Emily Maynard is a bachelorette no more!
The North Carolina single mom wed automotive management consultant Tyler Johnson in a surprise ceremony Saturday night in Sharon, South Carolina.
“God brought us together. He’s given me such peace about everything. I’m so grateful I met him,” the former Bachelorette star, now going by the name Emily Johnson, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
The couple, who got engaged in January, invited 200 family and friends to Johnson’s family farm for an engagement party. What the guests didn’t know was that the pair, both 28, had been secretly planning a surprise wedding for the past three months.
Maynard wore comfortable cowboy boots underneath her pale pink Modern Trousseau gown as she walked down a lantern-lit pathway at sunset towards Johnson, who was standing under a white oak tree. Maynard’s daughter Ricki, 8, was her mom’s maid of honor.
“It’s just as much her day as it is mine because it’s a big change for her,” the bride says. “She just adores Tyler and he is so good with her. He loves her as if she was his own daughter. It’s been so great to see their relationship grow.”
Following a honeymoon – “Tyler planned it. He told me we’re going to a beach. We could totally be going to Myrtle Beach for all I know!” she quips – the family of three will move into their new Charlotte home.
“For so long I felt so embarrassed and ashamed about that TV stuff,” says the new Mrs. Johnson, whose televised engagement to Bachelor Brad Womack ended in 2011. A year later, her engagement to Jef Holm on The Bachelorette ended as well.
“The grace that my faith has given me to wipe that all away and not find worth in that and find it through God, Tyler has been a great example of that for me,” she says. “He has truly lived out God’s grace every day.”