This is the bittersweet moment two parents see their youngest daughter dressed up in her bridal gown – after tragically losing their oldest daughter to a brain injury.
Mark Lester, 62 and mum Sonia Lester, 46, are captured fighting back the tears as they beam with joy at seeing their daughter Sam dolled up for her wedding.
The family always imagined Sam’s sister Jenna would be the first to tie the knot – making it even more emotional to see Sam ready to walk down the aisle.
The emotional picture – which really does paint a thousand words – has since won a Masters of Wedding Photography award for its moving message.
Sam said: “That day was a crazy, emotional roller-coaster.
“It’s 12 years today since I lost my sister and I felt like my parents should have seen her in a wedding dress before me.
“She would have been married by now for sure, she was an absolute stunner!
“So for my parents not to have seen Jen in a wedding dress I think they may have found it difficult seeing me.
“But I had my wedding for me and my big sister.”
Sam married her teenage sweetheart Darryl Jackson, 28, in July last year – eight years after they first met and fell in love over their shared passion for football.
She said: “When I was told I had to stand in my kitchen and and have my dad in front of me with his eyes closed, I felt so nervous and was hoping he would think I looked beautiful.
“Sean began the countdown from three until dad could open his eyes. Dad is so used to seeing me in my lounge wear, football kit or just usually dressed like a right tom boy!
“As soon as dad saw me, he burst into tears and gave me the biggest cuddle. It was one of the most emotional moments dad and I have shared in a very long time.
“The whole day was an amazing, emotional roller coaster and for Sean to capture the moments he did, these will be cherished proudly and forever.”
Sam’s sister Jenna, who was four years older than her, was 16 when she died after falling over and triggering the problems caused by a brain injury she suffered at birth.
Sam said: “She had a boyfriend, was going to university for fashion design, she had everything going for her.
“I was 12 at the time she died, and obviously my parents tried to keep me away from the sadness as much as possible.
“My parents have put a bench in a big nature to remember Jen – it’s so nice, when you go to it on a clear day you can see all the way out to London.
“It’s lovely up there – you go there and you don’t feel like you need to talk or anything, it’s where we scattered her ashes.”
Photographer Sean Weekly, 28 won The Masters of Wedding Photography award for submitting this emotional picture he took last year.
The award celebrates and appreciates the best wedding photography in the UK & Ireland and showcase this artwork to all future bridal couples.
Sean said: “The wedding itself was extremely emotional the brides older sister died some 13 years ago today from a sudden illness.
“The image was her parents seeing her for the first time as a bride. They just broke down in tears seeing their ‘little girl’ about to be married.
“I guess her parents were so proud but also sad in the sense that it felt to them they were losing another daughter in a good way of course!
“The mood in the room at the time this was taken was extremely palpable.
“I try my best to hone in and capture emotions during everything aspect of a wedding, especially moments like this.
“I’m involved so much in looking for tears and laughter that it genuinely affects me emotionally.
“I remember taking this shot and I had tears in my eyes trying hard to hold them back and concentrate on capturing the story for Sam and her family.
“For me weddings are about capturing the story of a couples biggest and happiest day of their lives.
“They are full of positive and happy people, beautiful scenes, emotions and stories if you look for them.
“Weddings bring out something in people that you do not encounter in a day to day life, a level of openness and emotions it is this that I love to photograph.
“The most rewarding thing about wedding photography is when a couple tells you that they can relive their wedding day through your images.
“If my images take them back to how they felt at that moment then I know I have succeeded in my job.”
The couple tied the knot at The Kings Oak Hotel in Waltham Abbey, Essex, near where they live.
Leave a Reply