Paul and Leah’s story begins in middle school, where they first met and began dating. Both went their separate ways, but they eventually came back into each other’s lives when they moved back home after college and grad school. Life took an unexpected turn when Paul was diagnosed with brain cancer at 23 years old. Leah came to visit him at the hospital and stuck by his side – and that was when their relationship became serious and they realized they were committed to each other. “Right off the bat, I feel like it was a huge test of our love and our relationship, and how we were going to handle the situation,” Leah said.
Since then, Paul has been through the difficult process of chemotherapy and quarterly scans to make sure the tumor continues to be stabilized. “He’s the strongest guy I know,” Leah said. She continued to support him though those challenges, and Paul knew she was the one – he proposed, and the couple became engaged. However, the financial burden of a wedding was very much on his mind.
Paul found out about The Ultimate’s Wedding Contest from his mom, who saw a story about it on the local news and encouraged him to apply. He thought it’d be a great opportunity and applied, and Leah had no idea!
After being selected as finalists, and finally being chosen as the winning couple, Paul and Leah were shocked – “It took about a week or two to come back down to earth after we had found out that we won this contest. However, once we did come back down, we realized that we had a wedding to plan for this coming summer!” said Paul. His family was ecstatic with the news, and Leah’s parents are thankful for The Ultimate for helping to make their daughter’s dreams become a reality.
With help from Heather, Fawn, and Lucy at The Ultimate, along with The Midlands Group, Paul and Leah hit the road running with only about eight months to plan the wedding of their dreams!
The first step was visiting the venue – Peirce Farm at Witch Hill in Topsfield, MA was chosen as part of the wedding package and has a modern, rustic feel that Paul says they were dreaming of, and it was so perfect that the couple decided to also hold the ceremony for their July wedding at that location.
When it comes to decisions for planning their big day, the couple makes it clear that they are both in this process together. “I know it is cliché to think that the bride has the right to choose everything while the groom just needs to accept it, but Leah and I have always been a team. She does not fit that cliché bride definition because this wedding is about us, together – depending on one another,” Paul said. They’ve also got some amazing women to help every step of the way, with Paul’s mom and aunt, and Leah’s mother and sister Lauren, who is also the Maid of Honor, to support them.
Next up is a trip to NYC on February 12 for Leah to pick her dream dress! She will get the chance to meet Morilee designer Madeline Gardner and choose one of their gorgeous gowns for her big day. Best of all, she’ll bring her mom and sister along for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ever since they got engaged, Leah has been following MoriLee and loves their designs, so picking THE dress from all their stunning options will be a big task, but she can’t wait for the experience – especially since it’ll be her first trip to NYC!
Along with the upcoming trip, the couple was beyond excited to find out they get to go to Disney World for their honeymoon as part of the wedding contest package. It was already on their list of places to go, so it’s one of the aspects of this journey they are really looking forward to.
We’re excited to follow Paul and Leah along on their journey and see it all come together for their magical day!