Aged 29 and working as an in-house lawyer at Lehman Brothers – her dream job – Stacey Becker was “on top of the world”.
Better still, she also had an amazing fiancé, Brad, whom she says “never missed an opportunity to shower me with affection”.
Following a whirlwind romance, Brad had proposed to Stacey on board a Caribbean cruise and before long she was planning their Hawaiian honeymoon and looking at dream homes.
But six months later Brad dropped a bombshell. “Stace, I love you so much,” he said. “But I’m not ready to marry you.”
At that stage some 300 people had been invited to a lavish wedding reception. Indeed, the bride-to-be herself had also already paid for her €3,150 ivory Reem Acra dress – sourced from Kleinfeld, an upmarket NYC boutique popular with celebrities.
“Despite his revelation, we continued to live together – until he got a job transfer to California,” Ms Becker explained in conversation with New York Post features writer, Doree Lewak.
“The man who claimed he loved me couldn’t move farther away if he tried.”
Then came the out-of-the-blue phone call just three months after he had called off the engagement: it was Brad on the line, telling her he had gotten engaged to another woman.
“It just happened so quickly,” he told Stacey, noting it was someone he had only recently met.
In the aftermath, Stacey recalled “constantly having to explain to people what I did with the ring, and how I recouped my money”.
“Well, after being tempted to cash in on the ring, I returned it to Brad,” she described. “And lost deposits on most vendors.”
“If there was ever a rock bottom, this was it.”
But then, in August 2007, Ms Becker got a call from a friend inviting her to his wedding – a celebration which incidentally was being held on the very same day she had been due to marry Brad.
Her initial response was “no way,” until a mutual friend – Jonny – whom she’d know since the age of 13 invited her along as his date “more out of concern than romantic interest”.
“I moaned, but Jonny was always there to make me laugh,” she said, recalling how he told her: “You can’t miss my wedding version of the Michael Jackson Thriller dance. You’ll be so terrified, it will be impossible to think about anything else.”
Two years later, Jonny got down on one knee and told her that he loved her. “Will you marry me?” he asked.
“It was so different this time around,” said Stacey. “I chose a simple A-line gown, and we had a relatively small, 100-person wedding in San Juan, Puerto Rico.”
Now, Jonny and Stacey have been married for five years, and they adore their 19-month-old daughter, Ellie.
“Looking back, I see that getting dumped before my wedding strangely gave me new confidence to stand on my own.
“I had bought myself an apartment with my own money, and while there were definitely moments of feeling hopeless, I never lost all hope.”
She concluded: “For anyone who feels despair from heartbreak, know you’re not alone. Love is out there, but you have to be patient and recognise it.
“It might not always come in the package you expect it to come in, but you’ll know it when you have it.”
Stacey, Jonny and Ellie live with their dog, Wally, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She is the author of Knot The One: Why Getting Dumped Before My Wedding Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me. You can also look at her website here.