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See the star's first (of two!) wedding dresses, inspired by Egypt, where she met her husband

By Alex Apatoff
Updated July 06, 2015 07:51 PM
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Three years ago, Vanessa Williams met her now-husband in Egypt, and on their wedding day on Saturday, the star celebrated that fact in a very significant way.

Vanessa Williams wedding dress


Brian Hatton


Rather than stick with one traditional dress, the actress slipped on two different gowns by Carmen Marc Valvo for her big day, both of which paid homage to her love story with her businessman beau, Jim Skrip.

For her first gown, Williams opted for a “very silky and streamlined” skirt and top combination with a band of gold at the waist. “It was magnificent,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I felt like an Egyptian goddess, and that was exactly the theme I was going for.”

Her husband loved the dress as well — though it took him a minute to notice it! “Honestly, when I saw Vanessa walking down the aisle, I didn’t even notice her dress. We locked eyes and I got caught up in the moment, full of happiness and joy,” he tells PEOPLE. “When I finally noticed the dress, it was perfect for Vanessa: sleek, simple and sexy. She then had another surprise for me: she did a quick change into another beautiful gown for the vows ceremony. She was stunning!”

The couple, both 52, held their weekend-long celebration at various venues in Buffalo, New York, where Skrip is from. Williams’s mother is also originally from there, and the city is what the duo initially bonded over.

“He was wearing a Buffalo Sabres shirt, and I walked over to him and said, ‘Are you from Buffalo? My mom’s from Buffalo,’ ” says the actress. “There was an immediate attraction, and after a long, three-hour dinner, we had so much in common. It was obviously meant to be!”

For all the photos and details from Williams’ “perfect” day, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Then tell us: What do you think of the gown?

–Melody Chiu

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