Leah immediately knew that Lee was someone she wanted to be friends with when she met him while working in the restaurant at Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa. The friendship grew through mutual support and in time blossomed into a relationship.
The couple went to Nerja in Spain on holiday with best friends Riley and Ilona in September 2019 and while visiting The Balcon De Europa, which looks out onto the Med, Lee popped the question. “I had an inkling it might happen, but I was still overwhelmed when it did and I didn’t answer him for a really long time!” Leah remembers.
The venue search was on when they returned to the UK and the pair visited several before they discovered Nettlestead Place. "We knew it was the right place for us, everything about it is stunning.
When we saw its undercroft, we knew we'd be able to get the look and feel we wanted," Leah explains. Here, the bride shares her treasured memories of the big day as well as the preparations...
There are plenty of flower names in Leah's family – on her mum's side alone there's Violet, Rose and Iris. Plus, her two flowergirls were also aptly named – one Violet and the other with the middle name Rose. So, in honour of these lovely ladies Leah's bouquet featured roses and ivy, while the bridesmaids' and flowergirls' contained roses and eucalyptus. The idea was for little Violet to have her namesake blooms in her bouquet, but sadly there weren't any to be found.
The buttonholes too were all mindfully created: the best man and ushers had eucalyptus to match the bridesmaids', and the dads wore gypsophila to complement the flowergirls. Meanwhile, Lee's featured a rose, gypsophila and ivy to mirror Leah's bouquet
Continuing the flower theme, Leah's maiden name is Poppy, so they chose poppy seeds as their wedding favours, which were gifted in little hessian bags to suit their rustic theme.
With the idea of featuring everything they loved without deviating from the rustic aesthetic, the place names were cut from wood in the Disney font; while the tables were all named after the couple's favourite Marvel characters.
The retro comic-book versions were printed on to parchment and framed before Leah's mum calligraphed the names.
The centrepieces were made up of gin and whisky bottles filled with faux flowers, mainly pink peonies and gypsophila.
Fairylights were added for a touch of extra magic.
Faux ivy was wrapped around the pillars in the undercroft and rose gold tea light holders were placed around their bases.
The latter were also used to decorate the tables along with hessian runners.
Since Leah was staying nearby, she didn't need transport. However, the gents were all getting ready at home, so a Buick was booked for the ushers and Lee arrived in style in a Mustang, which his bride booked as a surprise.
"We had canapés, which tasted amazing," Leah tells us. These were followed by a three-course wedding breakfast started off with goat's cheese and beetroot parfait. The main course was braised beef, with chocolate mousse for dessert.
The couple and their guests enjoyed tapas in the evening and they were also treated to a sweet table and doughnut wall.
The three-tier big-day bake was simply iced and decorated with the same roses as Leah's bouquet.
"We didn't want anything too over the top and this tied in with our rustic vibe.
Lee has worked for Disney for eight years, so as a nod they had black and white steamboat Minnie and Mickey Lego minifigures as further decoration.
Shortly after she became engaged, Leah visited a wedding fair with her mum and friend Ilona.
She saw a gown on a mannequin, and it was love at first sight. "This is the dress I want," she told them.
A month later she went to try it on at Wedding World in Folkestone and despite trying on plenty of other dresses, still knew this was the one .
She paired the gown with Sophia Webster shoes with "I do" on the soles, but changed into a pair of white Converse with rose gold stitching for the evening.
The bride accessorised with mum Karen's garter and silver earrings, along with a diamond necklace Karen had bought for her daughter to wear on her wedding day and a rose gold and diamante hair piece she'd made for her.
Lee was dressed in a three-piece Marc Darcy grey check suit with pink lining. He paired this with Ted Baker brogues with the words "game over" on the soles.
The groom accessorised with cufflinks featuring the fingerprints of his grandad and a necklace bearing his mum's fingerprint. He also wore a pin that Leah bought him featuring a black and white picture of his mum on her wedding day and one of his grandad from his.
The groomsmen all wore three-piece grey check suits too, with rose gold tie and pocket square to match the groom's. The bridesmaids looked beautiful in their rose gold multiway dresses.
The couple were bowled over by their live band, who entertained guests throughout the evening.
"They were amazing, such great music," Leah says.
They even let one of the couple's friends take the mic and join them for a song!
Leah says: "I felt very nervous at the start of the day and extremely overwhelmed, but I did enjoy it. It was so special and amazing to see so many people we love all together. Lee seemed to take it all in his stride and he had so much fun too.
The newlyweds opted to have smoke bomb pictures taken, which they thoroughly enjoyed, as well as the sparkler photos they did at the end of the night.
"I was adamant I wasn't going to have anything to do in the few weeks leading up to the wedding and I was going to be all set and ready to go, so that I'd be able to chill. That did turn out to be unrealistic though, so any couple should be prepared to have things to do even the day before.
Also, brace yourselves for people to pull out last minute. You hope it doesn't happen, but it does," Leah says.
The bride continues, "Make sure you have one day that's just for you and have a pamper. My maid-of-honour took me for a massage the week before and it was lovely."