It didn’t take long for Stephanie Brown to feel confident in her relationship with Benjamin Brown. They had only been dating a couple months, but when Stephanie was invited to present research at Oxford University, she knew she wanted to invite her new beau. They spent the next several months planning their first international trip, which would take them through the Amalfi Coast and Paris before stopping in London for Stephanie’s conference.

In the time leading up to their vacation, Stephanie had asked if they could have a picnic while in Paris, but Benjamin had not shown interest in the idea. However, once they were in the “City of Lights,” he surprised her with a luxurious picnic, complete with Champagne, flowers, and balloons. Still reeling from the unexpected display, Stephanie was shocked when Ben dropped to one knee. “I could not wait to say yes and start planning our next chapter together,” she shares.

To help with the preparations, the couple hired Mary Wright Shah of Diamond Affairs Weddings and Special Events to make their dreams come true. This proved to be a prudent decision when the bride revealed her desire to wed on the front porch of the venue they had already secured – a feat that had never been done before. “I could tell by her facial expression that it would be a daunting task, but her team is known for making the impossible possible. I never doubted her abilities to make our vision come to life,” Stephanie affirms.

With such a grand venue, the bride knew she’d need to find the perfect gown that would not underwhelm. Per her mom’s suggestion, the mother-daughter duo took a girl’s trip to New York City in search of the right dress. “I knew I wanted a Southern ball gown, but there were very few designers that offered the fullness and volume I desired,” explains Stephanie. Feeling defeated after multiple appointments with no luck, it was suggested that they try the flagship Romona Keveža salon. Scrolling through the look book, there was at last a dress that caught Stephanie’s eye. Unfortunately, she was told it was a runway exclusive. Thankfully, the salon was able to work their magic and find a sample for her to try on. With some modifications to make it more appropriate for the Texas heat and a referral to a dress valet to help handle the massive skirt, the bride at last had her fairy-tale gown.

As neither of their families live in Dallas, Stephanie and Ben wanted to celebrate all weekend long, so their nuptials were complete with a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, and Sunday brunch. “I wanted the day to be special for Ben and me, but I also knew the wedding was important to our families,” the bride notes. In addition to the help her parents offered throughout the planning, the father and stepmother of the groom brought in a personal touch to the rehearsal dinner. Both esteemed chefs, they prepared nine different desserts for the event and then gifted the soon-to-be newlyweds with a beautifully made recipe book of the confections enjoyed at the supper.

At last it was time for the main event. “I think seeing Steph walk down the aisle in that beautiful wedding dress in front of our closest friends and family was the greatest moment of my life,” Ben confides. The grandfather of the bride led an opening prayer, and a close friend of the groom served as the preacher, giving the service an intimate feel.

The ceremony florals primarily utilized white phalaenopsis orchids, complementing the traditional Southern style of the front porch. Jackson Durham Events tied the same featured bloom into the reception, while also incorporating pops of color by creating arrangements that paired the orchids with garden and tea roses, hydrangeas, and tulips in shades of blush and champagne.

Well aware that people often think of weddings as being “all about the bride,” Stephanie wanted to make sure that her new husband felt appreciated. She gifted her groom a designer watch, while he in turn, surprised her with a second diamond wedding ring.

However, Stephanie still had a few surprises of her own! In honor of Ben’s favorite cocktail, she organized an Old-Fashioned bar that also displayed a groom’s cake, which replicated the stadium of Ben’s beloved Cleveland Browns. “It was an unforgettable day!” gushes the groom. “I was in awe of my wife’s surprises.”