Love at Last

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Love at Last

By Paula Deen

The Deen family just keeps on growin’. No, we don’t have another grandbaby on the way—yet—but this news is every bit as wonderful and just as miraculous: Bobby’s a married man.

My youngest son has been a bachelor for so long, I started thinking he was gonna make a career out of being single. Then, completely out of the blue, he told me that he had met “the one.”

“The one what?” I ask stupidly.

“The woman I’m going to marry.”

Once I picked my jaw up off the ground, I hugged him with everything I had (and said a silent prayer of thanks to the good Lord). This was something I thought would never happen—and I couldn’t be happier that it has.

Jack and I holding hands at the ceremony.

Heavy Lifting
Bobby met Claudia at the gym a couple of years back, which shouldn’t surprise me because next to cooking, working out is Bobby’s favorite pastime. She was living here in Savannah and working on her master’s degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Once she graduated, Claudia moved to Chicago to work as a producer. She and Bobby eventually reconnected over social media and then he fell. Hard.

Claudia’s originally from Venezuela and she’s as cute as a bug’s ear. I’m not surprised she caught Bobby’s attention; she’s really outgoing, down-to-earth and comes from a close-knit family—qualities us Deens hold in high regard. I wonder how you could not love somebody who loves your child. But Claudia is easy to love. 

I told Bobby that I’d waited so long for this that I was gonna throw him a wedding like he’d never imagined.

This proud mama couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed!

“I’m only gonna do this once, Mama,” he said to me, “and I want to do it right.”

For Bobby, “right” meant something small and personalized with only his closest friends and family. He’s always been such a private person—which isn’t easy in this business—but when he knows what he wants, there’s no changing Bobby’s mind.

There’s a sweet couple exchanging vows.

Where South Meets South
Bobby and Claudia agreed to an indoor/outdoor wedding here at the house on July 13th and then, in March, we’ll celebrate a second religious ceremony in Panama, where Claudia’s family now lives. My assistant Brandon Branch was in full wedding mode as the official planner, and boy did he pull off a beautiful event.

In a bilingual ceremony in front of 75 guests, Bobby and Claudia exchanged their vows. Then the party really started.

Epting Events from Athens, Ga., catered the event, developing a menu that combined Bobby and Claudia’s respective cultures (think mac ’n’ cheese and empanadas) and their favorite: sushi.  The gorgeous reception buffet included beef tenderloin, roast chicken, potato and leek pie, heirloom tomato salad and more.  They even set up a praline station by the pool where the gooey sweet candy was churning in a big copper kettle.  At the end of the night, guests were treated to meatloaf sliders and a chocolate Brule with sea salt. Nobody went hungry.

The moment we all waited for – the kiss!

A Refreshing Start
But boy were we hot. I don’t know if it was the heat, the cocktails, or the sheer joy in seeing his little brother get married, but Jamie suddenly dove into the pool clothes and all. About 10 more people joined him. I was worried Claudia’s family might wonder what she’d gotten herself into, but they were laughing and dancing right along with us until about one in the morning.

Finally! The whole family!

Life doesn’t always turn out as we plan it, y’all. I never imagined that it would take Bobby 43 years to find the right woman, and I certainly didn’t think it would be possible to host such a beautiful wedding right in my backyard. But plans are overrated. As it turns out, Bobby and Claudia’s wedding came at the perfect time—bringin’ our summer some joy and love, which was so appreciated by us all.

Photography courtesy of Christine Hall.


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Reader Comments:


Loved the wedding pictures. Paula have missed your shows so much. Did I read somewhere that you have a new show coming up? I hope so. If you do, what is the name of it and what network will it be on? Can't wait. God bless you and your "growing" family. smile Congratulations to Bobby and Claudia.

By Glenda and Marion Motter on February 25, 2014


So wonderful to see Bobby and Claudia's wedding pictures. I wish them nothing but joy. I miss you on TV and have not watched Food Network since that stupid day. God bless you all.

By SUSAN ZINGLEMAN on February 24, 2014


Congratulations Bobby, Claudia, may God Bless you both with a long life of Love & Happiness. Always Keep God first in your marriage, and then each other, and your marriage will stay strong. Paula, i miss you on TV, and hope to see you back soon. If you ever just want to hang out and just cook, and have fun , its always been a dream of mine to do that with you, take care, and may God bless all of your family, XoXo, Jan

By Jan Twellman on February 07, 2014


Congrats to Bobby and Claudia. You both look so in love and happy. So does Paula and that makes me happy.

By Debby Somerhalder on January 31, 2014


Paula, I was wondering when I bake your Double Rum Pound Cake, how I can keep it from falling on the sides and looking like it has two layers around the edges when I take it out of the pan. Help, please!

By Roger Lucas on January 30, 2014


What a radiant bride and such a gorgeous couple! Congrats and warmest wishes!

By Coco in the Kitchen on January 30, 2014


Best wishes to Bobby and his new wife, she is beautiful, I saw them cooking the other day on tv, I am so happy when true love is found and I love the fact that he said he is only doing it once, that means even when it storms, they will be be together, may God bless this union.

By lmoneyj on January 28, 2014


Best wishes to Bobby and his bride....and hope to see you back on the air soon. Miss seeing your show.

By Bonny Hatcher on January 21, 2014


Happy New Year 2014. I just happened across your blog while looking for quick cinnamon roll recipes. (My 15 year old burned the only can of cinnamon rolls we had in the refrigerator)I was thrilled to find your blog and of course "Aunt Paula" came to the rescue with a great recipe. My daughter, Savannah and I, miss watching you on TV. It was always one show we completely agreed on to watch together. Great bonding time for us. Many blessings to you and your family and congratulations on Bobbie and Claudia's wedding. Sincerely, Terri & Savannah

By terri on January 01, 2014


Miss you and family watched your show all the time congratulations on the wedding. Thank you for the newsletter love you and use your cookbooks almost everyday love ya

By Deb Leavell on December 29, 2013


I love paula deen.

By jim sweeney on December 22, 2013



By SHARON FOWLER on December 17, 2013



By SHARON FOWLER on December 17, 2013


Congratulations to both of them. I hope that she will be a part of his show I love watching the show and I'd like I said I really wish you were back on but luckily I have cookbooks and so I can always go to my cookbooks to find something that I want to cook and a Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all of you and your family thank you very much for returning my message back

By Shelley Anthony on December 09, 2013


Just stumbled onto your blog, Paula. I miss you so & can't wait to see you back on tv. Congratulations on Bobbie & Claudia's wedding!

By Sharon Hermens on December 07, 2013


I'm so happy to receive your newsletter. It makes me feel somewhat reconnected with you, your food and your family. I watch Bobbie and Jamie on The Cooking Channel and smile at the moments when they talk about their "mama". You keep the faith girlfriend. There are a lot of us out here cheering you on.

By Leigh Crossen on December 07, 2013


Love you Paula. So proud for Bobby and Claudia. Hope you are back soon on the TV - miss your shows soooooooo much. Anything planned? I bet you could have your own show - I hope so. Let us know what is happening. Please come back. We southerners are ALL behind you. Could one of your staff let me know where I can find your appearances, etc. Would appreciate it "ya'll" = love ya Carolyn

By Carolyn Carver on December 05, 2013


Dear sweet Paula, I want to thank for responding to my post on Facebook about not seeing any footage about the wedding here. Everything about it is BEAUTIFUL !!! I had no doubts though with you involved Bobby and his bride were amazing. My son waited until he was 40 as well but he married a woman that can't have children so no grandchildren there. But I think they are happy and comfortable alone!!/ Paula you look absolutely amazing I have enjoyed you for years and I keep your cookbooks close like my Bible.. the most requested item is the regular gooey butter cake but I add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the filling on top. I just watched Jamie's show where he cooked Bobby's birthday dinner and gave him the guitar.. That was absolutely amazing!!! Jamie has a beautiful wife and family too,, Thank you for your time and God bless you and yours, Glenda Brown

By Glenda Brown on December 05, 2013


Paula, I used to watch your show on Food Network a lot when I still had the TV and cable many year ago. You weren't even that big a star back then. I always love watching you cook on Youtube after I ditched my TV and cable and read your recipes on Food Network Magazines. I hope one day you can return to Food Network and the Food Network Magazine. I stop buying the magazine since you were gone.

By Orindary Jane on December 04, 2013


Paula, made your Zucchini Custard Casserole for Thanksgiving and it was Fantastic!!! Thank you so much! Love you & your family. Happy holidays!

By Pat Walker on December 02, 2013

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