She met her match on a dating web site and had to wait a year to meet him, but that didn’t stop this bride falling for her groom the minute she met him.
Nine years ago, Lee Dodd, 32, struck up a conversation with Zoe Hickey, 25, and from that moment on fate was sealed.
‘When we started talking online Lee was a weapons engineer in the navy,’ says Zoe.
‘He was away on a long trip and we weren’t able to see each other, so we were talking for a year before we met.
‘We couldn’t tell whether or not anything would work out in person, but it was towards the end of the year that we both knew there was definitely something between us.’
The Waterlooville couple spoke on the phone and exchanged messages over Facebook until they met for a walk along Southsea seafront.
‘It went so well,’ Zoe adds.
‘We both felt that instant connection and I knew straight away that I really liked him.’
Six months later, after a few dates and the meeting of each other’s families, Zoe and Lee became an official couple. It was then in December 2013 that Zoe got the best Christmas present she could have ever asked for.
‘Lee proposed to me at my mum and dad’s house on Christmas Day when it was just the two of us,’ says Zoe.
‘I had no idea he was going to do it.’
‘Then we announced it over dinner, it was so lovely.’
‘I felt really satisfied and happy that I’d managed to find someone I genuinely liked, and that I was going to be marrying them.’
The couple married at All Saints Church, Catherington, in the company of 85 of their friends and family members.
Zoe’s maid of honour was her best friend Samantha Wren, who was also a bridesmaid, along with cousin Jessie Moore and Lee’s sisters Amanda and Stephanie Dodd.
Lee’s best man was Craig Hawkins and his ushers were Zoe’s brother Jamie Hickey and her cousin Tony Shephard.
The reception, which saw the couple joined by more of their loved ones, was held at The Langstone Hotel on Hayling Island.
Zoe says: ‘I was really nervous beforehand, but the day was perfect.’
‘We both say there’s no words for us to describe how amazing it was.
‘This is something Lee has always wanted and ever since I met him I envisioned I would marry him.
‘I feel honoured to be Lee’s wife.’
The newlyweds are settled in their own house together and are saving their honeymoon trip for next year, when they will travel to Thailand.
Zoe adds: ‘Our next goal in life is to have a family.
‘I’m very lucky to have Lee, because he’s loyal and a hard worker.
‘We’re so grateful to our parents and to everyone else for making our day so wonderful.’