A spotlight beamed on the rear doors of the church as Bishop T.D. Jakes and youngest daughter Sarah Dionne Jakes emerged.
Dressed in a stunning strapless, white gown and escorted by her father, pastor, motivational speaker and author Jakes, Sarah, 19, wed her college sweetheart, Robert Henson, 22, in a ceremony fit for a princess on Saturday, June 21, at The Potter's House in Dallas.
"A lot of people have told us that we're too young, and asked Robert and me, 'Why don't you wait?'" said Sarah, who accepted Robert's proposal on Mother's Day in 2007. "But when you feel like it's right, love one another, and you're ready, why wait?"
Robert agrees: "Everyone likes to say you have your whole life ahead of you, but tomorrow is not promised. I know I love her and we were ready."
The mother of the bride, Serita Jakes, along with family and friends filled the flower-laden pews of Jakes's megachurch. The seven bridesmaids were radiant in chocolate satin dresses. Sarah's maid of honor, big sister Cora, 20, wore a aqua dress, while the groomsmen donned slick tuxedos.
Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California, married the lovebirds, who met a year and a half ago through a mutual friend at their college, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
After walking his baby girl down the aisle, an emotional Jakes prayed over Sarah and Robert. Then, Kelly Price and Micah Stampley sang the inspirational duet "Our Prayer" by Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams.
The enchanted ceremony was followed by a fairy-tale reception at the Jakes's palatial 28-acre estate. Guests, including Tyler Perry, Dr. Phil McGraw, Deion Sanders, Tom Joyner and wife Donna Richardson Joyner, Paula White, Michael Irvin and Emmit Smith, were on hand for the celebration.
The front lawn of Jakes's home was transformed into an enchanted forest replete with fog, mimes, a string quartet playing in a gazebo, and an ice sculpture of a glass slipper.
Arriving in a Just Married-tagged horse-drawn carriage, the newlyweds were in every sense the evening's Cinderella and Prince Charming. "I really can't take credit for any of this," said Sarah, a broadcast journalism major who graduates next May. "This was all my dad's idea. He even picked out my dress!"
Guests were treated to a buffet-style spread and a performance by singer Carl Thomas. But the night's best performance was the newlyweds' first dance. Surrounded by friends and loved ones, Sarah and Robert only had eyes for each other.
"When I'm having a bad day, all Sarah has to do is smile, and everything is okay," said Robert, an athlete and TCU criminal justice major, who will graduate in December.
Added Sarah: "No matter what's going on, he always does something goofy to make me laugh."
Some fairy tales do come true after all.
Photo Credit: Rance Elgin/www.ranceelgin.com