Today was supposed to have been the beginning of forever for two Madisonville natives.
Jayde Johnson and Ben Campbell planned their wedding for over a year and a half, and it had a sweet significance as it was the bride’s late grandmother’s birthday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wedding has been postponed.
The couple has been friends since kindergarten. Johnson said they had been good friends all through high school and had kept in touch throughout college.
“When we graduated, we both moved back to Madisonville and still kept in touch, still hung out,” Johnson said. “Ben got an opportunity to work for Edward Jones, which is what he currently does, and moved to St. Louis for about six months.”
After living in St. Louis, Campbell was offered an opportunity to work in Lexington, where he took over an office from a retiring advisor.
“He tried to pursue me in a more of a romantic way through college and early adulthood, but I was dead set on just friends,” Johnson said. “About the time he moved to Lexington a switch flipped in my brain, and I thought maybe he would be a good fit for me, and also he’s a wonderful person, I had always known that. I had seen him in other relationships and saw how he treated other girls. So, it was a long friendship that turned into a romantic relationship.”
The two started dating in the fall of 2017. Less than a year later, Campbell proposed at Keenland. Up until now, their relationship had been entirely long distance. She lived in Madisonville, working as a dental hygienist, and he in Lexington. She didn’t want to move or make drastic decisions until after a proposal.
Once engaged, she had moved to Lexington last April and actively planning their wedding. Two weeks ago, the details were set. Vendors were booked, the bride and groom’s friends and family were to join them in Versailles for the ceremony.
Johnson said her venue, which also provided her a wedding coordinator, gave her a call and said that a postponement might be a good idea.
“At that time, the world really hadn’t flipped upside down, like it has now,” Johnson said. “Talking with Ben and talking with our families, we were like, ‘Let’s still do this, let’s try to make this a go.’ ”
That’s where they were for about a day and a half. Then things started to change as the recommendations from Gov. Andy Beshear to close certain places and limit the spread of the coronavirus continued to grow by the day. Johnson said that Sunday they made the call to postpone until the end of May. Another week and a half later, they are now considering moving their wedding to the fall.
“It’s been very difficult. The first couple of days after we made the decision were probably the hardest, but once we decided to postpone, there was a relief and a weight off of my shoulders. Of course, that weight and anxiety is back on my shoulders.
“In the grand scheme of things, our wedding is a very small thing, because people are sick, and there are people that have lost loved one,” she said. “Our wedding is very minute in all of this, but it’s been an emotional thing. It’s been a year and a half that we’ve been planning for this and waiting for this, and the day was finally here, and it’s not going to get to take place.”
With today being Johnson’s grandmother’s birthday, it was a special way for her and her family to honor their loved one.
“She’s the one person that I would do anything to have her there on my wedding day, so that has been a bummer that we wouldn’t have that special day with that special connection,” she said.
Johnson’s mother, Michelle, said her daughter’s wedding day will fulfill a dream she has for her.
“She’s always been everything in my life since she was born,” said Johnson’s mother. “She’s been my purpose in life. Her grandmother always told her to get a good education and a good job, so she never had to depend on a man. Well, in this case, she doesn’t have to depend on him, but he’s always going to be there for her.”
Campbell said that through all this, he has learned more about his partner.
“When you go through something as crazy as this, it’s been good. We’re really good at communicating and working through things. It’s a big day for her and her mother,” he said. “ I like to take a step back and let them decide on what they dream of and what they picture the big day to be like.”
Johnson said they’ve thought about a small intimate wedding, but at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be the same.
“We want it to be everything that we’ve planned,” she said. “At this point, we’re okay waiting. It is frustrating and an anxious period, but Ben, he’s calm, cool and collected — which is his personality. I’m the one who’s out of my mind with all the nerves and the decisions — he just keeps saying, ‘Whatever you want babe.’ ”