joy.

We booked a church which I had always dreamt of getting married in, and booked some classic cars to take me to marry my groom.

We had two best men, five bridesmaids, two flower girls and five page boys. We invited 260 guests and I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle in front of them all.

Finally, my dream day was becoming a reality.

But then, just four days before the wedding, disaster struck.

I was carrying a box of wedding decorations downstairs when suddenly I tripped.

‘Aaah!’ I cried out as I dropped the box of decorations, as I desperately tried to grab hold of something to steady myself – but there was nothing there.

Instead, I fell from the top step, tumbled down the flight of stairs and smashed onto the floor below.

Opening my eyes, my head spinning, I felt an agonising pain shoot down my right leg.

‘Ouch!’ I yelled, but I was alone in the house – with nobody to help me. I could tell I had done some serious damage to my leg, as the pain was getting so bad it was making me feel quite sick.

Panicked, I managed to limp across to the front door to unlock it. Then I frantically phoned my mum, Dawn.

‘Err mum, you need to come over, I’ve had an accident,’ I said meekly. ‘Could you get over to my house straight away?’

My mum arrived almost immediately with my cousin Laura.

‘Oh no, what on earth have you done?’ she asked when she saw me clutching my leg in agony. ‘You’re getting married in four days!’

‘Tell me something I don’t know!’ I sighed, exasperated. ‘Let’s just get to the accident and emergency department!’

Kimberley walking down the aisle on crutches
Kimberley walking down the aisle on crutches

They rushed me to hospital, where a doctor told me my leg was badly broken and I had also fractured my foot. My heart sank.

‘Can I walk on it?’ I asked immediately, thinking of my big day.

‘You won’t be able to walk on it for six weeks,’ he warned. ‘I’m sorry but it’s quite a serious fracture.’ I burst into floods of tears then – what about my wedding?

In just four days’ time I was due to take the most important walk of my life when I glided down the aisle. How was I going to get married now?

Tears filled my eyes again as I realised I wouldn’t even be able to take part in our first dance.

I returned home and cried in Calvin’s arms – it felt like the worst thing that could happen so close to my wedding.

My leg throbbed in pain and I looked helplessly at my unsightly cast. I felt like giving up and calling the whole thing off.

‘What are we going to do? I’m hardly the blushing bride now.’

But Calvin soon talked some sense into me.

‘Come on Kim,’ he soothed. ‘You’ll still look beautiful, and we’ll all help out to make sure it’s perfect. All that matters is that we get married – we’ve waited ages for this.’

I was devastated – but I knew he was right. I soon grew determined – I’d been dreaming of this day for years. I’d broken my leg, but not my resolve. I was going to marry my Calvin… in sickness and in health.

My bridesmaids soon sprang into action, helping me with the rest of the final preparations and my florist added sparkly glitter to my crutches to help me look more glam and less like a hospital patient! I was thrilled.

I woke up on the day feeling nervous but excited, and despite having a tricky time getting in and out of the car, my dad helped to support my weight and I started to hobble down the aisle.

I tried not to blush as everyone turned around for my entrance and the organist started to play.

I focused on my walking and made careful small steps forward, towards my future husband.

But when I clocked Calvin’s face at the altar I suddenly forgot all about my leg. All that mattered to me was becoming his wife.

Arriving unsteadily at the front of the church, he grinned at me as we said our vows – even though I needed to sit down to say them!

‘You look stunning,’ Calvin smiled, his eyes filling up with tears.

After the ceremony I was thrilled when guests came up to me – even though I was in a wheelchair – and told me how beautiful I looked.

It was even better to see how proud Calvin seemed to be of his new bride.

And when the first dance – Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls – came around, I looked nervously at Calvin. But he grinned again and helped me to get up on my feet.

Kimberley sold her story to Real People magazine
Kimberley sold her story to Real People magazine

He held me close as we did a very slow, shuffle – with me hardly moving an inch, as I needed to keep my bad leg off the floor.

Luckily though, we saw the funny side, and we were soon in stitches.

The rest of the day was still perfect. I drank champagne, enjoyed the company of my guests and most importantly, got married to the man I adored – life was good.

Because I was given a wheelchair for our special day we had to postpone the wedding photographs until after my cast is off – but I don’t mind – it’ll give me another reason to wear my dress and actually put on my wedding shoes!

We’re going to have another party in the summer to celebrate with all of our friends, too.

People tell you to ‘break a leg’ before big events but I’d never imagined I’d get such a serious fracture, four days before my wedding.

In typical bridal tradition, I had something borrowed… and something black and blue.

As told to Helen O’Brien Google

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