Lifestyle See 'Selling Sunset' Star Vanessa Villela and Fiancé Nick Hardy's Romantic Engagement Photos The couple shared their glamorous shots exclusively with PEOPLE as they prepare for their September wedding By Amanda Taheri Amanda Taheri Twitter Amanda Taheri is an editorial intern at PEOPLE. She is a graduate student in NYU's global journalism program. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 3, 2022 02:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Alex Evans Selling Sunset star Vanessa Villela and her fiance Nick Hardy are almost ready to wed — but not before celebrating their engagement with a dreamy photo shoot! The pair got glammed up for a romantic couple's photo session at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The shots feature numerous outfit changes, including Villela, 44, in a sexy black outfit posed in front of a Rolls Royce, a lavish emerald look, an Art Deco pearl-covered style and a traditional white, pleated gown. Hardy, 43, sports a variety of black-and-white suiting looks. Villela's glittering engagement ring is also front and center in nearly every frame. Hardy proposed in January with a three-stone, rectangular diamond ring that he designed alongside his friend and future groomsman, jeweler Anto Giantto. Alex Evans Long before exchanging rings, the couple began as friends connected on the exclusive Raya app in October 2020. Villela tells PEOPLE she had given up on dating and instead "just wanted to be friends with someone." She adds, "I always dreamt of finding my soulmate as a friend, because I feel like that's the most important thing you have to have in a relationship is friendship and a strong foundation." Selling Sunset's Vanessa Villela Is Engaged to Boyfriend Tom Fraud: 'You Are My Prince' Just Villela's luck, she and Hardy had a lot in common and started sending lengthy daily messages back and forth. Soon enough they were exchanging selfies. Villela's first picture was her dressed up as an American Ninja Warrior, a photo Hardy found just "awesome" and "so so cool." Hardy's first photo was what she calls a "Zoolander, amazing, sexy selfie" that turned Villela's head. Alex Evans Selling Sunset's Vanessa Villela Is 'Stressed' as Her Future on the Show Remains 'Up in the Air': Source Selfies turned into regular FaceTime conversations until, on a whim, Villela invited Hardy to her birthday celebration in Mexico in January 2021. The couple first met in person at the airport when Villela ran to Hardy and jumped into his arms. "For me, it was like he was my boyfriend," she says with a laugh. "It was incredible, as soon as we got into the car we didn't stop kissing until we got to the hotel," Hardy tells PEOPLE. The couple extended their 10 day trip to two months because of how much they enjoyed their time at the Fairmont Mayakoba hotel. "It was like a movie," Hardy remembers. Alex Evans Christine Quinn Says 'Hulu, Give Me a Call' as Selling Sunset Future Remains Uncertain The couple is now strapping in for the final month of planning before their September wedding. With two wedding planners, much of the logistics are covered, however, the couple notes they learned to "give yourself time" and to start early. They describe their venue as "a mix between Moroccan, Italian, and Spanish styles with pink walls and beautiful archways." The scenery led the duo to choose a "pastel-y" color palette for the celebration. Villela's five bridesmaids, for example, will all be dressed in blush pink. Hardy, a professional photographer, has been very involved in the planning process. "I've done so much direction and production in my life and my work that I think every wedding should be like a movie," he says. Outside of the typical nuptials, the couple will have a "big surprise at the end" that they teased to PEOPLE will be all about the entertainment. Alex Evans When asked if they would write their own vows, the couple responded with a resounding "yes!" "We are both very romantic and we really, really want to," says Villela. The couple are foregoing a first look and will first see one another during the ceremony in their wedding outfits. Alex Evans At the end of the aisle, they'll slide on matching wedding bands with diamonds, a sapphire, and a ruby from a Jerusalem-based company. Villela tells PEOPLE, they "fell in love with the idea that the stones represent something so incredible." "They say that the stones contain magic," Hardy adds. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Alex Evans They expect the wedding to be small, between 65 and 80 guests, with only the "closest, nearest, and dearest people." As for her Selling Sunset cast mates, Villela says, "Of course my girls will be there!"