The R&B star and model fiancée Crystal Renay tied the knot Saturday in front of family and friends in an oceanside ceremony near Los Angeles, PEOPLE reveal exclusively.
“We can’t wait to start our life together,” NE-YO, 36, tells PEOPLE. “We’re looking forward to just being each others’ best friend.”
The couple began dating shortly after meeting for a possible collaboration for his 2015 album Non-Fiction, and the Grammy winner knew even then they had a connection, which led to his popping the question last summer.
“I kind of knew right away,” he says, adding: “From that first encounter, I knew there was something different about her, something special.”
The happy couple’s big day comes just before they will welcome their first child together (NE-YO is already dad to daughter Madilyn Grace, 5, and son Mason Evan, 4, from a previous relationship). And the expectant bride took her growing belly into consideration as she got her Jean-Ralph Thurin gown.
“When I went to my first fitting, I had actually just found out the day before that I was pregnant, so from the beginning of the whole dress process, we knew that it would be a growing belly,” says Renay.
And the newlyweds did have some pre-ceremony jitters – but only from a practical perspective.
“I’m gonna be honest: I’m nine months pregnant – I’m nervous about falling on my face!” Renay told PEOPLE the day before the wedding.
Her soon-to-be husband is in agreement, adding: “I’m more concerned about her making it all that way down that aisle or if the water breaks or something.”
But the couple could barely contain their excitement leading up to their “I Do.”
“This is big for me. I’m not doing this again, so I’m happy that my family and friends are able to be there to share this moment with us,” says NE-YO. “We’re human being, so we’re gonna bump heads on different things, but we’ve agreed that this is gonna be a marriage that lasts.”