Watching a bride walk down the aisle is already an emotional moment, but for Jaquie Farmer, that moment was magnified tenfold.
The newlywed stunned her wedding guests when she walked down the aisle and danced on her wedding night, nearly eight years after being paralyzed in a swimming pool accident.
Family and friends of the bride were overcome with emotion in the moment, but Jaquie’s wedding photographers – couple team Halie and Alec – caught guests’ reactions on camera for the bride and her groom Andy to go back and look at.
“Seeing the reactions now from the photos Halie and Alec captured just brings me to tears every time,” Jaquie told Fox 59. “It’s so easy to forget how miraculous it is that I can walk now since it’s the journey I’ve been going through for eight years. But when people react with such emotion and awe, it reminds me of just how blessed I am.”
Jaquie was paralyzed when she was just 17, after diving into a friend’s pool and breaking her neck, Fox 59 reports. Recalling the incident, Jaquie told the network that after her jump she heard her friends laughing as she lay face down in the water, because they thought she was joking.
Eventually, she was pulled out of the pool and someone called her mother to pick her up. Once at the hospital, Jaquie’s doctors told her that she was paralyzed, but what she remembers most is being able to feel her limbs, but not move them, according to Fox 59.
“I remember looking over at my mom saying, ‘Am I going to be in a wheelchair forever?’ And holding back tears she said, ‘If God wants you to walk, you’ll walk,” she added.
After that, and a hint of promise when she was able to move her big toe, Jaquie spent hundreds of hours in physical therapy and the gym as she worked towards building the strength to stand.
Nearly five years after the accident, Jaquie met Andy Goncher on a dating app, and he proposed two years later, prompting Jaquie to make it a goal to walk down the aisle at their wedding.
Just under a year later, Jaquie met her goal on May 22, 2016, as she was able to enjoy their day “wheelchair-free” as she had hoped.