As she turned on the ignition of her car with the intent of heading to her aunt’s place, Justice Stamper had absolutely no idea of the drama that lay ahead. Just three weeks before that, she’d made one of the biggest commitments of her life, but the 20-year-old was about to forget it all, in a Tennessee twist-up of burnt rubber, fumes and metal she never saw coming…
Long before that fateful day, Justice was lucky in love, having met her beloved Jeremy when the two were just kids. Indeed, while many people wait forever for their soul mates, she found hers at the tender age of ten in Sunday school. But although the childhood sweethearts grew up side by side, they probably never guessed that one day romance would blossom between them.
During those school days, the pair got to know each other as friends. But, after puberty hit, it wasn’t long before love took hold. And these feelings would go on to change the course of both of their lives.
While Jeremy kept quiet for some time, he always carried a flame for Justice. Still, the two didn’t start getting closer until they were a little older: it wasn’t actually until high school that things moved from platonic to romantic. Luckily, though, they did, and the fated lovers started to date.
Of course, after a few years together, the couple decided that they were ready to take things to the next level. Little time passed before Justice and Jeremy were using the “m” word and organizing their very own idyllic nuptials. Everything was going right as rain, like a classic boy-meets-girl love story – or so it would seem.
Like a modern-day Romeo, Jeremy decided to ask Justice to marry him in the most public of ways – ensuring she would be surrounded by people she cared about. That’s why, in 2012 – before many churchgoers at their home town congregation in Marion, Virginia – he popped the all-important question!
Jeremy wanted to make sure that the event was as romantic as possible for his cherished wife-to-be Justice. That meant creating a quirky way to ask her to spend the rest of her life with him – and was why he devised a sneaky plan for hiding the ring in plain sight.
Jeremy nestled the wedding ring in a bottle top – but while the gesture was sentimental, it was not without the odd blunder. “He taped the ring underneath a bottle cap to hide it, and he was so nervous that he just gave me the entire bottle. It was so cute and so special,” Justice would go on to tell People in October 2016.
Of course, she said yes. Then the date was set, the flowers ordered and the guests invited; on August 1, 2014, Jeremy and Justice were to make things oh-so-official in their hometown. And the beautiful and blissful event would be festooned with sunflowers. This was a day everyone would remember – well, perhaps not quite everyone, as it turned out…
The couple chose Virginia’s stunningly scenic Hungry Mother State Park as the venue for their special day – a day to share with a select group. As such, the wedding was an intimate affair, with just 75 of the couple’s friends and family members coming together to witness the romance of it all.
And while many people often fret about their wedding day, the Stampers were lucky, as their entire event went off without a hitch. “Our first wedding was beautiful and perfect,” Jeremy later disclosed to People.
After their vows were exchanged and the food was eaten, the happy newlyweds dashed off to enjoy their honeymoon in the Great Smoky Mountains – a looming expanse located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. “We were at the top of the world, newlyweds and our whole lives ahead of us,” Jeremy later wrote of the experience.
Unfortunately, while the two of them enjoyed the early days of wedded bliss, there was something horrific heading their way. It was just 19 days after the happy occasion, in fact, that their lucky streak came to a screeching halt.
It was a short enough journey Justice set out on that critical day, heading virtually down the lane to go see her aunt in Bristol, Tennessee. She got into the left lane to make a turn – but from out of nowhere, another car going 50 mph rammed into hers, stopping the new bride dead in her tracks.
The rear-end crash was a close call for Justice, and although she lived to tell the tale, that was by no means the end of her problems. “She was nearly killed in the impact, but by the grace of God she survived,” explained Jeremy, who described her injuries as “endless.” It would take time to rebuild her strength and start to heal but, even then, things weren’t exactly back to normal.
The effects of the crash changed Justice in unimaginable ways. There were impediments to her talking, and she even suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Perhaps worst of all, though, over a month into her recovery she had to tell her loving partner Jeremy the truth: she had no memory of the day they were married – or the month just before it.
Revealing to her husband that she’d forgotten the most important day of their lives was anything but easy. “She said ‘I don’t want you to be mad… but I don’t remember the wedding,’” Jeremy has recalled.
It was in that moment that he knew what he had to do, and it was a whopper of a gesture: Jeremy would set out to make a once-in-a-lifetime occasion twice in a lifetime by recreating the ceremony for his dear wife. “I was heartbroken and instantly said I would do it all again for her,” Jeremy told TODAY in August 2015. After that, the two of them began making arrangements for yet another wedding.
Dubbing the event “The Stamper Wedding Round 2,” the couple got to work re-planning every aspect of their first wedding. They even opted to go with the sunflowers again! What’s more, they had the brilliant idea of holding the event on the first anniversary of their original wedding.
As we all know, getting hitched can be pricey. But, with a little help from a GoFundMe page, and their local community, the two of them got more than $10,000 in donations – along with gratis services, like hair styling and photography, all of which helped them make the magic happen again. In August 2015, then, the Stampers celebrated their second wedding day – the one that Justice would hold in her memory for the rest of her life. It just goes to show that when love is real, nothing – not even memory loss – can stand in its way, because you never forget your first and forever love.