“I knew he was The One when he came home with me for Christmas after just seven months of dating,” says Deborah. “That Christmas day was his first time meeting my parents and extended family, yet it felt like he had been a part of the family forever. It just felt right.”
"Wedding dress shopping can be pretty overwhelming," Deborah admits. "My mother and aunt came shopping with me. I found my dress at the last shop we went to and I chose it because it was just as beautiful as the other dresses I tried on but it was 50-percent off. The shop even threw in the veil and a pair of shoes for free. It was a no brainer."
"My hair is natural so finding a style that would stand up to any type of weather was really important," says Deborah. "I looked at Essence.com and Pinterest to find the perfect style inspiration and brought a picture to my stylist. It wasn’t exactly the look I was going for but it really worked."
We fell for Deborah's bridal jewelry the very minute we first laid eyes on it. That statement necklace is to die for isn't it?
"My makeup was done my Farzana Z makeup," says Deborah. "She is great at what she does."
"My little cousin, Skylar served as our flower girl, and my cousin Aiden and godson Elijah served as our ring bearers," Deb tells us.
"I fell in love with the necklace and Chie Mihara shoes that I purchased from Bhldn.com," Deborah shares. "I know it’s a bit backwards to buy your accessories before buying the dress, but it all worked out."
Creations By Cecilia styled Deborah's lovely natural locks in this classic updo for her big day.
"I really wanted flowers that went with our rustic theme," says Deborah. "I love succulents so I had them incorporated into our bouquets and boutonnieres. Our moms even wore succulent corsages. The bridesmaid bouquets consisted of yellow ranunculus and yellow roses and my bouquet consisted of paper roses, ranunculus and succulents."
Gray and yellow were Deborah and Sam's signature wedding colors and they were the perfect complement for their rustic wedding style.
"He is super silly, thoughtful, intelligent and entrepreneurial," says Deborah. "He loves family and he is a man with vision too."
"The most important thing to Sam and I was that the experience of planning the wedding and the day itself both be as stress-free as possible," says Deborah. "No bridezilla moments!"
Sam wore a bespoke suit by Black Lapel and his groomsmen wore bespoke suits by Indochino. "Sam picked all the suits and I picked the ties," Deb boasts. We love the look. It's perfect for classic manor wedding style.
"He challenges me to be a better person," says Deborah. "He is strong where I am weak. I see in him many of the same qualities that I see in my father who has been an awesome father to me and a loving husband to my mother for over 35 years."
"Deb and I went through a break-up, which was my choice," Sam recalls. "I could not think of anyone but her during our little break and that's when I knew she was The One."
"I chose Deb to be my wife because she was so different than me but in a way that I admired," says Sam.
For her bridesmaid selection, Deb chose two cousins, two close friends from college and two close friends from high school for a total of six lovely ladies. Sam chose Deb's brother Blakely and four close friends to stand by his side. "His best man, Bernard, was with him the day Sam and I met and married my good friend Terri the year before,"says Deb. Aww!
"I have been a bridesmaid more times than I am willing to admit," says Deborah. "So, when I set out to plan my day, I knew exactly what I wanted and what I did not want."
"I love his open mind and his drive," says Deborah. "He sets a goal and doesn’t stop until he achieves it."
Deborah looked stunning in her cathedral-length veil.
"I will always remember when my father walked in the room to walk me down the aisle," says Deborah.
Deborah shed a lot of happy tears on her big day. "I first cried when I put on my dress," she says. "I cried again when my father came into the room. Then I cried again when I first saw Sam as I walked down the aisle and noticed that he was crying too."
One hundred and eighty guests came to watch Deborah and Sam make it official during their beautiful outdoor ceremony.
This custom monogrammed aisle runner was a real attention grabber as the happy bride made her way to her groom at the altar.
Deb's bridesmaids' dresses were designed by the Watters company. "I knew I wanted shorter dresses to go with the outdoor casual feel of the wedding, but I also knew that I didn’t want to pick one dress for everyone," she says. "As a professional bridesmaid, I have so many dresses in my closet that I will never wear again. I really wanted to find a dress for them that could be worn again so I let the girls choose."
"I felt like a winner looking into Deb's eyes," says Sam. "I felt as if I had won a million bucks and it was all mine." The couple exchanged vows in a traditional Christian ceremony."
"We had a cocktail reception around the fountain pool followed by a BBQ dinner and tons of dancing under a tented patio," says Deborah.
"As the bride, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world," gushes Deb. "There were so many people who traveled from different parts of the country and even from different countries to share in our special day. I had such a great time enjoying my husband, friends and family. I could not have asked for a more perfect day."
Deb and Sam held a tented reception party on the grounds immediately following their ceremony.
Deborah and Sam held each other close during their first dance as the deejay played the romantic sounds of Anthony Hamilton's "The Point Of It All."
"I wanted to make sure that our day was personalized," says Deborah. "I wanted it to be our style. That meant that I wanted to personalize the details, which translated to a lot of DIY elements."
"My wedding team decorated D and S initials to place around the venue," says Deborah. "We also found chevron fabric to drape the dessert and gift tables. My creative director brought some vintage items like an old typewriter and old luggage to stage the reception and cocktail areas. She also made a swing with flowers and a sign with our wedding theme, “Because of Love,” to hang over the head table."
Handmade signs kept guests informed on where to find all of the food, fun and drinks.
"Our wedding day was a labor of love," says Deborah. "There were so many special details that were handmade by my family and friends. So many people helped in big and small ways. The blessings in our lives really showed bright that day."
"I really did not want a wedding, I thought that we should just go somewhere and elope,' Sam admits. "Deborah kept telling me, that it would be well worth it and she was so right. I felt so happy to have my friends and family celebrating and having a great time."
Mason jars were carried throughout the evening to keep up a fun, rustic theme.
Deborah and her father cut a rug on her big day and it was a sentimental moment to be remembered.
"We really had a great time at the reception," says Deborah. "We decided to skip most of the traditions like tossing the bouquet and a formal cake cutting, and instead danced the night away. Only our best man and made of honor made speeches, however; one of the most special parts of the reception is when my father surprised me and recited a song that he wrote and that my brother produced 'A Song for my Deborah.' They even surprised me and had the song recorded."
"We honeymooned in France for two weeks," says the bride. "We spent time in Paris and Nice and took a day trip to Monaco. We left for the honeymoon a few days after the wedding."