In this week’s issue of PEOPLE (on stands Friday), the Real Housewives of Dallas star, 51, shares all the exclusive photos and details about her over-the-top April 27 affair — gushing that the day felt like a fairytale.
“I know what Cinderella felt like,” Locken tells PEOPLE. “The whole wedding was perfect. It couldn’t have been better. I’m smart enough to know perfection doesn’t exist, but if anything could attain perfection, that was it.”
“I’m very aware how imperfect Rich and I are; we both came from the land of misfit toys. But together, we were perfect and that day was perfect,” she adds.
The Texas twosome said their “I dos” at the Cathedral of Hope — the world’s largest inclusive church — in front of 400 guests made up of family, friends and some of Locken’s Bravo costars.
All cheered as Locken and Emberlin read their personalized vows in a 2 p.m. ceremony led by their close friend, the Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares Thomas.
“Love was bursting out of every pore of everyone in that church,” Locken says. “I could feel it radiating from the ceiling back down on us. This is what it feels like when an entire town comes out to celebrate. That was real love.”
Pure romance was flowing in the design of the space as well. Wedding planner Steve Kemble draped the Cathedral walls in 120 yards of silver silk fabric by Quest Events, which soared 16 feet in the air. The alter, which Kemble had Dallas-based designer Prashe Shah (of Prashe Décor) finish out, had two enormous 24-foot tall Cherry Blossom trees and 80 candles in various heights and sizes.
Of course, Locken and Emberlin were dressed to the nines for their big day.
She wore a custom white gown by Texas-based designer Nardos Imam of NARDOS Design. Emberlin, 56, also wore a custom outfit by a local craftsman. He was dressed in a black tux by Don Morphy Prive Clothiers.
Both had some bling in their outfits, too. Locken wore $3 million worth of jewelry by Joe Pacetti Precious Jewels — sparkling in diamonds and emeralds (a sentimental nod to the magnolia leaf, the favorite flower of Locken’s late grandmother).
Emberlin had his own sparkle, in $30,000 worth of accessories (including a platinum brooch with an American flag motif of rubies, sapphires and diamonds).
After the ceremony, guests headed to the Prashe Showroom for an over-the-top reception flanked with performers from Bravo Entertainment dressed as neon cowboys, mid-century modern living lamp ladies and disco ninjas.
An aerialist hung from the ceiling riding a cowboy saddle. Another sat atop an oversized epicurean cycle with RHOD on the back. Over by the charcuterie platters (by Spice of Life Catering Dallas), a woman stood in a dress made out of napkins imprinted with the couple’s wedding logo (crafted by GB Design House).
“I didn’t want a traditional, stuffy wedding reception. I wanted a full-on party,” says Locken, who changed into a custom white lace cat suit with a flowing skirt by Esé Azenabor for the reception.
Kemble delivered that and more in the colors of black, silver and gold that Locken requested he use. Once again, Prashe Décor helped dress the space — turning it into a whimsical wonderland with over seventeen chandeliers hanging throughout the venue.
Outside, guests were greeted at the valet drop by the Bubble Tap Champagne Trailer, the first of its kind, a fully renovated vintage camper trailer that has been converted into a mobile bar.
The drinks flowed inside, also, with wine be Hailstone Vineyards, passed tequila shots, and a Stoli vodka bar making customized drinks in disco-ball glasses.
A tower of Sprinkles Cupcakes provided a sweet treat for hungry guests. Others were encouraged to leave words of wisdom for the newlyweds and paste Polaroids of themselves (taken in front of the pink and white flower wall) into a keepsake book.
“Steve Kemble, my wedding planner — he did all of that,” Locken gushes. “Everything you saw, every detail, came from his brain. He did all of that. I’ll never ever ever be able to pay him back for what he did. He’s the sweetest.”
The ten-piece Dallas-based Emerald City Band provided non-stop energy, rocking the house and keeping the dance floor packed all night.
They also composed a first dance song just for Locken and Emberlin. “They know us so well and every lyric of that song reflected back on our relationship,” Locken says. “That’s the whole thing — with every single person who contributed to our wedding, it was like they stood up and said, ‘This is love, and I’m going to put my version of love to show just how much these two people love each other.’ It was all so special.”
Standing tall in the center of the room was a 12-foot-tall, 72″-round champagne cake with buttercream frosting from baker Shane Morgan and his company, Posh Cakes. It featured a sea of cascading flowers and intricate patterns, and was topped with a castle design to symbolize their fairytale marriage.
“This cake is by far the largest wedding cake to ever be served in this state!” Locken jokes. “I think the sheer size not only demonstrates the love that Rich and I have for each other, but also the love that is felt between us and our community.”
On the way out, guests were given gift bags with a variety of treats including an “R&E” candle.
The whole wedding, in total, was worth 4.5 million, Locken says.
This is Locken’s first marriage and Emberlin’s third. (His 20-year-old daughter, Elise, from a previous relationship was at the wedding as well.)
Waiting to get married for the first time was “worth every second,” Locken says. “It was worth waiting to do it right with the right man at the right time in the right place surrounded by the right people.”
“It was just such a happy day,” Locken reflects. “When I said I want to freeze this moment in time cause I knew I would never be happier, I wasn’t kidding. Every cell in my body was vibrating with excitement and joy.
“I’m so lucky,” she adds of Emberlin. “I’m so in love with him. I just realized how genuinely blessed I was to be able to say ‘I do’ to him.”
- For more on LeeAnne Locken and Rich Emberlin’s wedding, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newstands Friday.
Since their big day, Locken and Emberlin have been flying high.
“I really didn’t think it would change our relationship, but it has,” Locken says.
“If anything, it’s made us so gentle and kind to one another,” she continues. “He has woken up every morning and he’s like, ‘How did you feel about being my wife?’ It’s so sweet. And everything we do now, we start tearing up. Just when I think I’m out of tears, I think about him or I read something someone wrote us and I just start crying! There’s just so much love flowing through me right now, I feel like I’m on cloud nine!”
As for the honeymoon, that will have to wait until July, when work commitments die down. “I’ll be worth the wait, just like this day was.” Locken says.