Sharon and El

Sharon and El
Thousands of couples from all over the country wrote us wanting a shot at this once-in-a-lifetime fantasy wedding. After producers spent weeks deciding on the finalists, our panel of judges and the studio audience weighed in—Sharon and El stole our hearts!

El: When I found this woman, I found a gift that was from God that I just get to unwrap every day. It's like, every day that we're together, I don't know what to say. I'm going to cry.

Sharon: I want to spend the rest of my life with El, because we were born to meet. We are meant to be together. … Never in a million years I thought I'd have this fantasy of getting married. It's amazing. I can't believe we're going to be on Oprah. I can't believe she's throwing our wedding. Dreams really do come true!
Enchanted garden tabletop

Choosing Table Settings
In order to make Sharon and El's fantasy wedding a reality, we enlisted the man with the ultimate wedding plan—Mr. Colin Cowie! With six months to plan the wedding, Colin was ready to dive into the details with our couple. Their first stop? Choosing the tables. After three gorgeous choices, Sharon and El decided on the table style that Colin titled "Autumnal Secret Garden."

Willow branch centerpieces are adorned with orchid blossoms that were flown in from Amsterdam by Mark's Garden. The linens are copper-embossed burnt avit with hand-beaded trim by Resource One. Unique Tabletops provided glistening glasses and china. Coordinating menu cards and placecards, created by Ellen Weldon Designs, sit with each placesetting.
Sharon in her Vera Wang dress

Vera Wang dress
Legendary designer Vera Wang creates only five completely custom haute couture wedding gowns a year and, believe it or not, our very lucky bride got to choose one of them! "It feels like a dream come true," Sharon says.

Sharon chose a dream of a dress. It took nearly six months and nearly 500 hours to hand stitch every single inch—18 yards of silk duchesse satin! Sharon also wore plantinum and diamond chandelier earrings from Vera Wang's new line of fine jewelry. In her hair are stunning diamond and platinum broaches from Neil Lane Jewelers.

But don't forget our handsome groom! Colin flew El to New York to visit Ermenegildo Zegna, one of the most exclusive suit makers in the world. Through their made-to-measure service, a custom one-of-a-kind tuxedo is created just for El.

"I think Sharon is going to be so elated when she sees me in this tux she's probably going to have a tear or two in her eye," El says.
Rehearsal dinner with Kodak Digital EasyShare Cameras

Kodak Digital EasyShare Cameras
Sharon and El's fabulous rehearsal dinner is held at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood—a celebration filled with plenty of Kodak moments with friends and family.

As a surprise, Colin presents all of the guests with Kodak Digital EasyShare cameras, a great party favor for Sharon and El's picture-perfect night!

See some of the shots their wedding guests took with their cameras!
Colin Cowie's wedding reception

The Finishing Touches
Just a few hours before the wedding, Colin and his team put the finishing touches on this fantasy of all fantasy weddings! With the help of Regal Rents, Angel City Designs and Resource One, Colin's team of nearly 200 specialists have built a fantasy wedding setting in just 36 hours. And now it's getting close to showtime.

The ceremony will be set under a canopy of blooms—5,000 roses were flown in from South America by Mark's Garden. The bridal path was lined with garden hook lanterns wrapped with moss and orchids.

When the celebration moves to the reception, Sharon and El, along with their guests, will dine under an enchanted garden—a shining chandelier from Images by Lighting hangs above the entrance, and 2,000 yards of amber satin and rust chiffon were draped to line the ceiling and walls. Roses suspend on strings from the ceiling to appear like they are just floating in air. Just beautiful!

But the fun won't end there—Colin transformed the Bel Air banquet room into a nightclub!
Sharon and El get ready for ceremony

Getting Ready
At different ends of the hotel, Sharon and El get ready for their big day. While El and his groomsmen try to relax, our favorite beauty team prepares the bridal party. Ken Pavés leads the team of hairstylists and Joanna Schlip oversees the makeup. But how are Sharon and El's nerves holding up?

Sharon: I'm excited, everyone here is wonderful and I can't wait. … I'm not nervous, I'm cool as a cucumber.

El, on the other hand, is a little teary eyed!

El: I can't wait to see her. I know she's going to look beautiful. … I'm so grateful, I'm so grateful for everything.
Blue Nile's platinum and diamond wedding bands

Wedding Rings
Meanwhile, the wedding rings are safely tucked away for the wedding ceremony!

They are the symbol of eternal love, and these stunning platinum and diamond bands from Blue Nile capture Sharon and El's devotion perfectly!
Sharon and El exchange vows

The Ceremony
As a magnificent string quartet serenades the honored guests, the breathtaking stage is set for this ultimate celebration of love. Sharon's gorgeous bridesmaids, wearing custom Vera Wang dresses, are escorted by groomsmen in elegant Zegna tuxedos. As an emotional El looks on, his bride, Sharon, makes her grand entrance on the arm of her brother.

You could actually feel the love when Sharon and El said their own vows to each other.

Sharon: I just wanted this day to be everything that our hearts desire. This gift is so precious, and I wanted the world to see that we'll be filled with a life of happiness, joy and togetherness.

El: Sharon, I only hope that this day will always be remembered as a day of grace, goodness and mercy that God has given unto the earth and shines through you all my life.
El's and Sharon's mothers

Personalizing the Ceremony
Sharon and El incorporate different cultural elements to really make the ceremony their own. First, they cleanse their hands with orchid water as a symbol of purification. Next the couple honors the memory of their departed loved ones by ringing a bell.

Both Sharon's and El's mothers look stunning in their Carmen Marc Valvo dresses, provided by Neiman Marcus. Sharon and El kneel in front of each other's mother and make vows to them.

"I want to thank you for this wonderful gift of a man that you raised," Sharon tells El's mother. "He is kind, generous, understanding, has integrity and holds his head high, and I thank you for that."

"I want to thank you for being the vessel the caregiver, the nurturer of the blessed gift you've given to me," El tells Sharon's mother. " I promise you, mama, from this day forward I will love and protect, honor, and cherish the woman that you've given to me."

And after exchanging their vows and rings, Sharon and El join their life together in a cultural tradition hundreds of years old—jumping the broom!
Sharon and El at their wedding reception

On Their Reunion
After they say "I do," it's time for the new Mr. and Mrs. Sanders to join their friends and family in the extravagant dinner tent Colin and his team designed!

The atmosphere is exquisite. Colin's elegant candlelit enchanted garden sparkles with romance as the couple's family and friends welcome the newlyweds. After Colin himself introduces the newlywed couple, the fairytale celebration begins with a fabulous feast. Fifteen chefs spent a week preparing this once-in-a-lifetime four-course banquet! The final course included custom-created chocolate truffles and signature beignets by Vosges Haut Chocolate. Delicious!

Later, El and Sharon make the ceremonial slice into their breathtaking—and delicious—cake, created by Sam Godfrey of Perfect Endings. The couple is beaming, and share a few words with their guests.

El: I just don't know what else to say but ain't God good? Ain't He good, you all?

Sharon: And we thank you all for being here and sharing this with us, because this is something we've been wanting for a long time and we didn't know how we were gonna do it. But Oprah made a way.

Oprah: I really do consider it an honor and a privilege as a human being living on the planet at this time to be able to witness such magnificent love.
Jazz musician Chris Botti performs

Chris Botti Performs
But the surprises aren't over yet! To take the evening to another level, Oprah invited one of her favorite new musicians to perform for Sharon and El!

Only a jazz master like Chris Botti could bring this evening to such a romantic and glorious high note. He performed "Someone to Watch Over Me," from his CD When I Fall in Love.
Wedding guests dance

A Dance Party
They've walked down the aisle, they've said "I do," they've cut the cake—but the night is still young!

The fantasy continues for Sharon and El with a rock 'n' roll dance party, in their own private nightclub! This black and red inferno of fun has everything custom built—furniture and a crowning ball of 2,500 fire-red carnations—and of course top-shelf champagne by Perrier Jouet! Soulville, one of Oprah's favorite wedding bands, played their hearts out as the wedding guests boogied on the dance floor!
Shania Twain performs

Shania Twain Performs
Just when El and Sharon think their dream day is complete, there is one final, spectacular surprise—flying in from Nashville to sing one song for the newlyweds, it's Shania Twain!

Shania performs her Grammy award-winning song, "You're Still the One," for the couple. "I just want to say I'm honored to sit here and sing this song for you guys, El and Sharon," Shania says.

It's Sharon's favorite song, and she sings every word along with Shania!

A Dream Honeymoon
You cannot have a dream wedding without sending the newlyweds on the ultimate honeymoon! Our friends at Abercrombie & Kent will fly the newlyweds first class to their choice of a private mansion anywhere on the globe! Each exclusive manor is fully staffed and completely qualified as a fantasy honeymoon resort.

And where did Sharon and El decide to spend 10 glorious days? On the white sand beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico!
Oprah and Colin Cowie toast the newlyweds

A Toast to the Newlyweds!
"A toast to you, Sharon and El," Oprah says. "Toast to you!"

And thank you to Colin Cowie, the visionary behind the fairytale wedding, and his entire team, led by Jodi Blum-Cohen!

Get more information on all the people and companies that participated in the show.