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Vanessa Williams Wedding Photo Exclusive

Jul 8th 2015 at 7:38 PM

And the bride wore … leather? Vanessa Williams didn’t follow a traditional bridal dress code for her July 4th wedding to Jim Skrip. Instead, the actress wore two custom designs by Carmen Marc Valvo for her big day — a sleek skirt and top combo for the ceremony and a gown covered in gold leather petals for the reception.

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“It almost looks like it’s metal, but they’re little petals made out of leather [sewed] on top of organza,” Williams tells PEOPLE exclusively of the ivory design (right photo above) she wore for her first dance with her new husband. “It was magnificent. I felt like an Egyptian goddess and that was exactly the theme I was going for.”

Williams met Skrip in Egypt, so it was important to the actress to celebrate that memory throughout the day. The couple, both 52, got married in Buffalo, New York — another locale that has meaning to them, since Skrip is from there and so is Williams’s mother.

So it’s no surprise she turned to a local Buffalo jeweler for some bridal accessories.

“My engagement ring is a Buffalo jeweler called Bomi — Jim had it personally designed with a lotus leaf carved in the back behind the stone, and then I went back to them, and I got three beautiful necklaces for my daughters to wear in the wedding,” Williams shares. “They also gave me jewelry so when I walked down [the aisle], I had a beautiful drop pearl champagne colored earrings, and when I did my costume change, I wore Gabriel and Co. They were gold and diamond chandelier earrin

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