Surprise! Christina El Moussa is a bride!
The Flip or Flop star, 35, married Wheelers Dealers host Ant Anstead, 39, in a secret “winter wonderland” wedding at their home in Newport Beach, California on Saturday, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal.
To successfully pull off their hush-hush “I dos,” the pair asked 70 of their closest friends and family members to meet at their house, where a charter bus would then transport the group to watch the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
Instead, guests walked into a wedding. Under an altar in their front yard, the couple — who began dating in October 2017 — exchanged vows with their children close by.
“We wanted to make it about the kids,” says Anstead. “It’s the six of us. We’re a blended family so it was really important for them to be a part of it.”
El Moussa shares daughter Taylor, 8, and son Brayden, 3, with ex-husband Tarek, and Anstead has daughter Amelie, 15, and son Archie, 12, from a previous marriage.
For the intimate ceremony, “We wanted it to be rustic romance,” says El Moussa, who wore a lace dress by designer Ines Di Santo.
The bride notes that she’s officially changing her last name to her new husband’s. “It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” she says. “Christina Anstead. We couldn’t be any happier!”
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The newlyweds credit El Moussa’s publicist and longtime friend Cassie Zebisch for keeping the nuptials off everyone’s radar. “We literally owe this wedding to her,” says El Moussa. “She pulled it off. She met with the vendors, she set up the catering. I wanted a Maestros theme, like a nice steakhouse. She did it all!”
Still, there were a few close calls. “Every day we were checking the internet to see if anyone found out,” she says. “Then the day we went to get our marriage license, the guy working was like hyperventilating, excited. We had to tell him this is a huge secret. No one knows.”
But the event went off without a hitch. “It was just perfect for us. Everything we wanted.”
For the full story on El Moussa’s secret wedding, pick up PEOPLE on Jan. 2.