Love at Last

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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:

54321

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.

By Carol Bryant on August 11, 2014

54321

Congratulations to the Deen family!

By Carolyn on August 10, 2014

54321

Congratulations on the wedding and your lovely daughter-in-law.

By Anonymous on August 10, 2014

54321

Paula and family - thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures. As the old say goes 'when life hands you lemons - turn it into lemonade'. So proud of you and your family and your continued successes.

By Pat Hamilton on June 27, 2014

54321

I must say that it's a beautiful thing to experience true love. I'm so happy for you Mrs. Paula, you have a beautiful family. Now, here's what I Really want to say. I Love You Paula Deen!!! You are simply amazing and I so appreciate your gift of love and joy that you spread everytime you grace us with your appearance on tv. I was utterly upset and disappointed about the whole racial slur. I am a 33 yr old black american and I don't believe one bit that you have one racial bone in your body. You light up my life and I thank God for you. Everything that people took from you, God is going to give it back plus double. People put us to and they pull us down, however, when God puts it up, its Eternal. May God continue to bless you and your fantastic family. Much love to you One of your Biggest fans for life!!!

By Michael Wright on May 16, 2014

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

By Coco in the Kitchen on January 30, 2014

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

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

54321

I love paula deen.

By jim sweeney on December 22, 2013

54321

PAULA DO YOU HAVE A RECIPE TO MAKE ZUCCHINI FRITTERS? IF SO COULD YOU PLEASE EMAIL IT TO ME I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT...THANK YOU

By SHARON FOWLER on December 17, 2013

54321

CONGRATS TO BOBBY DEEN AND WIFE ON THEIR WEDDING DAY..I WAS WONDERING IF HE WAS EVER GONNA GET MARRIED AND WHEN I CAME ON YOUR SITE PAULA I SAW THAT HE DID GET MARRIED...LOVE YOU ALL

By SHARON FOWLER on December 17, 2013

54321

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

54321

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

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Paula Deen
Paula Deen
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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm