Kenya Moore is married — and PEOPLE has all the details on her big day!
“It was just so perfect,” Moore said of the big day, which took place at a private resort in St. Lucia.
Despite her wedding being an elopement, the former Miss USA was able to plan an intimate day for herself and her husband. The pair, who met a year ago but began dating in December, said “I do” in a beach ceremony at sunset under an awning of white roses and overlooking the Caribbean island’s picturesque pitons.
“We wanted something simple an not overly complicated,” she explained, adding that Daly is “extremely romantic” and heavily influenced their day. “He didn’t want something for show. He didn’t want it to be left up to other people’s interpretation of love. He just wanted it to be what he sees it: him looking into my eyes and us being together. It was just two people in love who wanted to get married.”
“I would not have done it any other way — it was amazing,” Moore added. “My sign is an Aquarius, so I really love the water and the ocean and always wanted that as my backdrop. And we were all there on the white sand beach and you could hear the waves in the background. It was so romantic.”
She twirled down the aisle with best friend (and frequent RHOA guest) Brandon DeShazer, as Moore’s father was celebrating his birthday in Jamaica at the time. “It was so last-minute, he couldn’t make it,” Moore said. “But Brandon was there, which was super special to me.”
Other family members from both sides joined in the festivities, including Moore’s Aunt Lori (another RHOA staple), her Aunt Lisa (who stood by Moore as her matron of honor) and Moore’s best friend from high school Shonda. “I was raised by my grandmother, so even though she’s my aunt, we grew up as sisters,” Moore said. “It meant so much to have her there.”
There were two other special guests who couldn’t make it: Moore’s Yorkies, King and Twirl. “We would have had to start that paperwork 60 days in advance to get them out of the country, and we didn’t pull it off in time,” Moore said. “But it would have been fun to have them there!”
“We do plan on having a large wedding for all of our friends and family next June, so we’ll have everyone there,” she revealed.
Moore admitted to being nervous, but standing in front of Daly and looking into his eyes took all her stress away.
Of course, all eyes were on Moore’s dress — a stunning mermaid cut gown with sheer panels and a plunging neckline that perfectly hugged her every curve. Covered in sequence and beading flower appliques, Moore worked with dressmaker Pallas Couture to design the gown especially for her. It shipped it from Australia to the reality star days later.
“The dress was perfect when I saw it,” Moore gushed. “I’m a woman of a certain age, but my husband wanted me to look sexy. And it was a beach wedding, so I didn’t want anything too formal. I knew this was exactly what I wanted when I saw it.
“I just felt so beautiful and grown and sexy and powerful and feminine — all at the same time,” she added.
Pairing it with a basic veil, a cascading bouquet of orchids, Moore did her own hair (beach waves, naturally) and makeup. “ really didn’t even want me to wear makeup because he said I look more beautiful when I don’t wear makeup,” Moore said. “And I think that’s why I really appreciate him. He sees me for who I am and not as reality TV sees me or the world sees me. He really knows my heart.”
Each wrote their own vows — though Moore didn’t read hers when the time came. “I cried the whole time writing them so I ended up just saying what I felt from my heart,” she confessed. “I was so emotional, I just couldn’t get through without this really big ugly cry.”
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After the ceremony, the couple and guests partied at a beach reception, enjoying cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner and cake on a beautiful long table with white linens, roses and lighting. They danced, too, to a Caribbean steel pan band.
“This was the best experience of my life,” Moore said. “We had a mini honeymoon there in St. Lucia after the wedding and it was glorious. I’m so happy that we chose to get married there because the people could not be more gracious to us and kind and more supportive. They really welcomed us on that island and treated us like royalty.”
For more on Kenya Moore’s wedding, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE — on newsstands now.
“I’m just ecstatic,” Moore concluded. “This man is the love of my life and I’m so happy to begin our lives together as husband and wife.”
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