Star-crossed lovers survive unthinkable tragedy, wed serendiptiously in charming Irish Countryside

One year after her heart stopped on the operators table Jayden stood before us, a bride freshly married to the love of her life clothed in white lace and bathing in golden sunlight as it set over the Cliffs of Moher.

Have you ever seen anyone look more alive yet like an angel at the same time?

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On May 28th of 2018, Jayden Meville and Jeffery Herbert exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony surrounded only by the walls of a charming 11th century castle and the Irish countryside. The pair traveled from their home in Canada to elope in Ireland, a place which they dream of planting roots and starting a family in one day.

They celebrated their nuptials over multiple days as we traveled around Ireland via the Wild Atlantic Way. This gave us a chance to capture heirloom wedding photographs at a more intentional, purposeful pace; not a single soul in Ireland is in a hurry, anyway.

Their elopement was a serendipitous fairytale and everything they deserved after overcoming extreme adversities. These two share a story of tragedy, hope, and a love that, since day one, has been stead-fast through sickness and health.

Prepare a tissue (or box of tissues) before reading their captivating story.

 

From the Bride;

I have left ventricular non compaction and belhassen arrhythmia, the first person documented in medical history to have both of the conditions together. The LV noncompaction is a genetic disease passed down from my dad, the same one that killed him at 26. I had surgery to correct the arrythmia but is was only 80% successful.

Jeff was there with me through it all.

We had only been together for 2 months when I was admitted to the hospital the first time. We were long distance and he left work that day and drove two hours to be with me, I was given my diagnosis and was devastated. While he was on his way I ended up in the Emergency department. He got there and didn’t leave my side for the full week I was there. He hadn’t brought any clothes from home because he was expecting just to be there for the day, so he went to the mall and bought himself clothes for the week and some dry shampoo for me.
Though we had only just started dating, he texted his friends saying his “girlfriends in the hospital, need chocolate and flowers stat” and one of his friends showed up with chocolate and flowers in the emergency department!
I felt really bad about everything by day 2 and at the end of the day when all my family left, it was just Jeff and I in the room and I said to him:
”Look Jeff, you didn’t sign up for any of this and this is really scary and I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to leave, I’m giving you an out and I wouldn’t be hurt if you took it” and he crawled into my hospital bed with me and kissed me gently on the forehead and stroked my hair and said “I’m not going anywhere”.
He always called me his brave princess.

When I had my heart surgery we had to drive for eight hours to a larger hospital and he was always so good at keeping me calm.

During my surgery my heart rate bottomed out and stopped. I had a heart attack. But they got me back.

Naturally I was delirious after surgery and when they were rolling me back to my room, Jeff heard me screaming down the hallway “where’s my Jeff, get me my Jeff!” over and over again.
He took the best care of me during it, fed me when I couldn’t feed myself, helped me walk when I couldn’t walk myself, helped clean me when I couldn’t clean myself.

He truly showed me what it meant to be loved.
When I was growing up my Uncle Marc and Aunt Chantelle were my inspirations for love.
My Aunt was battling terminal cancer and Uncle cared for her the entire time. Near the end she said to my Uncle Marc, “I want to know how long I have to be your wife before I go”.
So within two days, Marc bought her a wedding dress, found a JOP, got their parents there, set up candles and roses, and they got married in their home.
Exactly one week later she died in his arms while listening to their wedding song. After she passed and the funeral was had, Marc went on Chantelle’s dream honeymoon by himself and took photos doing everything she wanted to do to show to her family.

I always said to my family “I want to marry someone like uncle Marc”.

During my first hospital visit my family met Jeff for the first time. When I went home after I was released from the hospital, my baba and I went for lunch. I asked her what she thought of Jeff and she smiled and said “you know who he reminds me of? Your uncle Marc”... That’s when I knew I was going to marry Jeff.
He proposed while we were visiting Wales, at the Cardiff Castle on my birthday. He said that morning “get dressed up like a princess, I’m taking you somewhere special”.... He took me for a tea party nearby the castle for brunch, and we walked around the town exploring a bit. We got to the castle and had a private tour, which was spectacular.

In his proposal speech, he mentioned how I’m his brave princess and he wanted to show me that for the rest of our lives
 

Their Elopement Story

. . .


The Morning

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Strolling through the Irish countryside is an aromatic feast.

It definitely wasn’t too difficult for Jayden to forage the entirety of her wedding bouquet.


They hid away from each other while getting suited up before the first look. Jayden wore two wedding dresses; one traditional style for their castle elopement, and one more free-flowing and inspired by the wild Irish landscape from Sweet Pea and Noelle that she wore on the Cliffs. Jeff designed his dapper custom suit from David’s and I think it matches every square-inch of Ireland. Her earrings were made and purchased in Ireland. They found many of their stationary pieces in antique shops in Dublin.


 

On the morning of their wedding the pair shared a slow-paced traditional Irish breakfast together in a quaint garden.


 
 
 

The Vows & Eve

They had their first-look in the castle walls. They exchanged rings and the sweetest handwritten vows. The pair now keeps their vow books from Paper Ocelot in their bedside table and they read them to each other on a regular basis. Jeff constantly recites his to Jayden as she continually battles her heart condition and new diagnoses.

After they enjoyed their first meal together in an endearing family eatery, they shared their first dance on a random street in a little town in the middle of Ireland. The music was the sound of their voices singing and humming a mashup of all of the love songs that reminded them of one another.


Ever After

In the days following they explored around some pretty jaw dropping locations. The newlyweds honeymooned and soaked in every moment slowly and with intention.

 
 

The Cliffs of Moher

 

Celebrating Femininity

On one of our last days in Ireland, Jayden and I snuck away into the countryside to secluded castle ruins for a bridal boudoir session. We both value the intimacy in natural, vulnerabile photographs that celebrate femininity. During this session we were filled with gratitude of the amazing experience that their elopement had been, and how endlessly thankful we both were that she survived and had made it to this place. We both broke into tears, and I captured this raw and pure photograph of Jayden.

Though she will forever battle her heart condition, which greatly reduces her life-expectacy, Jeff will be by her side to eternity.

Jayden is the president of student nurses and has dedicated her life to taking care of people. Jeffery is a pharmacist and the pair work in the same hospital together.

Jayden has been my best friend since we were 12 years old. Alike how Uncle Marc and Aunt Chantelle are Jayden’s inspiration for love, Jayden and Jeff are my inspiration for love.