Ben Higgins' 'Joyful' Wedding to Jessica Clarke: All the Details — and 'Bachelor' Nation Guests!

"I am so lucky to commit my life to hers," the former Bachelor tells PEOPLE of his new wife

Though they'd planned for their wedding for nearly two years, Ben Higgins admits that when he first saw his bride Jessica Clarke on their big day last weekend, the anticipation got the best of him.

"The first look took my breath away," the season 20 star of The Bachelor, who wed Clarke on Nov. 13 in an emotional ceremony as family and friends looked on, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "Here I had my best friend standing in front of me glowing with beauty. I am so lucky to commit my life to hers."

Adds Clarke, who wore a strapless gown with detachable sleeves by Anne Barge: "I could see in the way that he looked at me how excited and happy he was. I am just the luckiest girl in the world."

Ben Higgins, Jessica Clarke wedding
Jordan Voth

For more on Ben Higgins and Jessica Clarke's wedding, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Following the exchange of their handwritten vows, Higgins and Clarke, 25, joined their guests —which included Bachelor franchise alums Nick Viall, Becca Kufrin and Thomas Jacobs, Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconnetti, and Wells Adams — for a rousing indoor/outdoor reception at The Estate in Cherokee Dock near Nashville, Tennessee, also planned by Sara Fried of Fête Nashville Luxury Weddings.

ben higgins wedding
Jordan Voth

"We wanted it to feel like a big party," says Higgins, 32, whose appreciation for bourbon inspired a custom liquor bar aptly titled "Higgy's Hangover."

"We are thankful for every guest who attended our wedding," he adds. "And the Bachelor Nation folks are a part of our story forever."

ben higgins wedding
Jordan Voth

Watch People Weddings: Ben Higgins & Jessica Clarke on or on the PeopleTV app.

Guests enjoyed pre-packaged meals of pizza, pasta and sliders, as well as a cookie bar with cold milk shots for dessert, while music by the Taylor Pace Orchestra added to the ambiance.

WATCH: Ben Higgins and Jessica Clarke on Their Simple and Elegant Wedding Ceremony

"We wanted the party to end on top, so we ended at 10:30 p.m.," says Higgins. Following a sparkler sendoff, the newlyweds boarded a pontoon boat decorated with a "Just Married" sign as their guests bid them farewell.

"I am overly joyful," says Higgins, who says he and Clarke hope to have kids "within a few" years. "The best way to describe it is a feeling of acceptance and love."

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