Inside 'Dancing with the Stars' Pro Witney Carson's 'Beautiful' Beachside Marriage Proposal

"I didn't even know that he was in town," the DWTS pro tells PEOPLE of her fiancé's surprise proposal

Photo: Mckenna Fullmer

Dancing with the Stars pro dancer Witney Carson never saw it coming – her fiancé’s proposal, that is.

“I didn t even know that he was in town,” Carson says of her husband-to-be, Carson Mcallister, who proposed on Saturday. “I thought he was back in Utah. His sisters and I were just taking pictures and I look over and he’s on the beach surrounded by candles.”

Carson, 21, says Mcallister had constructed a “little fort of sand” covered by a white canopy in Manhattan Beach, California, and had music playing.

“It was really beautiful,” she says. “Then our song [ “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” by Billy Currington] came on and he knelt down, took out a seashell and opened it – that’s where my ring was.”

But even though Carson had no idea the proposal was coming, her DWTS partner Carlos PenaVega was fully aware of what was in store for her Saturday.

“Carson was talking to me to make sure she’d be out of rehearsal in time,” PenaVega says of being approached by Carson’s fiancé a week before the proposal.

PenaVega says he hopes to deejay at the upcoming wedding, which Carson plans to be full of her DWTS co-stars – including her season 19 mirror ball-winning partner Alfonso Ribeiro.

“I’m going to have Alfonso’s son be the ring bearer,” Carson says. “They’re so special to me and I just want family around.”

Included in that family is her lifelong friend Lindsay Arnold, who will serve as maid of honor.

I was her maid of honor, so I think I need to return the favor or else she’ll be really mad,” Carson jokes.

Arnold says she’s “excited” about Carson’s engagement, but she thinks it was good that she wasn’t informed ahead of time like PenaVega.

“I knew it was coming, but I didn t know exactly when and I think it’s because I would have maybe screwed it up and said something like, ‘Make sure you look good today’ or something,” Arnold says. “I would have blown it, so I think it was best that they didn’t tell me the exact timing.”

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