There’s few things less heartbreaking than finding out your best friend can’t be at your wedding. For (newly married) Arkansas couple Kelsey and Travis Blankenship, they had to figure out what to do when Travis’ best friend of almost ten years was suddenly deployed and couldn’t attend their ceremony, much less fulfill his duties as best man.
Specialist Robert Wells of Bravo Co. in the 2-135th GSAB of the Nebraska National Guard is pretty much the reason the wedding is even happening in the first place, according to Kelsey. “About three years ago, after Travis and I had been on-again-off-again, Robbie called Travis an idiot for not being with me and we have been together ever since,” said Kelsey.
When the couple got engaged in March of 2014, Travis asked his best friend to stand at the altar next to him as his best man, and Robbie obviously accepted. But of course, life happens, and Robbie was deployed overseas this past July.
The couple had a decision to make: either replace Robbie as best man or find a way to honor him, both as Travis’ best friend and an active member of the military. Travis couldn’t bear the thought of replacing his best friend, so they went with option B.
“The joke started one night that we could just make a cardboard cutout. We began jokingly mentioning the idea to Robbie and it turned into a key point of our wedding, making sure that the guy that pushed us together could “be” there. Robbie thought the idea was genius and made the thought of him not being there somewhat bittersweet. He wouldn’t be able to experience our day with us and he wouldn’t be able to stand up next to his best friend, but he would not be forgotten on our wedding day,” said Kelsey.
Here are some of the unforgettable photos from the couple’s special day, featuring a cardboard cut out version of best man, Robbie.
How. Freaking. Cool. Robbie will be a part of the couple’s wedding photos forever, even if he couldn’t technically be at the wedding itself.
It doesn’t end there. Kelsey wanted Robbie to be more than just a cardboard figure, so she went behind her husband’s back and had Robbie pre-record a best man speech. She had the audio play during the reception, and I bet I can guess there was not a dry eye left in the room.
“Robbie is in every one of our wedding party photos and was not only an part of our relationship, but of our photo albums and our lives forever,” said Kelsey.
Tears. Literal tears. .
Images via Samantha Daniels of The Kindred Collective