Inside Ant Anstead's Romantic Proposal to Christina El Moussa — and How They Kept It a Secret
The TV stars have been engaged since September, but only a few family members knew
“We had an engagement, we just didn’t tell anyone,” Anstead, who hosts Discovery’s Wheelers and Dealers, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. The pair got engaged in September, but kept their change in status under wraps for the three months it took to plan the celebration.
“It’s different for us now. We didn’t want all the fuss. Just a quiet wedding without all the drama and paparazzi,” El Moussa explains of the decision. Only a few family members knew about the wedding in advance.
When the big day finally arrived just before Christmas, they pulled off a singular surprise.
The Flip or Flop host and her British beau of just over a year, invited 70 people to meet at their home, telling them they were attending a holiday boat parade in their hometown of Newport Beach, California, together. But when everyone saw rows of neatly arranged white chairs leading to a flower-covered arch in the yard, they started to buzz with excitement.
Anstead quickly slipped into place beside their pastor, quipping “Got ya!” to the gathered crowd.
El Moussa, who is changing her last name to Anstead, then made her way down the aisle to a string quartet’s version of “Stand By Me.” And just in case it wasn’t yet obvious to their shocked guests, she announced, “Surprise! We’re getting married!”
WATCH THIS: Flip or Flop’s Christina El Moussa on Boyfriend Ant Anstead: ‘I Can See Myself Getting Married to Him’
Anstead pulled off a surprise of his own, when he proposed to El Moussa on the beach near their home months earlier.
“I did the proposal on Newport Beach on the sand with some champagne at sunset,” he tells PEOPLE.
The special evening started out in similar to fashion to one of their first dates — with a bike ride along the ocean. “He was like, ‘Let’s just go for a bike ride’ and we were going to grab dinner,” El Moussa recalls. “We were watching the sunset, and then all of a sudden he just got on his knee and proposed. So yes, I was surprised.”
Even before his simple romantic gesture, Anstead struggled to keep the impending proposal a secret, thanks to an eagle-eyed fan.
“I called on [El Moussa’s] best friend, Cassie, and I said, ‘Look, we need to go ring shopping.’” says Anstead. “We walked into a jeweler and I started looking at rings. And then I heard a customer go, ‘Oh my god it’s Ant from Wheelers and Dealers.’ And I just turned and walked out the shop. And Cassie is left in there going, ‘Ant? Ant?’”
Looking back now, he says, “We’ve had a few narrow escapes.”
Now that all their secrets are out, the couple is looking forward to their honeymoon in Bora Bora and settling into life at their home in Newport Beach with their “blended” family: El Moussa’s kids — Brayden, 3, and Taylor, 8, who she shares with Tarek, and Anstead’s children from a previous marriage, Archie, 12, and Amelie, 15.
“I’m incredibly grateful to have met her,” says Anstead of his bride. “She saved me.” Adds El Moussa, “We saved each other.”