The bittersweet moment two parents saw their youngest daughter in her wedding dress after tragically losing their eldest has been captured on camera.
Taken on the morning of their daughter Sam’s wedding, dad Mark Leicester, 62, and mum Sonia Leicester, 46, are captured holding back the tears as they see their little girl in her wedding dress for the very first time.
But while their tears are undeniably happy ones, the family’s emotions run deep with sadness as they always imagined Sam’s sister, Jenna, would be the first to tie the knot.
Four years older than her sibling, Jenna was just 16-years-old when she died after falling over and triggering problems caused by a brain injury she suffered at birth.
Now, the heart wrenching image has been given a Masters of Wedding Photography award for its moving message.
“That day was a crazy, emotional roller-coaster,” said Sam.
“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.
“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,” she explained.
“Sean began the countdown from three until dad could open his eyes. Dad is so used to seeing me in my loungewear, football kit or just usually dressed like a right tomboy!
“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.”
Speaking of her late sister, Sam said that Jenna “had everything going for her” and was planning to go to university to study fashion design before she sadly passed away.
In remembrance, the family placed a bench in a big nature reserve where they scattered Jenna’s ashes and regularly visit.
The special moment between the bride and her parents was caught on camera by photographer Sean Weekly, 28, who said the entire wedding was “extremely emotional.”
He won The Masters of Wedding Photography award – which celebrates and appreciates the best wedding photography in the UK & Ireland - for submitting the picture he took last year.
“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,” Weekly explained.
“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 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.”
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