Just three weeks after losing Elliott's mother, the two anchors celebrated love and life with those near and dear in a small ceremony
Credit: Courtesy Liz Cho and Josh Elliott

No bride- or groomzillas here.

NBC Sports’ Josh Elliott and ABC’s Liz Cho – who tied the knot this past weekend in Montecito, California, which PEOPLE reported exclusively – kept things simple, elegant and romantic for their second time around.

“It was neither hoighty, nor toighty,” Elliott tells PEOPLE of his and Cho’s laid-back garden nuptials held at Villa Sevillano private estate. It is the second marriage for both of them, and Cho adds that “it was a perfect night.”

Life threw Elliott a heartbreaking curve ball recently – the former Good Morning America anchor‘s mother died suddenly three weeks ago after going into septic shock – so the wedding took on even more meaning for the couple, who’s still in mourning.

With 70 guests who were mostly family members, “[My mother’s] memory was there throughout,” says Elliott. The couple’s young daughters – Elliott, 44, is dad to Sarina, 6, and Cho, 44, is mom to Louisa, 8, both from their previous marriages – served as Cho’s bridesmaids and placed flowers on an empty chair to honor Elliott’s late mother. “Everybody there knew my mom and spoke about her in their toasts,” says Elliott. “I think we really appreciate the fact that we’re not promised anything.”

In addition to the strong family presence, Elliott and Cho had a few very special professional pals join in the nuptials. Elliott’s former ABC cohort Sam Champion – once again an Elliott colleague as he is now anchor at The Weather Channel, which is NBC-owned – officiated the ceremony; Matt Ginella, travel reporter at The Golf Channel (also owned by NBC) served as best man, and NBC News supervising producer Rich McHugh was also in attendance.

For her part, Cho, who anchors ABC’s local news in New York City, was supported by her colleagues Bill Ritter, Lee Goldberg, Tory Johnson and Jamie Nguyen. “Congrats to you both!!!” Today‘s Savannah Guthrie Tweeted to them on Monday.

“It was wonderfully romantic,” says Cho. “Josh’s vows were the best words I have ever heard.” Following a sumptuous dinner, dancing and Elliott giving guests an impromptu performance with the band, the couple says the party just kept on going.

“Little late-night snacks were going around and everyone was just looking up at the tapestry of stars,” Elliott says wistfully. “It was an incredible time.”

For more Elliott and Cho’s intimate ceremony, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday