For former University of Miami and NFL quarterback Steve Walsh, many of his greatest football memories and achievements happened on the field. But Walsh made what his arguably his biggest score off the field, at a University of Miami tailgate party on September 4, 2006, where he met Deanna Lederman, his future wife.
The striking pair dated for eight years before getting engaged, an event that went anything as planned for Walsh.
“Steve proposed in a hospital bed when his planned Valentine’s Day proposal went awry,” Deanna says. “We were spending the night in Palm Beach, and after dinner he hid the ring in a small box of chocolates with plans for me to find it next to the bed in the morning. However, Steve suffered a gal bladder attack and ended up in the ER at 3 a.m. After spending the rest of the night in there, Steve was admitted for monitoring. I went back to the hotel to pack up and meet him back at the hospital, almost throwing the box of chocolates away. Later in the day, having not eaten for 15 hours, I got hungry and remembered the box. I opened it and found the ring.”
Though the proposal didn’t quite happen according to plan, Deanna accepted, and the couple began planning their dream wedding.
Deanna, who is the Senior Vice President of Design & Trend at Boston Proper, and Steve, Director of Football at IMG Academy, chose The Breakers in Palm Beach for their ceremony and reception. “We spent a lot of time at The Breakers as members of the Beach Club and really could not imagine getting married anywhere else,” Deanna says.
For their May 1, 2015, wedding on The Breakers’ Ocean Lawn, they decided on a style that Deanna describes as “elegant beach chic,” with a palette of blush, ivory, and gold. The Breakers’ Design Studio team created bouquets and decorative floral embellishments with peonies, roses, orchids, and hydrangea, and a beautiful altar draped in billowy white material that fluttered with the breeze.
At six in the evening, the couple exchanged vows in front of 100 guests, with their kids, ages 22, 19, 17, and 3, comprising the wedding party. They were married by Leo Armbrust, a close friend and advisor to Steve and the team chaplain for the University of Miami Football team when Steve played there, from 1985-1988.
Highlights of the wedding included a Love Letter & Wine Box ceremony. “The box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each of us to the other,” says Deanna. “The letters describe the good qualities we found in one another, the reasons we fell in love, and the reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and we have not seen what the other has written. The box will be opened on a future anniversary.”
Steve says that one of his favorite memories from the day was seeing Deanna walk down the aisle. “The low sun lit Deanna from behind as she walked down the aisle,” he says. “It gave her an angelic appearance and cast beautiful rays around her.”
In between their ceremony and sit-down dinner, the couple treated their guests to a cocktail hour complete with butler-passed small bites, plus rosé and pink Champagne “to continue the blush theme,” Deanna says, adding that the couple’s favorite addition to dinner were butler-passed desserts: miniature root beer floats, milk and white-chocolate-cheesecake lollipops, and warm cookies-and-milk shake “shots” with chocolate straws, plus a make-your-own sundae bar.
Of course, the standout dessert of the evening was the couple’s ivory and gold wedding cake—chocolate chip with white chocolate cheesecake filling—which they gave to guests in individual boxes as parting gifts.
Certainly another gift everyone took home were priceless memories of the couple’s picture-perfect day. “Both in our 40s, we were not looking for an overdone, elaborate wedding,” Deanna says. “We were looking for an intimate setting to have a fun party with our family and close friends who have supported us for so many years.” And under crystal-clear, blue skies on a flawless Florida evening, that’s exactly what they found.
Venue: The Breakers Palm Beach / Décor: Jennifer Herrera, Design Studio at the Breakers / Cake and Catering: The Breakers Palm Beach / Photography: Chris Joriann / Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo / Hair and Makeup: Ivette at Pretty Suite / Save the Date: Anna McClure / Invitations: It’s My Party (custom designed by Arlene Segal Designs)