Dana and Matt Ware tied the knot at the Biltmore in a fairy tale wedding at the Millennium Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. on April 7, 2007
Dana asked a family friend to give her a classic hairstyle that would work well under her long veil and hold up once the headpiece came off.
“I’ve known her since I was five and she’s always done my hair. I just knew right off the bat that she was going to do it.”
“At first I wanted to wear a tiara in my hair. I ended up using a gorgeous Swarovski crystals broach instead.”
Dana scored her Reem Acra wedding dress early on in the game, when she visited the designer’s bridal shop in New York City. When she saw the bows and detailing in the back, she knew it was the one.
“I knew I wanted an a-line gown and I knew I wanted a ball gown, I really wanted something a little more ‘fairy tale’ and something that would last the test of time. Something I could pass on to my daughter or my niece.”
A traditional guy, Matt asked Dana’s mother if he could marry her daughter before proposing. He purchased the ring from Dana’s family’s jeweler, Nuggets and Karats.
“I loved it because it wasn’t just a stone in the plain band. It has detail in the stand and detail in the prongs that hold the diamond,” the bride explained.
Matt tried a few different styles before deciding to rent a tux from a tiny bridal store in Tustin, Calif.
“That was probably the easiest thing to do,” says Dana. “Nothing looks sexier than a man in a suit.”
Dana wanted Matt to stand out at their wedding, so while the groom’s party wore red vests and bow ties, with white rose boutiniers. Matt’s suit was all black highlighted with a red rose.
Dana’s wedding ring is engraved with an acronym for a phrase Matt used to write in letters that he gave her: “my heart, my soul, my dreams, my love, my everything.”
Dana said “It was love at first sight” when she met her husband. The then-college football player wooed his lady by taking her to breakfast and walking her to class at UCLA, where they both attended. “He’s a real gentleman,” Dana added.
Dana did not use a wedding planner for her wedding with nearly 400 guests. She and her mother relied a lot on her stellar florist who accented the Millennium Biltmore with black magic roses and rose petals, and also brought decorations for the chairs and suggested an L arch instead of a traditional one.
Scattered deep red rose petals accentuated the couple’s fairy-tale-romance style wedding.
“The lighting with the candles and the votives and everything was beautiful. It was everytihng I wanted and more,” Dana gushed.
On the day of their wedding, Dana wrote Matt a letter and gave it along with custom-made diamond cufflinks to her little sister to hand off to him before their nuptials. Baby sis videotaped an emotional Matt as he read the letter from his life partner.
Dana’s favorite color is red. So when the time came for her to choose a color for her bridesmaids’ dresses, she didn’t even have to think about it. Her ladies wore floor-length deep red Vera Wang dresses that “flattered every body” and held white calla lilies to contrast.
The red in the groomsmens’ suits match the bridesmaids’ deep red gowns.
“I never thought I’d meet my soulmate and the man I was going to marry in my first week of college. A lot of people doubted that it would work, but Matt and I were pretty serious from the beginning.”
Wedding guests threw rose petals at the newlyweds as they walked arm in arm down the aisle.
The newlyweds are a portrait of perfection.
Dana saved money when she re-used the flowers on the stairway during the ceremony as centerpieces for the tables during the reception.
“Flowers alone are one of your biggest expenses,” the bride warns.
Matt’s lemon grooms cake featured a helmet from his team, the Arizona Cardinals, in the design.
Dana’s mother found a picture of her wedding cake in a magazine and gave it to their baker, Hansens Cakes, who furthered Dana’s romantic fairy tale theme with dark red roses around the towering treat.
The couple’s first dance was to Brian McKnight’s “Still in Love with You.” The singer has a close place in their hearts as Matt used to make mix CD’s with R&B songs for Dana while he was away training over the summers.
The couple toasts to lasting love.
Both athletes in college, Matt and Dana have always been disciplined about their love for each other.
Dana and Matt have been together for eight years. They dated for six years before making their love official on August 7, 2007.
“I wasn’t nervous on my wedding day because I knew this was the right choice.”