November 18, 2021 Jelena + Tommy | Eloped! | Chapel Hill, NC Wedding Photos
On Monday, Jim and I photographed the most special wedding we’ve ever been a part of – the elopement of our dear friend Tommy to the love of his life, Jelena.
From Jelena: “We met five years ago, when I had just moved to Baltimore at the very beginning of a very vulnerable transitional time in my life. Tommy says the day we met I looked like a deer in headlights and he came over to say hi to try and make me feel less scared. It worked, he was my first friend then- first person in a long time to make me feel like my friendship was worth something. When our paths diverged for a few years, part of me always wondered. When they re-converged, everything in my life went from “mine” to “ours” very quickly. Timber, “my” Great Dane is very much Tommy’s real soulmate….I’m very aware of where I live in the family love ranks and honestly that’s part of why I love Tommy so much. Our life is dog chaos, chicken chaos….life chaos. It’s beautimous and imperfect and that’s all I ever wanted.”
Ever since last fall, Tommy has told me that he and Jelena were going to elope when the time came for them to get married. It was what they had wanted from the jump. I asked him who was going to photograph it back then and he said no one. Which, I knew was bullshit and not allowed (lol). Having worked with me for hundreds of weddings, and being an incredible photographer who thrives on capturing other people’s real moments, Tommy’s wedding needed to be photographed, and photographed well. At their engagement session a couple of months ago Jelena told me that if Jim and I were able to make it down to North Carolina for their wedding, she would love for us to photograph it, especially since the people they loved wouldn’t all be there. And so we were in. We knew it would be special, but I don’t think it was possible to truly know how special it would be.
The ceremony itself was the most beautiful ceremony I’ve been a part of, with lengthy loving speeches from their co-officiants, Neil and Victoria, their best friends. Neil has been a part of Tommy’s life for 11 years and I knew he’d make me teary when he spoke, and I was absolutely right. Victoria was Jel’s first friend when she moved to North Carolina and is basically the willing third wheel to Tommy and Jelena’s relationship (throuple?). Tommy and Jelena’s vows to each other showed that not only are they the perfect fit for each other, but they know 100% what they are getting into. That life isn’t always easy, and the person they are committing to isn’t perfect, and neither are they… but the journey to forever is better knowing that they’ll be together. I love these beautiful weirdos and it was the biggest honor to be able to capture their day with the love and care it deserved. Jim and I both love you both very much. Here are just a few of my favorites <3
Tommy and Jelena’s Elopement