Former Miss America Winner Deidre Downs Gunn Marries Girlfriend in Romantic Southern Wedding
The star's favorite moment? The emotional vows.
Here come the brides!
Former Miss America winner Deidre Downs Gunn, who won the title in 2005, tied the knot with attorney and writer Abbott Jones on Saturday in a romantic ceremony in Birmingham, Alabama-and PEOPLE has the exclusive photos of their wedding
The theme of the couple's ceremony, which was held at the Birmingham Museum of Art, was modern Southern romance, and Downs Gunn, 37, exclusively tells PEOPLE that the most meaningful part of their happy day came when it was time for the pair to exchange vows.
"Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me," explains Downs Gunn, who now works as an obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Acknowledging Downs Gunn's past and current career accomplishments, the couple celebrated their union using the wedding hashtag "DrandMrsAmerica."
Befitting the day's romantic theme, both the ceremony and the reception-which were planned by celebrated Southern wedding planners at Invision Events and captured by Kelli & Daniel Taylor Photography-were filled with white fabric, neutral pastel flowers and plenty of candlelight.
"I feel overjoyed to have found someone to share life's adventures," Downs Gunn tells PEOPLE. "The wedding was beautiful and special, but it was really just the beginning of our life together. I'm so lucky to have a wife who fills even small, everyday moments with great joy."
Also present for the pair's special day was Downs Gunn's 8-year-old son, who not only gave his mother away but acted as her best man.
After the pair said "I do," the wedding's 200 guests dined on some of the couple's favorite Southern foods, including mini chicken and waffles, fried okra, fried green tomatoes and buttermilk biscuits.
Sharing the story of how they first met, Downs Gunn explains that it didn't take long after the pair connected online in February 2017 for her to know that Jones was the one.
Downs Gunn says she knew she was in love "the minute" she saw Abbott when the pair decided to meet up for drinks and sushi, and that by dinner, Abbot felt the same way.
After bonding over their shared love of travel, great Champagne, literature, Harry Potter, and music, Downs Gunn proposed on Christmas, after the pair had finished watching Jones' favorite Dr. Who Christmas special.
The romantic proposal included a video Downs Gunn made that highlighted some of the most special moments of their relationship. After showing the special project, she got down on one knee and presented her wife-to-be with an engagement ring.
In a touching display of affection, Jones then put together a proposal of her own for the former Miss America winner after first asking Downs Gunn's son for his approval. He replied by saying it was "cool."
Since both Downs Gunn and her son love Legos, Jones proposed by using the popular toy to recreate the couple's first date, making sure to include a Lego ring box and two figurines-a brunette and a redhead-of the happy couple.
To celebrate their engagement over New Year's, the pair took a holiday trip to England and Scotland with their family.
"We both want to live our intention, chase our passions and do good in the world," Jones tells PEOPLE. "Deidre is more pure of heart and sensible. I'm more the risk taker, so we balance each other out."