January 04, 2017 03:38 PM

Reflecting on her New Year’s Eve wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, Luann de Lesseps says that marrying Tom D’Agostino Jr. “was one of the best days of my life.”

To kick off their celebratory three-day wedding weekend, the Real Housewives of New York City star and D’Agostino Jr. hosted a rehearsal dinner Friday evening on a boat with 80 of the couple’s closest friends and family members. While on board the Mariner III yacht, which left Palm Beach Marina for a three-hour sunset cruise, guests dined on a seafood menu, including lobsters, clams, seafood gumbo and mini crab cakes.

“We decided to have our rehearsal dinner on a yacht because Tom is a big boater. He grew up boating,” de Lesseps tells PEOPLE of their decision to have the party sailing on the water. “We both own boats, we’re both into boating, so we thought, what a great place to do our rehearsal dinner.”

After the evening yacht cruise, the party continued until 1 a.m. at Chesterfield Hotel’s Leopard Lounge where the couple hosted a lounge-style soirée with cigarette girls serving hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Guests enjoyed entertainment provided by a pianist, a lounge singer, a magician and fellow RHONY star Dorinda Medley, who joined the singer by the piano and belted out two tunes.

Come Saturday evening, the couple welcomed 250 guests — including fellow Housewives Jill Zarin, Cynthia Bailey, Kelly Bensimon and Marysol Patton — to witness their black tie nuptials at a lavish, modern-chic outdoor ceremony at Brazilian Court on the groom’s 50th birthday.

De Lesseps donned a veil with her white floor-length, V-neck gown by Randi Rahm as she was walked down the aisle by her brother Michael. Under a crescent moonlit sky, de Lesseps and D’Agostino Jr., who sported a white tuxedo, were playful as they held hands and exchanged vows in front of de Lesseps’ son Noel, who served as ring bearer, her daughter Victoria, who was the flower girl, and many more friends and family members.

Patricia Dash/Revery Weddings

To express his love for de Lesseps’ children, D’Agostino Jr. gave Victoria a Tiffany key — to show that she has the key to their hearts and that they would always be there for her — and Noel a compass, signaling that he could always find his way back to them as they would always be there for him. The couple also gave each of their mothers a rose to symbolize their love.

Following the nuptials, which were photographed by Patricia Dash/Revery Weddings, opera singer Gregor Prächt performed to conclude the ceremony and kick off the reception.

At the reception, which was decorated with chandeliers, fairy lights, votive candles, family photos and flowers — including pale pink peonies, white gardenia and ranunculus — the newly married couple twirled and dipped on their first dance to the tunes of Katie Melua’s “Just Like Heaven.”

Not long after the maid of honor and best man speeches had been made, guests hit up the dance floor — Jim Caruso served as emcee — and were given flashing 2017 glasses, hats and horns to celebrate the new year.

Just 15 minutes before the clock struck midnight, de Lesseps gave a speech in honor of her husband’s 50th and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. After the new bride gave D’Agostino Jr. a sweet kiss, a large cake was wheeled out onto the dance floor — and a Marilyn Monroe lookalike popped out!

“If Marilyn Monroe was still alive, I would ask Marilyn Monroe to come. … I picked Marilyn because she’s iconic. Who can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ better than Marilyn, right?” de Lesseps tells PEOPLE about the surprise cameo.

After guests wished D’Agostino Jr. a happy birthday, they participated in a countdown to ring in the new year and celebrated 2017 with tequila shots and a live mariachi band.

“It was one of the best days of my life. To celebrate our wedding, New Year’s Eve and Tom’s birthday with all my friends and family in one night was just magical,” says de Lesseps of her wedding day. “It was a dream.”

  • For more on de Lesseps’ wedding, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday

Adds D’Agostino Jr. of marrying his bride “Luann put her heart and soul into the weekend and it really shows. She made all of her family and friends feel so welcome. I’ve never been happier, I couldn’t wishing for a better 50th birthday present than marrying Luann.”

Instead of receiving gifts from their guests, the couple asked attendees to donate to charity — but that didn’t stop them from giving gifts to their attendees! The newlyweds gave out gift bags — complete with their logo — at the beginning of the weekend, which included a Pashmina, Popchips, a wedding survival kit (it included Tylenol, Spruce 0132 chocolates, a candle and The Scout Guide, Palm Beach) and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water.

But the party didn’t end on Saturday! Come Sunday, the couple hosted a noon wedding brunch at the Colony Hotel. Guests, who applauded as the couple entered the venue, enjoyed the outdoor sunshine and listened to a two-piece band playing Bossa Nova tunes.

Says de Lesseps of marrying D’Agostino Jr., “It’s a classic, great love story.”

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