She Had To Go
Her eyes were red and irritated, she had been crying all day. She couldn’t believe this. Her wedding was right around the corner, and she was supposed to be happy and excited. But she wasn’t.
They had already booked the venue and she had picked the gown of her dreams. She knew that, despite everything, she still had to go to the altar, but she would not be saying, “I do.”
Kolbie Sanders had a seemingly perfect life. 24 years old and with her whole life ahead of her, she had been planning her fairytale wedding.
Kolbie had been dating Skylar for four years now, and the couple had been engaged for the last 18 months. It seemed to be a good time for the lovebirds to tie the knot finally.
Kolbie’s mother and sister fawned over her in the months leading up to the wedding. They accompanied her to venues, sampled wedding cake, attended bridesmaid’s fittings, and even helped her to pick out the perfect dress. They were thrilled for Kolbie–as they should have been.
Kolbie was so swept up in the chaos of planning her perfect wedding that she never realized that something crucial was missing.
Kolbie and Skyler had even decided on a venue–Belle Vue in Tyler, Texas. With all the trimmings and little extras, the price for just one night quickly skyrocketed to a whopping $3,500.
But the couple gritted their teeth and paid for the booking in full with no regrets. Belle Vue was, after all, the perfect location to celebrate their union.
With the venue secured, her dress picked out, alterations made, invitations sent out, and caterers booked, Kolbie went to bed that night with a heavy heart. She lay in her bed and looked up at the ceiling.
Only one week to go, and she would be at the altar, saying “I do” to the man she loved with all her heart. But why was she feeling this pang of regret deep down in her belly?
The next morning, Kolbie felt exhausted. She had tossed and turned all night, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was terribly wrong.
Skylar felt the anxiety coming off her in waves as she sat across from him at the breakfast table. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she looked fragile as she sat there, aimlessly spooning at her muesli. Then, she looked up and said the words he never wanted to hear.
“We need to talk,” Kolbie said, breaking the silence. But Skylar knew exactly what she was going to tell him. He saw it written on her face, and he felt his world fall apart.
The tears streamed down Kolbie’s face, but in her heart, she knew. She had just never realized it until now.
Breaking It Off
Kolbie felt that, although she still loved Skylar, there just wasn’t a spark between them. There hadn’t been for months. It was the most difficult decision she ever had to make, but she knew she had to trust her instincts.
She had been so caught up in the whirlwind of planning her dream wedding that she hadn’t paused to think.
But now that Kolbie had broken off the wedding, it was too late to get a refund on all the money she had already spent on the wedding.
The booking for the wedding venue would be completely wasted now, she thought sadly. She felt so depressed she just wanted to curl into a ball and cry. Then, she had an idea.
Making The Best Of It
If she couldn’t have her wedding at Belle Vue, that didn’t mean that somebody else couldn’t. Kolbie rose with new resolve. She was going to make the best of this situation, and she knew exactly how she would do it.
She got on the phone with the owners of the wedding venue, and they gave her 24 hours to donate the venue to another couple. But who would she give it to?
Calling On Couples
Kolbie took to Facebook, calling on other couples who were free to get married on October 20th–the day that would have been her wedding.
Suddenly, the comments were flooding in–from caterers and make-up artists to photographers and dressmakers–they were all so inspired by Kolbie’s gesture that they offered to donate their services to the chosen couple at no charge!
The Facebook Post
“I have partnered with the venue, and they are on board with this decision, and we are both excited to see if we can help a couple in need of making their wedding that much more beautiful with a free venue,” Kolbie wrote on her Facebook post.
“I figured the best way for this to work is for everyone to SHARE this post so that it reaches a higher audience.” It wasn’t long before messages flooded her inbox.
Kolbie had asked the people who saw her Facebook post to message her privately, tell her about their relationship backstories, and explain why they needed to get a free wedding venue valued at $3,500.
Many couples were struggling financially and couldn’t afford a beautiful wedding venue, and some had heart-wrenching backstories. But, to win the donation, there was one huge condition the lucky couple would have to agree to…
One Giant Catch
The giant catch was that all the couples hoping to win the free wedding venue would have to agree to have their wedding on October 20.
Kolbie only had 24 hours to find the lucky couple, and they would only have a few days to arrange and prepare for an entire wedding! However, the incredibly short notice wouldn’t deter one determined couple.
How To Choose?
By the end of the day, Kolbie had the names of hundreds of hopeful couples. But how to choose just one? Then, she decided that the couples whose stories touched her heart the most would be entered into a random draw.
This way, she could ensure that one of the most deserving couples would get the free wedding venue. There was one story that really caught Kolbie’s attention, though.
22-year-old Halie Hipsher and her fiancé Matt Jones were struggling financially, and when Kolbie read their story, her heart went out to them.
The young couple were very much in love and had been engaged for a year but had never managed to set aside enough money to have their dream wedding. And that was because all of their money went into one important aspect of their lives.
Halie and Matt were parents – they had a baby named Riley. But that wasn’t the only reason Kolbie felt they deserved a free wedding venue.
Haile’s grandfather, or “paw-paw” as she affectionately calls him, had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Halie worried every day that he wouldn’t make it to see her finally walk down the aisle.
So, when Kolbie pulled Halie and Matt’s names from the draw, she couldn’t be happier with her decision. She announced the winners in a live Facebook video, and the young couple was ecstatic.
They would finally be able to have the wedding that they wouldn’t have been able to afford. And best of all, Halie’s grandfather would be the guest of honor.
The Stars Aligned
Halie and Matt, by some amazing coincidence, lived just a 30-minute drive from where Kolbie lived! Out of the dozens of couples who had entered, the stars just seemed to align for them that day.
Halie says that she wouldn’t even have seen Kolbie’s Facebook post if her sister hadn’t tagged her in a comment. And then something even more incredible happened.
People and businesses caught wind of Kolbie’s Facebook post as it was shared across social media and decided to step in themselves.
Kolbie herself decided to include all the wedding decorations she’d already bought, as well as any assistance she could provide to arrange everything. Then, her good friend decided to offer her services as a wedding photographer – free of charge!
A Snowball Of Kindness
Before long, a man named Carlos offered to provide delicious tamales for 150 wedding guests for free. Then, a local business called Sprinkle Bake Shop stepped in and offered to donate two dozen decorated wedding cookies.
Kolbie kept updating her original post with all the free services people were stepping in to provide to make the day extra special, but she could hardly keep up!
“4TH EDIT: Three more WONDERFULLY talented people have offered their services for the lucky couple! Oh_so_brittnee has generously offered to donate a bouquet for the bride and a boutonnière for the groom!” Kobie added to her original post.
“Hells Belles Hair Design and Makeup Artistry have also offered to do the hair for the bride on the day of the wedding! Additionally, Abigail Mejia has offered to do makeup for the bride as well!!” Kobie added.
Of course, the lucky and deserving couple insisted that Kolbie attend their wedding – thanks to her generosity, they would finally be able to tie the knot.
Kolbie accepted the invitation and even helped Halie with all her wedding day preparations! Although it was a bittersweet day for Kolbie, she knew that she had done the right thing.
Halie Hipsher became Halie Jones on the afternoon of October 20th, and the wedding was everything the couple had dreamed of, and more.
Even though the invitations had been last-minute, the venue was packed with their friends and loved ones as they gathered to witness their union. But, most importantly, Halie’s beloved Paw-Paw was there, too.
“Throwing together everything on short notice was difficult but worked out,” Halie explained in an interview.
“Walking down the aisle was breathtaking, and I wouldn’t want to change one second of the day because it is all I could’ve dreamed of and more.” And she owed it all to one selfless woman.
Kolbie couldn’t be happier for the couple, “It proves that I did the right things with my own marriage and chose the right person. It was fate that I drew her name,” she explained.
Her initial Facebook post exploded, but afterward, everyone wanted to know about the newlyweds and how Halie’s grandfather was doing.
Instead of being the bride that day, Kolbie attended the dream wedding that was meant to be for her. Unsurprisingly, she had mixed emotions about the whole situation: “It was overwhelming. I had so many emotions that day.”
After the wedding, she took to Facebook once more to reflect on her decision to give another couple her wedding.
The Kindness Of Strangers
“This is why everyone should show acts of kindness to their neighbors, friends, family members, and especially complete strangers,” Kolbie wrote in another Facebook post.
“You can end up changing the outcome of someone’s entire life when you stop caring about the outcome of your own.” She also had a heartfelt message for the lucky couple…
Sending Her Blessings
“So blessed to know the Hipsher/Jones family and beyond grateful to have been able to witness the best day of their lives,” Kolbie wrote. Then she addressed Halie and Matt.
“Your love and strength in life are beyond inspiring, and I can’t wait to continue to see your love grow.” Due to her viral post, it wasn’t long before Kolbie became a bit of an internet celebrity.
The Right Decision
Soon after the Facebook post went viral, local news stations picked up the story. Kolbie’s generosity has been an inspiration to thousands.
But she remains humble: “This was natural to me; I didn’t have to think about it,” she said. “I’m really glad that she won. Her reaction definitely made all of this worth it.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.