Anna Claire Stokes Credit: Lexie Merlino Photography

On Valentine’s Day 2016, bride-to-be Anna Claire Waldrop was driving home from a party with her fiancé, James “Jimbo” Waldrop, when a reckless drunk driver changed her life forever.
The couple, at the time both seniors at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, noticed a car coming up behind them, speeding.
Anna Claire sensed something was wrong.
“[The driver] was someone we knew actually, because it’s a small town,” Anna Claire, 24, tells PEOPLE. “He hit my side of the car and Jimbo flew through the sunroof. I stayed in the car, which flipped four times.”
The accident left her a quadriplegic.
“I was very scared,” says Anna Claire, who had already picked out a venue for her nuptials nine months away. “I wondered ‘Will I ever be happy again?’ But the thought of my upcoming wedding was motivation to get better.”
And after months of therapy, the high school sweethearts tied the knot on their originally planned …