- Rebekah Paul Photography
HighPointe Estates Wedding || Jessica and Markus's Long distance journey to Husband and Wife
Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Their story begins 5000 miles apart....
Jessica lived in Austin working her dream job in ministry. A self proclaimed closeted romantic Jessica dreamed of getting married someday but deep down she struggled believing that she was worthy of love and hesitated letting potential romance in. Meanwhile, Markus had just graduated Seminary school in Germany and was looking for the next thing in life to escape his feelings of lonliness. Struggling with an addiction that he thought would remedy his loneliness, his solution was to break the vicious cycle of both addiction and loneliness by moving away. And yet, neither of them knew how their lives would collide in a few short week.
In July of 2018 arose an urgent need for a team to go to Germany to help teach English. Jessica, made haste seeing as the English camp was less than a month away. She gathering a group from church in which only one person had a passport. Moves were made and money was raised and by some miracle the team was off to teach German students English. On the other side of the Atlantic, Markus, an alumni of the school where the English camp was to be held, decided to help out on a whim.
"We were in an all camp staff meeting. Someone behind me started talking so naturally I turned around to face the person speaking. I was immediately confused because [after being there a week] I had met and befriended all the other staff members and I had literally never seen this person. I remember wondering, 'who's this cute German guy and why [had] he been AWOL up until this point?!'" But even though Jessica hadn't noticed Markus until that point, Markus had taken notice of Jessica early on but proceeded with caution. "I was passing by the dining room at English Camp and saw Jessica sitting at a table talking with some people and my first thought was, 'ohhhhh shoot. She's dangerous!' ...I had never been so blown away by someone in the first moments of seeing them without ever talking to them! Knowing that I needed to focus, I tried avoiding her. I was successful for about 5 days and then I just couldn't stay away longer... I was a goner!"
Later that day the staff put together a vollyball game. Jessica who had only been coerced to join and play saw Markus and asked if he wanted to take her place. He accepted. At dinner that night Markus took the opportunity to thank Jessica for letting him in the game. An opportunity that led into a conversation that went late into the night. "Noticing the beauty of the star-filled night sky in the German countryside, Markus looked at me and said, 'Hey...look up!' We looked at each other and then both turned our heads upwards to the stars. At that exact moment, and I kid you not, a shooting star shot across the night sky... and I couldn't handle it. I [burst] out laughing because it was too perfect and things like that don't happen in real life, right? I am a closet romantic weighed down by my realistic nature... so I wrote it off as a crazy coincidence and a funny story I'd tell people when I got home. I had no idea it was the beginning of a beautiful love story."
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Becoming More Than Friends...
As Markus got to know Jessica more it was clear to him that she had everything he was looking for. However, Jessica, fearful to allow herself to be loved by Markus, was hesitant. "I was so scared to let someone in. When I say that Markus was patient with me, I mean that man deserves a trophy or something! When he first asked me to be his girlfriend, didn't respond for five days. When he first tried to tell me he was falling in love with me, I tried to convince him that he wasn't. When he first said the words 'I love you' I responded with 'Thank you.'"
"When [Jessica] finally began to let her feeling show I was so happy and gained so much confidence in moving forward. But when it came to knowing that she'd be the one that I would marry, it was more than a feeling... it was a decision that I was making." Markus' patience would soon pay off at the end of a day watching the sunset together. "The moment when I finally told him that I loved him was the most joyful and freeing moment. ...I had been holding it in all day and I finally turned to him and softly said. 'I love you'. He grabbed me in his warm and safe embrace for what felt like ages though it was probably just a few seconds. The first thing he said was, 'You know what this means... I'm going to marry you.'"
Relationships require tender care, time and attention but with 5000 miles between the pair, this added a new layer of difficulty from the beginning. Trust and sacrifices were demanded to keep the relationship thriving overseas. Time spent together, something regular relationships don't think twice about, was a task that demanded flexibility with one anothers time. "So many people would say to me, 'I really don't know how you do it.' I would always tell them that when it is the right person, [the] distance is worth it."
In Jessica's words, there is no training manual for planning an international wedding during a global pandemic. With boarders between Europe and America closed this obviously had a huge effect on their original August 2020 wedding. After two postponements the couple began to question when their long sought after wedding would ever take place. That is until they heard about an organization called Love Is Not Tourism that focused on advocating for travel exceptions for engaged and married couples separated by boarders. The rules were that if Markus could get to Mexico (which was legal) and spend 14 days there, he would be able to cross from Mexico into the United States with zero problems. So Markus "suffered" a balmy 14 days in Cabo, Mexico before entering Texas.
Although they found a solution to making their wedding a reality, the other side of that reality meant that none of Markus' family would be able to attend his wedding. "I have an amazing and big family. I am the oldest of 9 and we are all really close. Even though Jessica's friends and family welcomed me in, getting married without any of my family or friends from was really difficult... I just wanted Jessica to be my wife. I would have done anything at that point to marry her."
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Freeze or Shine, the Wedding Will Go On...
February 12, 2021 the day of the notorious once-in-a-century deep freeze of Texas and also Jessica and Markus' long awaited wedding day, Jessica was receiving texts throughout the day from friends letting her know that they would not be able to make it to the wedding due to road conditions. "I just didn't think that this is was how I was supposed to feel on the wedding day- a day with so much anticipation that led up to it." Nonetheless Jessica made the best of it. After all she had something special to look forward to outside of making a covenant with Markus.
"I made the decision years prior that I didn't want to kiss anybody until I was married. I know that seems crazy or extreme to some, but it was just something that I wanted to do. It was a gift that I wanted to give my future husband- knowing that he was the only man I had ever kissed. Markus always respected this which I was so greatful for. So along with everything else that led to the anticipation of our wedding day, this amplified it even more!"
Knowing this I felt honored and slight pressure to be able to capture their first kiss together on their wedding day. In the chapel during a private first look Jessica and Markus shared their first ever kiss together.
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"There was so much that was magical about our wedding day. But there is one moment that stands out. There was this moment in the ceremony where we had two of our dear friends leading worship to my favorite hymn, In Christ Alone. I will never foreget holding my beloved's hand [with] my left hand and lifting my other hand in surrender to the Lord with the sound of all these people who I love singing at the top of their lungs together in praise! The sound filled the room and I will never forget it. I will chrish that moment for the rest of my life."
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But the sweet moments continued to fall upon the evening like the snow outside High Pointe Estate and the sweetest was yet to come! Jessica had a surprise for Markus. She contacted Markus' friends and family and ask them to send in video messages of themselves for Markus to see on his wedding day. After Hillary's (MOH) toast, she diverted everyone's attention to a TV screen that was rolled into the reception hall.
"My bride gave me such a gift and surprised me at the reception with a video of all my siblings and my parents sharing words of encouragement and blessings to us. It made me cry and I was so thankful that she did that for me. And I was kind [of] surprised that she pulled it off without me knowing!"
A Better Person Because of You...
"Through Markus' patience’s and steady pursuit and enduring kindess, he repeatedly pointed me back to the truth of the Bible that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and that God calls me His beloved...After months of patient reminders and long conversations, I began to not only know these things in my head but [began] to truly believe them in my heart."
"Knowing Jessica has made it clear to me that God loves me and gives good gifts. The forgiveness that she showed me when my addiction came to light is something I will never get over. I had a hard time truly enjoying life before I met Jess but seeing the joy that she lives her life with has made me see the joy in life and [helps me to] live as a happier person."
To Have and Hold and Never Let Go...
Jessica: " I'm just so excited to finally be able to live my life with him. Through our long distance dating relationship we’d often talked about how the other person didn’t always feel real because we weren’t as involved in each other’s daily lives. They were a face on a screen. Before, I would just tell Markus about my day. Now, I get to live my days with him by my side and it is the sweetest gift to finally be with the one I love."
Markus: "It has been so clear to me throughout our entire relationship that God has led us together and it is meant to be. Now I’m really excited to see what for. I know already how lucky I am to have her and how we work so well together and bring blessings to each other’s lives, but I can’t wait to see what we will do together and what life has in store for us after all we went through to finally be married. It’s really cool to be married to someone with the same calling that you have... I can‘t wait to do ministry together, to invite people into our home and serve by her side as we support each other in our own giftings and desires."
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, becausse you are hiss dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleaseing aroma to God -Ephesians 5:1-2
Photography & Videography: Rebekah Paul Photography & Juan Jose Films
Venue: High Pointe Estate
Coordinator/Planner: Tonya Hartsfiled
Rentals: High Pointe Estate
Florist: High Pointe Estate
Hair & Makeup Artist: Hannah Zahner Beauty