- Courtesy of Eve Yarbrough
- Colleen Costello is a special education teacher at Lakeview Academy in Milledgeville, Georgia.
- She invited her students to participate in her wedding ceremony, two as ring bearers and one to walk her down the aisle along with her father.
- She told Insider that having her students at her wedding “made my heart feel complete.”
- Her wedding photos, captured by photographer Eve Yarbrough, show the close bond they share.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Even before she was engaged, Colleen Costello knew she wanted to include her students in her wedding.
Costello has been teaching children with special needs for three years. At Lakeview Academy in Milledgeville, Georgia, Costello heads an adaptive classroom for children with intellectual disabilities and autism, where they learn life skills, independence, and communication.
“I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve also always been close to fellow students with exceptionalities,” Costello told Insider. “Teaching children with exceptionalities has been one of the most joyful and rewarding aspects of my life.”
Costello is now in her second year of teaching “her boys,” three students with whom she’s grown close
“My three boys, Jay, Korde, and Dominic, are three students who touched my heart from the day I met them,” she said. “They are the boys that I will keep up with for the rest of my life. I truly view them as my own children. They have brought so much joy into my life and made me a better human and teacher.”
When her now-husband Ryan popped the question, she invited the students to participate in the ceremony, held on December 7.
On her wedding day, Jay and Korde served as the ring bearers
Another student named Dominic accompanied her down the aisle, along with her father
Through BIGmack button communication devices that play recorded messages, Jay said, “Here comes the bride” as he walked her down the aisle, and Dominic said, “Her father and I give away the bride” when he reached the altar.
“Their participation in my wedding meant as much to me as my bridesmaids and my husband’s groomsmen,” Costello said. “They’re significant members of my life and I needed them there.”
Costello couldn’t have imagined her wedding any other way, and photos from that day show the close bond they share
“It made my heart feel complete,” she said of celebrating with her students. “We had all our family, friends, and the other biggest piece of my heart, my three boys.”
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