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Radio host and author Shirley Strawberry celebrated her wedding to entrepreneur Ernesto Williams with a black and white Atlanta affair planned by Tony Conway.
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The duo wed at The Estate, an Atlanta mansion. “It was the perfect day,” she says.
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The bride bundles up with her bridesmaid for the January nuptials.
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Three weeks before the wedding, Shirley began looking for her dress and picked this beauty at the second Atlanta boutique she visited.
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The bride’s something blue was a garter belt gifted by a friend.
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Shirley met her match after deciding to put more energy into her personal live and happiness. "I wanted a relationship, but made no room in my life for a man," she recalls. "I had faith that God was going to send me a man, but what was I doing? You can't go home every weekend and just sit there. You have to put yourself in the game."
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Shirley purchased her never-used white satin shoes more than ten years ago when her first marriage was ending. "I thought, I'm just going to buy these shoes for my next wedding," she recalls. Her bridesmaid Tracci Johnson added bling to her wedding shoes that had been sitting in a box for over a decade.
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"When you make room for love, you discover you have more than enough space," she says.
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What’s black, white and cute all over? The flower girls of course!
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On their wedding Ernesto gave his bride a new necklace she wore that day.
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The couple met when a mutual friend introduced them at Ernesto’s concierge business. The friend made a hasty departure leaving the duo to quickly connect. He asked her on a formal date the same day.
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Ernesto proposed live on the air of the Steve Harvey Morning Show with help from Shirley’s daughter. “I was so surprised and happy!” she says.
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"What attracted me to Shirley was her positive energy," he says. "I had to humble myself as a man to allow God to speak to me through this incredible woman."
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Ernesto and his groomsmen show off their southern style.
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Strawberry was up front to Ernesto that she wasn't in the market just to be a girlfriend. "There was a time I would never have said that and been afraid to say how I feel," she says. "Men say what they want all the time, so as women, we have to step up and say what we want. You just might get it."
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The flower girls are all smiles as the bride makes her entrance.
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“All this pressure single women have on ourselves we don't even have to have. We can put some energy, time and effort into being happy with ourselves and in a great relationship with a great guy.”
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Strawberry introduced Ernesto to her daughter and maid of honor Sheridyn, a few months into their relationship. "She loved him instantly," the mother recalls.
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Steve Harvey flew in from taping his daytime talk show in Chicago to escort Shirley down the aisle. “He's like my big brother and my uncle,” she says. “I've learned so much from him.”
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Steve Harvey Radio Show and ESSENCE Festival host Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles read 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 during the ceremony.
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“When I saw my beautiful bride coming through the doors I was so honored to be the man of her life,” Ernesto says.
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“I was walking so fast,” Shirley remembers of her walk down the aisle. “Steve was talking to me all the way down. ‘Don't walk so fast, Shirley. Take in the moment.’”
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The newlyweds exchanged rings made by Shirley’s friend Atlanta jeweler Tai parker.
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The couple bounded through people watching and talking in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.
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Her first impression: “He was so easy to talk to. He was just the perfect southern gentleman.”
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“I'm grateful that everything went off without a hitch, and it turned out to be a beautiful ceremony. Everyone had fun,” she says.
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Everybody in! The newlyweds pose with their bridal party. Shirley asked her bridesmaids to pick out their own black gowns.
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Her message to single ladies: “God loves us all the same. What's for you is for you, and it's coming.”
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The black and white theme flowed throughout the Friday night affair.
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Kem serenaded the newlyweds with "Share My Life" for their first dance.
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“I asked Kem to also sing 'Nobody,.' That’s our favorite song and Ernesto told me whenever he hears that song, he thinks of me.”
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“I'm working to be an even better wife to my second husband with the lessons that I've learned from the mistakes that I made.”
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“Talk to God. Inquire of him what it is that he will have you do. Put him first in your life,” Shirley says.
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Shirley passes on her bouquet and blessings to the single ladies.
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The couple, with Strawberry's cousin, celebrated Ernesto’s 50th birthday on their wedding day.
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