Paraplegic groom’s first-dance surprise

Story highlights

Joey Johnson uses a wheelchair, after a motorcycle accident damaged his spine in 2012

He wanted to stand for the first dance with his new wife, so he got creative

There wasn't a dry eye in among the wedding guests, according to the wedding photographer

CNN  — 

Michelle Johnson has stood by her husband, Joey, through good times and bad. On their wedding day in June, he returned the favor by standing by her for their first dance.

It was a surprise for Michelle and an inspirational moment for their wedding guests, because Joey is a paraplegic who has used a wheelchair since August 2012, after a motorcycle accident severely injured his spinal cord.

With the help of his groomsmen, Joey had fashioned together a harness that suspended from the ceiling above the dance floor and allowed him to be wheelchair-free for the couple’s first dance to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.

To pull off the surprise, Michelle’s mother created a ruse by suggesting she return to the bridal suite after cutting the cake. When she returned to the reception, her husband was standing, waiting for her.

“She saw Joey standing and she had a giant smile on her face which quickly turned to tears. Everyone was in tears,” wedding photographer Rachel Linnea wrote in an email to CNN.

“The dance was a beautiful moment to not only capture, but to experience.”

While the couple was married on June 28, 2014, a video of the dance started gaining traction on Veterans Day as the couple met at a Miranda Lambert concert shortly after Joey returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2012.

“I stuck by his side through it all and I know we could get through anything now,” Johnson wrote before the wedding on her blog.