It was time for their grand entrance at the wedding. However, this bride’s new husband was nowhere to be found. So she stepped into the room alone, and that’s when she saw his surprise.
Kiersten Downs hails from Tampa, Florida. In February 2017 she got married to her beau, Thomas Martineau. But it certainly wasn’t any ordinary wedding. Yes, this was a big day with a difference – a difference that has since seen the video of the couple’s celebrations go viral.
For Downs and her husband-to-be, Martineau, this wasn’t their first attempt at organizing a wedding. Yes, they had tried to get married twice before but had been forced to cancel their plans on both occasions.
The first time, unforeseen circumstances had forced them to postpone their nuptials. The second time, Martineau had fallen sick in the week before the wedding. He was so ill, in fact, that he had actually ended up in the operating theater.
Martineau has been confined to a wheelchair since 2008 when he was involved in a motorcycle accident. As he has no feeling from the waist down, the idea of sharing the first dance with his wife seemed a little beyond his means.
“We had talked about how we would dance, but never really came to any conclusions about it,” Downs told Yahoo. “I just figured we would improvise like we always do. Sometimes I sit on his lap, or we spin each other around.”
“There are lots of ways to dance in a wheelchair or with someone who uses a wheelchair,” Downs continued. Little did she know, however, that Martineau had other ideas. Indeed, her husband-to-be had secretly been planning something extra special.
While the couple were trying to organize their wedding, Downs was simultaneously working on her dissertation for her Ph.D. in applied anthropology. It’s no wonder, then, that she was a little distracted and therefore may not have noticed her fiancé cooking up his cunning plan.
And while Downs had her head in the books, Martineau was busy building up his strength at Tampa’s spinal cord injury rehabilitation center. What’s more, he and his trainer, Steve Hill, were also working on getting him dancing.
The pair had a few weeks to prepare for the big day, when Martineau would surprise his wife in the most beautiful way. But before they knew it that day had come, and it was Martineau’s moment to shine.
The wedding reception itself took place in a beautifully decorated barn. And there on the dance floor, taking center stage, Martineau waited for his wife to begin their first dance. Meanwhile, all of their family and friends watched on eagerly.
Having been unable to locate him ahead of their big entrance, Downs walked into the room alone before she spotted him waiting for her. But she was shocked to see that he wasn’t in his wheelchair. He was upright, supported by a harness attached to the ceiling. And he was ready to dance with his wife.
The beaming bride danced over to her waiting husband and delivered a big kiss as the wedding party cheered and applauded. And with the wave of celebration still rippling round the room, the band started to play the newlyweds’ chosen first song.
The song had huge emotional significance to the couple, both of whom are army veterans. Downs had first heard it performed at a veterans event where she’d worked up the courage to share her military experiences for the first time. Later that night the band, The War and Treaty, had dedicated the song to her.
The song was called “Unbreaking Your Heart,” and when she played it to Martineau for the first time the Air Force veteran couldn’t hold back his emotion. “That’s our wedding song,” he said to Downs through a tidal wave of tears.
And so the newlyweds danced away to their special song, thanks to the pulleys and wires above their heads that were keeping Martineau upright. And although both of them were nervous, the whole thing worked out perfectly.
“He wasn’t sure it was going to work, but his plan came together in the end,” Downs told Yahoo. The blushing bride then revealed that she, too, was concerned about her husband’s safety as he was hanging in the harness.
“Because I have a tendency to freak out, I think my first thought was, ‘Holy moly, I hope he doesn’t fall!’” Downs told Today. But thankfully, he did not, and they shared a few fantastic minutes together that they’ll never forget.
Although she described her husband as a “sneaky guy” for doing all the planning behind her back, Downs has said that she is looking forward to their new life together as a married couple. “I am so excited for all of the adventures we will get to go on together,” she told Today.
The video of their first dance has attracted over 100,000 views on YouTube, with many people commenting on Martineau’s incredible efforts. And as the couple put it themselves, “It was nothing short of magical.”