The Vampire Diaries‘s Kayla Ewell has found her eternal love.
The star wed her longtime boyfriend Tanner Novlan in an elegant ceremony in front of nearly 200 of their closest family and friends at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday evening, the couple confirms exclusively to PEOPLE.
The pair – whose wedding was planned by Wish Wonder Dream‘s Michael T. Vega and shot by Gabe McClintock Photography – met five years ago on set of Australian band Sick Puppies’ music video for their single “Maybe.”
“It was my birthday, and I got a phone call to do a music video,” says Ewell. “I was with my girlfriend at lunch and she was like, ‘It’s your birthday and you got a phone call out of the blue to do this music video? I think you should do it!’ I joke with Tanner that he was the best birthday present that I ever got.”
Novlan – who is currently shooting his upcoming film Flatbush Luck – popped the question nine months ago while the couple were enjoying a private sailboat ride in Santa Monica, California.
“Kayla is a tough one to surprise,” says Novlan. “I told the captain over the phone, ‘We have to do it right away because the nerves are going!’ He said, ‘Why don’t I take a picture of you in front of the sunset, so she went up and I got my sweater which had the ring in it.’ ”
After celebrating with champagne, the couple returned to another surprise for Ewell after they undocked. “My entire family flew in and had sparklers and champagne and were jumping up and down,” says the actress. “The celebration isn’t complete without my family. It was a really special time.”
Choosing the Jonathan Club as the venue for their big day was a “no brainer” for the duo. “It has a lot of meaning to me because we spend a lot of family time there,” says Ewell. “It’s just so beautiful and there’s so much history there.”
The couple’s ceremony was officiated by the bride’s uncle, and the first time they laid eyes on each other on their wedding day was when Ewell walked down the aisle with her father Darrell Ewell.
“It was really important for both of us to have that real moment,” says Ewell, who wore a Monique Lhuillhier gown. Adds Novlan: “It’s emotional!”
And yes, Ewell’s Vampire Diaries‘ family joined in on the fun. Standing by her side as one of six bridesmaids was her former co-star Candice Accola, who’s expecting her first baby with husband Joe King.
“I was in her wedding. When you go through that with someone, you have a bond with them afterwards that is unlike any other feeling,” says Ewell of Accola, who will be wearing a Jenny Yoo dress along with five other bridesmaids. “I have two pregnant bridesmaids. The dress is an empire waist, which is perfect so their little baby bumps can show.”
Her close friend and former co-star Nina Dobrev and boyfriend Austin Stowell (“I did a movie with him two years ago,” says Ewell) also celebrated with the happy couple, along with Michael Trevino and Sara Canning.
“They’re really special,” says Ewell of her Vampire Diaries family. “It’s been really fun, and it means a lot that they’re all coming.”
At the reception, the newlyweds shared their first dance to Alabama Shakes’ “You Ain’t Alone,” and Ewell’s 93-year-old grandfather sang “The Way You Look Tonight” for her father-daughter dance.
“There’s no formal sit-down,” says Novlan, who wore a Theory tux. “We’ll have stations with really great food, but it’ll be a relaxed feel of ‘Enjoy yourself.’ If you want to go get a drink at the bar, go! We want people to mingle.” Says Ewell: “We want the atmosphere to be so relaxed and fun, so we have a live band and we’ve asked them to learn the ‘Nae Nae.’ When the ballroom doors open, we want to have drinks flowing, music going and everyone just partying.”
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After the reception, the party continued on the rooftop, where a deejay kept the guests pumped up. “At midnight, everyone’s going to line the halls, and Kayla and I are going to get in the elevator and get whisked away to the after party,” says Novlan.
On Sunday, the duo celebrated their new marital status by jetting off to Belize for their honeymoon after having a gift-opening party with their families.
“We started as friends and we just continue to grow,” says Novlan. “I’m just really excited to grow now into marriage. She’s an awesome, positive light and the complete package.” Says Ewell: “Whatever happens, we can take it. We’ve got each other!”