Janice and Robert Stamper were childhood friends and high school sweethearts. The pair met when they were just 10 years old—he had “the biggest crush on her”, and she was a romantic who had planned her wedding down to the flower arrangements as a little girl.
“We kind of just knew we were meant to be together,” Janice told us. “It was pretty instant.”
A decade later, it was their big day. On August 1, 2014, they would walk down the aisle, profess their vows, and marry each other in a modest ceremony.
“We didn’t have any money to spend on all the things Janice planned in her mind,” Robert recalled “But the fact that we were finally married after a lifetime being in love, that was enough for us.”
Janice remembers the proposal: on September 30, 2012, in front of their entire church congregation, Robert got down on one knee and gave Janice a bottle.
“He taped the ring underneath a bottle cap to hide it, and he was so nervous that he just gave me the entire bottle,” Janice said. But he asked, and she said yes. “It was so cute and so special.”
But she can’t remember a single thing after that.
She doesn’t remember him seeing her in her dress for the first time. She doesn’t remember saying “I do.”
The wedding day was wiped from her memory, along with a chunk of time after that September proposal. Because just 19 days after Janice and Robert were wed, Janice was caught in a car accident and seriously injured.
Janice had been driving to her aunt’s house when a car rear-ended her at 50 m.p.h. and her car flew 50 feet, off the side of the road. Her head slammed into the steering wheel and she suffered a traumatic brain injury that knocked her brain around in her skull. Several months of memories were lost.
Janice called her husband, sobbing and incoherent.
“I was at work and I got a call from Justice. She was just bawling and couldn’t stop,” Robert says. “I got in my car and drove to her as fast as I possibly could, she was nearly killed in the impact but by the grace of God she survived.”
The next month and a half was surreal.
Janice came home to find that she didn’t recognize the house that she lived in—and spotted photos of a wedding she couldn’t remember on the wall. Between the drowsy medication and headaches, she was suffering, she even worried that maybe she was losing her mind. When did she get married? What else couldn’t she remember?
“It’s like going to a foreign country and not understanding what anyone is saying. It’s very confusing,” she said.
At first, Janice suffered quietly, afraid to tell anyone else she had forgotten something so significant.
“I used to tell her she had to be happy that she was still around with me, with all of us God had blessed her with life. But somehow my words didn’t reach her, I felt there was something broken inside her.” Robert said.
Janice was certainly depressed by her lack of memory, but the main reason of her poor state of mind would shock Robert.
“After about a month and a half later I went to Robert and said, ‘Honey I have something to tell you… I don’t want you to be mad, but I do not remember the wedding at all,’” Janice told us in tears.
She was terrified to tell him, but he responded without hesitation.
“The first thing he said was, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll do it again,’” Janice said.
Robert was understandably heartbroken—not being able to talk about the day they got married was frustrating and saddening— “It’s that one memory that you assume you’ll be able to happily share with your spouse for the rest of your lives.”
So he decided to give Janice a second wedding.
It wasn’t easy for them—Rob was a college student with a part-time job, and Janice had been in school as well but hadn’t been able to work due to her recent injury.
Without telling his wife, he turned to GoFundMe to raise $5,000 to help arrange a wedding ceremony, and then raised twice the amount.
“Our first wedding was beautiful and perfect,” he said. “But this time, I want Janice to truly be blown away. She really deserves it.”
“There’s been a lot of pressure, but our bond is just a lot stronger now,” Rob said.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” Janice said. “And I’m so lucky to have Robert. Without him, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Robert asked Janice mother to help him organizing the wedding her daughter had always dreamed.
Their first wedding had 75 guests, but this time, they invited many more people—the ones who helped make the wedding possible.
The reception was in a beautiful lounge fully decorated with sunflowers. But before the ceremony, Robert planned a special bride treatment for Janice and her court in a mansion.
Janice’s mother, Lori Myers helped organize the wedding all over again. And this time, Robert could make everything it bigger and better, “it was such a wonderful opportunity for him to make a second wedding happen for his bride.”