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Gabrielle Ruiz may play an inconveniently hot barrier to the main character's love interest on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but her real-life love story is much sweeter: She met husband Philip Pisanchyn on Match.com, and before they knew it, they were planning their wedding in St. Martin. And despite the "paradise" vibe, she says, "I still desired the traditional formal experience of a wedding ... so instead of flowy beach hair, I chose a loose bun. I was so lucky to have my wonderful friend and hair stylist Jonathan Sharpless there with me the whole way to style my hair, the bridal party’s hair and be my guest on our special day."
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The star went dress shopping at Palazzio Bridal with her grandmother, sister, mother and aunt while home in Texas for Thanksgiving. "I never thought I was a bride who would choose 'blush' for the color of the wedding dress. But the design, the attention to detail, the overall feel and beauty of this dress just overtook me," she says. "When I walked out of the dressing room in this beautiful dress, I knew it was 'the one.' There was not a dry eye in the room!"
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The star accessorized by the old bridal adage (you know the one). "I knew I wanted a few borrowed things and a few new things," she says. "I borrowed my sister’s earrings that she wore at her wedding: Swarovski tear drop earrings that matched the crystals on my dress perfectly! It was such a blessing. My father and mother gave me my great-grandmother’s handkerchief. They had it embroidered with the date of my wedding - I was so touched. In fact, my mother requested that I pass this hanky down and start a new tradition. My shoes were new. Of course! I picked them because not only did they match the dress perfectly but they were the perfect style for the dancer I am."
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Bling It On
The star's rose-gold ring set (with a brushed metal band for her future husband) were snapped before they headed down the aisle to see each other for the first time. "Philip and I were adamant about not seeing what each other wore until the day of the wedding," she says. "We desired to experience the suspense and surprise of each other at the alter! And it did not disappoint!"
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And despite the surprise element, Gabrielle knew her groom would look sharp. "From the very first time I saw his Match.com profile, I knew Philip was a snazzy dresser. He takes pride in choosing his suits and likes to look nice," she says. "So I had no doubts that he would choose something wonderful for our wedding day! And it was perfect."
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Oh, Happy Day
She couldn't wait to walk down the aisle to see her soon-to-be husband, she says, and he returned the favor with a huge grin. "While we were dating,and falling in love, I noticed that he had this special smile only for me," she says. "That was the smile I saw at the altar. And when I then noticed he was teary eyed, I became very teary myself." (The waterworks continued when her father-in-law officiated: "It made me overwhelmingly happy to be joining their family.")
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Setting the Scene
The couple chose St. Martin, she says, because "my now-husband Philip (so cool saying that!) is from Pennsylvania and I’m from Texas - the wedding was going to be a 'destination' anyway, so why not do it somewhere tropical and special! We felt like vacationing as a family would be wonderful and fell in love with the Bella Casa Villa in St. Martin (and our amazing wedding planner, Jean Carol Hager-Rich!)
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Take a Dip
The couple took full advantage of the gorgeous scenery, but the star says they only had eyes for each other. "He said I looked absolutely stunning," she says. "Any moment he had alone to tell me, he said it again and again."
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Slice of Life
For the reception, the star changed into a dance-floor friendly sheath from BHLDN. "After dinner, I changed into my second look to loosen up a bit and dance a little freer with my friends and family," she says. "I love the lace and the detail of the neckline because I felt like a mermaid!"
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The Happy Couple
Though the night was "a dream," Gabrielle says, she kept a perspective on what's really important. "Not for one second, not even for a moment, forget the real reason why you are planning this big day," she advises brides-to-be. "All that matters on this wedding day is your love for your partner and his or her love for you. The rest is just details!"