Wedding of Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke & Matthew Lawrence

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence

Photographed by: Amy & Stuart PhotographyLocation: San Diego, California, United States

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence have their siblings to thank for getting them together, not once, but twice! Cheryl was on tour with Dancing with the Stars along with Joey Lawrence – Matthew’s older brother – who got third place that season and introduced the pair during the tour. Cheryl and Matthew dated for about a year, but ultimately went their separate ways. For almost a decade, they never even ran into each other. Then, Cheryl’s sister told her to text Matthew “Merry Christmas” on a whim, noting that the family had always liked him. Soon after, the romance was rekindled. “Meeting again was like a fairy tale,” muses Cheryl.

After about a year and a half of dating, the sweethearts stayed at a resort in Laguna Beach to celebrate Cheryl’s birthday. As Matthew is usually the laid-back one of the duo, Cheryl was surprised that her beau was pushing for her to get ready quickly. Soon, he led her to a room full of flowers and gave her a birthday card. Cleverly, he wrote in very small print so she would have to hold the card close to her face, limiting her peripheral vision. When she was done reading, she saw Matthew down on one knee with a stunning halo engagement ring, featuring the diamond from the ring that Cheryl’s father, who passed away two months prior, had used to propose to her mother.

Initially, the lovebirds considered getting married in the Philippines. It’s where the mother of the bride hails from, and the stunning beaches are well suited for the groom’s love of the outdoors. However, it was not ideal to have everyone travel, so they elected to host their nuptials closer to home. Since Cheryl did not grow up dreaming about her wedding and she was busy with Dancing with the Stars, a professional planner was a must. “I knew I wanted Mindy Weiss,” the bride says of the famed consultant. Cheryl initially met the planner through Kris Jenner while she was partnered with Rob Kardashian on the show in 2011 and was reintroduced thanks to her matron of honor, Leah Remini.

When looking for venues, there was one thought that the bride had in mind. “I refused to get married in a ballroom because I feel like I was born in one,” she jokes. Though their ultimate choice, the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, certainly has a stunning ballroom, it was the flexibility and openness to new ideas that made the San Diego resort the right fit for Cheryl and Matthew’s big day. “We didn’t want to go too traditional,” the bride confirms. The property had never had a ceremony built over the top of the fountain before, but it became the perfect setting for the vow exchange.

With a lifetime of wearing amazing dresses during her career, Cheryl knew she wanted something that reflected her true personality instead of her dance style. Romona Keveža created an elegant silk crepe trumpet gown with off-the-shoulder cap sleeves, a six-foot-long train, and buttons made from Swarovski crystals down the back, so there was still a little sparkle. Matthew had a similarly classic look designed by Garo Ashikian, who creates the menswear looks on Dancing with the Stars. The groom paired his tuxedo and a white shirt, while the groomsmen – who included Matthew’s brothers Joey and Andy Lawrence as well as Ben Savage, his Boy Meets World costar – paired their tuxedos with black shirts. The bridesmaids and Cheryl’s male attendants were also sharply dressed in ebony ensembles.

Desiring an authentic moment for when they would first see each other as the bride walked down the aisle, the couple decided to forgo a “first look.” They weren’t the only ones feeling emotional at the ceremony: “When I first turned the corner, I saw Andy bawling his eyes out,” Cheryl reveals. She walked arm in arm with her stepdad, and a chair was left empty with a framed photo in memory of her late father. Though both the bride and groom felt nervous about being vulnerable during the vow exchange, it wound up being their favorite part of the day. “It’s the one time that’s just about the two of you,” the bride reminisces.

The celebration continued inside an iridescent tent for the reception. Twinkle lights covered the space, making it appear like a star-filled night sky. Having spent a lot of time on wooden dance floors in her life, Cheryl wanted something different. A circular mirror floor served as the focal point, especially as it reflected the lights from above. “Mindy made my Pinterest wedding come to life!” gushes the bride. “She understood my vision when I didn’t even know it myself.” Accustomed to quick changes, Cheryl switched out one Romona Keveža design for another, donning a lace dress for the reception.

With so many professional dancers in attendance, it’s no surprise that the dance floor was full all night. Yet it was Emmitt Smith, three-time Super Bowl champion and twice Cheryl’s partner on Dancing with the Stars, whose energy stood out. “I didn’t know if he’d be able to make it, and he was the life of the party!” exclaims the bride. Not only did Andy Lawrence and his band perform at the reception, but Cheryl’s sister Nicole also got on stage to sing, which touched the bride. For the after-party, Angelo Pagán – husband of matron of honor Leah Remini – performed with his salsa band.

“Seeing everyone smile and have a great time was the best,” Cheryl reflects of the festivities. With the big day over, it was time to start married life with a magical honeymoon. First, the newlyweds embarked on a safari in Kenya to embrace Matthew’s love of animals, which was followed by a luxurious stay in the Seychelles.