The couple wed in front of some 95 guests in the backyard garden of the luxurious Le Mas des Poiriers

By Adam Carlson and Eric Todisco
June 22, 2019 04:46 PM
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Olympic gold medalist and former Dancing with the Stars champion Meryl Davis is embarking on her next adventure with Fedor Andreev: They are now husband and wife!

The couple tied the knot in an “intimate” outdoor ceremony in the South of France on Saturday night, PEOPLE can exclusively confirm.

“We chose each other, and we’ve been committed to each other for a long time,” Davis, 32, tells PEOPLE. “And yet, to be able to celebrate our relationship and what this means for us and our families with our families and our closest friends — and the fact that so many of them are traveling all the way to Europe to celebrate us and this time in our lives — just means so much.”

“We love each other unimaginably,” says Andreev, 37. “So I’m just really excited to make it official, since we know we want to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Andreev and Davis, who have been together about nine years, got engaged in July 2017. He proposed with a square-cut canary yellow diamond ring while they were on a hike in California.

• For more on Davis and Andreev’s destination wedding in France, pick up next week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

With Davis’ uncle Cam officiating, she and Andreev wed in front of some 95 guests in the backyard garden of the Le Mas des Poiriers, a luxuriously renovated 18th-century farmhouse on an island in Provence.

“I really wanted it be like sort of an intimate family [and] friend backyard gathering,” Davis says.

“I have never had a backyard gathering quite like this, but that was the intention was to make it very comfortable, warm, welcoming and feeling as if you’re in your backyard garden pulling out your grandmother’s beautiful treasured china,” she continues. Not unlike “a summer backyard garden party where you invite your closest friends and family.”

From left: Fedor Andreev and Meryl Davis, who married on Saturday night in Provence, France.
Oliver Fly Photography

Decidedly non-traditional, Andreev and Davis didn’t avoid one another the day of the wedding. (Instead they planned on going for a run together.) In lieu of vows, they each wrote the other a letter they read aloud before exchanging rings — and then “I do”s.

For the wedding, Davis wore a sleeveless white dress by Monique Lhuillier, which was the very first one she put on: “I ended up trying on many other dresses with the styling help of Cynthia Cook Smith but always returned back to this piece.”

“It just felt right,” she says.

Andreev wore a custom-made blue suit — but no tie. (“All the men would’ve been sweating” in the heat of the French summer, he explains.)

At Davis’ side was her man of honor, younger brother Clayton. Andreev’s best lady was his cousin Danielle Vincent, a makeup artist and founder of beauty company Kimiko.

Davis’ longtime skating partner, Charlie White, with whom she has won three Olympic medals, including the gold, was of course in attendance.

“It wouldn’t be the same without Charlie there,” Davis says. “[He] has been a huge part of my life since I was about 8 years old — he’s family.”

Dinner afterward was held in an alleyway of plane trees on the farmhouse property, and the evening’s reception was to be set, in part, to a playlist curated by the bride and groom.

Music, in fact, carried throughout the evening: A string quartet played at the ceremony followed by a jazz band at dinner and cocktails and a DJ for the ambling post-dinner reception which was expected to carry into Sunday’s early hours.

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The newlyweds danced to a remake of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that “just has a nice warm feeling of happiness and joy,” Andreev says. They danced with their parents to “My Girl.”

The wedding, planned with Luis Otoya and Matthew Robbins, was the centerpiece of the weekend that also included a laid-back welcome dinner on Friday and, to come on Sunday, a brunch and pool party.

“Traveling and seeing the world and going on an adventure, it’s such a part of our lives and who we are as a couple and sort of what makes us happy, and I think a lot of our friends and family identify us as that,” Davis says. “And so that was sort of the deciding factor when it came to whether or not we really wanted to go for a destination wedding.”

Provence, she says, “spoke to us.”

Andreev and Davis plan to stay for a few days with their families after the wedding, with a honeymoon in the fall or winter.

A former figure skater himself, the Moscow-born Andreev now works as an entrepreneur. Though she retired from Olympic competition, Davis continues to skate professionally with White, with whom she tours frequently.

She and Andreev have talked about starting a family but they aren’t in any rush. They have the rest of their lives, starting with Saturday.

“I think for all of us, it’s just a magical experience,” Andreev says.

Says Davis: “How often in life do you get to sort of hit pause and just enjoy an adventure in a beautiful location with the people you love most?”