One-year Anniversary Winter Session – Reynolds at Lake Oconee – Jess + Tim

“I felt so happy to have instantly clicked with Tim.” Jess said, “ However, I was positive he would turn the other way and run once I explained that I’d be sick for the rest of my life…”

Jess and Tim reached out to me in the Spring of 2019 for wedding photography. I was thrilled to meet them and become their wedding photographer! As we got to know each other Jess told me that she had a disease called Behcet’s. It’s a rare form of autoimmune disease and would be with her for the rest of her life.

Behcet’s disease has so many side effects, including monthly flares up which cause painful sores all over Jess’s body, seizures, memory loss, and much more. Jess told me that as they got to know each other she knew Tim was someone incredible and rare. After Tim found out about her disease, he told her that he would “…be my champion… and see the beauty in me despite illness… We both knew that it was true love.” Needless to say, she had to be a little extra careful when planning her wedding and figuring out how to manage her health. But Tim was by her side every step of the way.

Then COVID…

Their wedding was scheduled for May 2020. As they watched the Pandemic spread, they realized with heavy hearts that their plans and wedding date would have to change. Jess’s health was on the line and nothing was more important than making sure their wedding was safe for not only her but also their friends and family. They rescheduled for the end of August 2020 and continued to put faith in the hope that everything would work out.

Two days before their wedding in August I received a phone call from Jess’s mom. The wedding had been canceled due to Jess’s health, COVID, and other complications. I was heartbroken for Jess and Tim. I knew how much they were looking forward to their big day and celebrating with their loved ones.

Weeks later I heard from Jess and Tim. They explained all the complications they had run into right before the wedding and how sorry they were for all of the confusion and change of plans. They then explained that they were actually already married. “Wait! What?!”, I said. It turns out they couldn’t wait to say “I do” in May, and with friends by their sides, they went to the courthouse near their home in NC. and became Mr. and Mrs. Maj officially!

I was floored. This was unexpected and exciting! They told me that even though they knew having an official wedding with all of their friends and family was not an option anymore, they wanted to do a one-year anniversary session dressed in their wedding day attire. Jess explained that she desperately wanted to enjoy wearing her dress, which was STUNNING. They simply wanted to have their “moment” together to celebrate their marriage. We started planning it all out; locations, day-of schedule, and activities! We wanted to make this day count.

January 18, 2021

Skyler and I walked into the lake house to find wedding decor carefully placed on the front table and all over the main level. Jess had worked so carefully to place everything out like she would’ve on their wedding day. It was beautiful! After saying hi, sharing hugs, and catching up with Jess and Tim we got to work. Details, getting ready photos, and then the “First Look”.

Tim was dressed in his suit and waiting at the end of the dock facing the lake. Jess walked outside into the brisk January air. Her dress trailed behind her as she glided down the back stairs watching Tim grow closer and closer. It was hard to believe that we were finally in this moment after so much planning and so many broken plans. She drew close behind him. Tapped him on the shoulder. As he turned to look at his bride, it was like no one else was with them.

At the beginning of the day, I asked Jess if she thought Tim would cry and she quickly answered, “Oh no. He’s not really a cryer.” Well, when Tim finally saw Jess in her dress he was speechless. He stared at her as tears filled his eyes and he embraced her. It was one of the sweetest moments that I hope they will hold on to forever! Me and Skyler were holding back tears just watching this moment unfold. We stepped back to let them soak in the moment and quietly captured it.

After the first look, we celebrated! We tried (emphasis on TRIED) to use confetti poppers… but the wind had other plans. Jess and Tim took their love notes to each other and put them in a glass bottle they threw into the lake. It was fun, whimsical, carefree, and exactly what everyone needed.

Forever and Always…

Jess and Tim proved to me that love conquers all! I have never witnessed a couple face so much adversity while planning what should’ve been one of the best moments of their life together. They truly took to heart “Through sickness and health”, as Tim supported Jess through countless hospital visits. “For richer or poorer” as they watched their time and money get thrown away as their wedding plans were moved and ultimately canceled. I have no doubt that the phrase, “As long as we both shall live…” will be easy for them. Their love will carry them through whatever life throws their way.

I am blessed to have met Jess and Tim, and to have played a part in their story. Ultimately, on January 18, 2021, we celebrated more than a union between two people, but a year that proved their unwavering love and devotion for each other.

Enjoy these images from Jess and Tim’s session. They were a long time in the making, but I couldn’t imagine them being any better! 🙂

Xoxo – Sarah

And this is when our first confetti popper failed… LOL
And this is when our second attempt failed… Oh well. It definitely made for some good laughs!
  • Venue – Reynolds
  1. Sue and Frans van Zeeland says:

    Dear Jessica and Tim,
    We enjoyed attending your wedding❗️That us🎱is exactly how your wedding day photos made us feel—WE WERE RIGHT THERE CELEBRATING WITH YOU❗️Bless you and Tim on your special day of celebration—May GOD always look down on both of you with his blessings—we love you❣️🥂 Susie and Frans van Zeeland

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