Former best friends turned soulmates marry exactly two years on from their first date
Leah, 46, and Steve, 49, were determined to marry within a year of Steve’s romantic Christmas Eve proposal in 2020, when an unassuming chocolate bouquet turned into a Christmas present which took Leah, formerly Shipp, completely by surprise.
‘When Covid struck, we really didn’t think it was going to happen, but we got straight in there and managed to get the date we wanted,’ says Leah.
With what began as an early ceremony at 11.30, the couple married on the two -year anniversary of their first date on November 20, 2021, with a modest 38 guests.
It was an intimate affair to match Steve's poignant proposal and celebrations with close family and friends lasted until 9pm.
‘We decided to get married at the Queens because it’s the most charming and beautiful hotel in Portsmouth, in my opinion,’ says Leah.
Photographer Naomi Lloyd, who was ‘amazing’ on the day and ‘like a family member’, worked out a plans A and B with Leah, who was worried about the possibility of wind and rain during the wedding.
‘I was praying for nice weather the week after there had been a storm but on the day of our wedding I couldn’t have asked for better,’ says Leah. ‘We were really lucky, absolutely everything was perfect’ she adds.
The conditions were so faultless that plan B never saw the light of day, the pair were overjoyed and say the day only got better from there.
‘Staff at the Queen’s said I was the happiest bride they’d ever seen, I practically skipped down the stairs,’ says Leah.
While Steve was suffering from more pre-wedding jitters than his bride-to-be, the one thing they could both agree on was the feeling of nerves that crept up on them as they walked down the aisle when all eyes were on them.
‘I so wish I could go back in time and recapture the ceremony because from the moment you walk in it’s just a blur,’ says Leah.
The couple who met in 2017 at work, where Leah was a customer service manager and Steve a warehouse associate, were friends for two years before they noticed a romantic connection.
‘It wasn’t love at first sight, we were best friends and we thought we might as well see if it was something more,’ says Leah.
After they began dating they ‘didn’t mess about’ jokes Leah and the pair even revisited Meat and Barrel on Palmerston Road, the restaurant they had gone to on their first ever date, on the eve of their wedding night.
The happy couple now live at their home in Baffins and while they eagerly await the chance to steal away to their idyllic Italian Rome getaway, they more than happily settled for a honeymoon in London sightseeing and fine dining.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.