Real Weddings: Leah & Paul

By A. J. Downey | Boston Weddings |

Leah Francona & Paul Michael Rice

January 15, 2011
Old South Church and Boston Public Library, Boston  

TENNESSEE NATIVE MICHAEL RICE
met his future brother-in-law, Nick Francona, while on watch duty one night at Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia. And a few months later, on a trip to Boston to spend Memorial Day with his new friend’s family, Michael met — and fell in love with — his future bride: Nick’s younger sister, Leah. After a year of dating, Michael proposed on the Fourth of July. And then? The first lieutenant was deployed to Africa the very next day.

The couple decided to get married sooner rather than later, planning the wedding in just six months. “My mom was completely organized,” Leah says. “I trusted her judgment with so many decisions.” And despite her father’s affiliation with the Red Sox — Terry Francona manages the team — the weekend was relatively baseball-free.

The couple honeymooned for a few days in Vermont before Michael had to leave again — this time for a year in California and Afghanistan. “It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to your husband, especially after you just get married,” Leah says. “But I cannot tell you how much I appreciate him and the men and women who serve our country.”