Candiace Dillard is a married lady!
The 31-year-old Real Housewives of Potomac star said “I do” on Saturday, marrying longtime boyfriend Chris Bassett at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.
Both were dressed to the nines for the event, Dillard in a custom-made gown by Karen Sabag.
Their big day — and its theme of “cosmopolitan sophistication with a touch of southern class”— had 260 guests in attendance, including a few of Dillard’s RHOP costars.
“Candiace’s wedding reminded me of a Parisian fairy tale overflowing in gold and white. When she walked down the aisle you forgot about the beauty of the room because she was absolutely radiant,” a source at the affair tells PEOPLE.
This is the first marriage for Dillard, a former Miss United States, and the second for Bassett, who has three children from two previous relationships.
The pair met while working at a restaurant together in D.C., where he was the manager and she a server. Bassett proposed in May 2017, surprising Dillard with all their friends and family.
“It was crazy,” she said on the show. “To have everyone that I loved there was amazing. It was really special to me that he cared enough to execute my dream.”
Wedding planning was a big part of the third season of RHOP, Dillard’s first on the reality show.
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There were a few bumps in the road, including dealing with her mother Dorothy’s often strong opinions about her wedding dress and her father’s refusal to give her more money for the festivities. But ultimately, those hurdles made her stronger.
“It’s helped me find my voice within my family unit and within myself,” Dillard told PEOPLE before the big day. “I’ve have to take ownership over what I believe and what I feel is mine. It’s my right to want what I want and have what I have on my wedding day. And to not have to explain that to anyone.”
“I just feel so much more comfortable in my skin and unapologetic about everything,” she added. “You don’t have to like her. She’s here, she’s sick. Enjoy her. Or don’t, but that’s my prerogative. I can’t apologize for being myself.”
Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Dillard said that she always dreamed of having a big wedding.
“Getting married is almost too much of a big deal for southern women,” she joked. “We’re planning our weddings when we come out of the womb. I had thoughts in my head of what I wanted my wedding to look like when I was like, 12. Being able to plan it now, it’s just a culmination of all of the ideas I had as a little girl.”
She wanted to have the wedding in D.C. to pay homage to the beginning of her relationship with Bassett, who owns Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster BBQ. “It’ll be a wonderful, full-circle moment.”
Putting couple’s relationship on display for the world wasn’t an easy decision at first, especially considering the critiques Dillard knew would come their way because of their races. Still, she wanted to be a positive example.
“I’m big on living your truth and liberating others through that truth,” she said. “I would get crazy Facebook messages from black women asking, ‘I’m considering dating outside my race. What is it like dating a white guy?’ So I was hoping I’d be able to normalize interracial dating and interracial love. And to and show, that even though Chris is not black, it still can be seen as a form of black love. Because as a black woman, who will have black children, I will be imposing my black girl magic on my family.”
And as for a family of her own, Dillard isn’t sure just yet if she wants to explore having kids of her own.
“I literally don’t know,” the Prima Hair Collection owner said, teasing. “I always thought I wanted kids, but that was before I realized I had to grow it and keep it forever. You can’t give them back! You have to keep them for the rest of your life. And they’re always there and calling and they’re hungry. You got to feed them and make sure they’re not a——- when they grow up. That’s a lot of responsibility!”
The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.