What a first kiss!
Before a congregation of more than 1,000 family and friends at the Cross Church in her hometown of Springdale, Arkansas, Jill Duggar married Derick Dillard – and sealed their wedding vows with their very first kiss.
The wedding was a huge family affair for the bride, 23, who’s the second daughter of Jim Bob, 48, and Michelle, 47, of TLC’s hit reality show 19 Kids & Counting. Five of her sisters were bridesmaids, two brothers were groomsmen, her sisters and a niece served as flower girls, five brothers were ushers and a brother and nephew shared ring-bearer responsibilities.
“I’m very excited at this wedding,” Jill’s younger brother Jackson, 10, tells PEOPLE. “Derick is like a brother already. He tells jokes [and] he plays around with us.”
Although the bride’s parents were excited for her future, it didn’t make the reality of her new life any easier.
“It really hit me that Jill was leaving as she was packing her bag the other night,” Jim Bob tells PEOPLE. “We all realized she was really leaving. We are so glad that Derick is an answer to her prayers. It’s an emotional time, but a joyful time.”
Adds the bride’s younger sister, Jinger, “Jill is just enjoying this time. Derick has such a tender, caring heart. I couldn’t have picked a better person for my sister. We are going to miss her so much.”
An emotional Dillard – who asked people at the rehearsal dinner to pray for his mother, Cathy, who is battling cancer – was overjoyed she was able to attend the wedding.
The traditional ending to the ceremony marked the couple’s first kiss – a moment both Jill and Dillard were anticipating.
“I think it is safer and makes it more special to wait to kiss until your wedding day,” Jill told PEOPLE when she and Dillard, 25, entered into a courtship. “To save the physical side of your marriage for your wedding day and not going further than you should – we want to have no regrets.”
It was a sentiment shared by her fiancé.
“You can really get to know each other on every level without the physical part of it,” Dillard told PEOPLE. “I am the most blessed man to have Jill.”
The couple first met in Nepal after communicating with one another via email and Skype, and began courting. The Duggar family adheres to strong Christian beliefs, and both Duggar girls in relationships – Jill’s sister Jessa, 20, is in a courtship with Ben Seewald, 19 – chose to wait to hold hands until their engagement and save their first kisses until their wedding days.
The newlyweds plan to honeymoon at an undisclosed location.
Jessa Duggar: We’re Saving Holding Hands for Our Engagement