After nearly six years together, Katie Stevens and Paul DiGiovanni tied the knot on Oct. 12 just outside of Nashville at Saddle Woods Farm.
“Our first date was five-and-a-half years ago. After dating for a couple months, I knew [he was going to be] my husband,” the actress — who wore a form-fitting, long-sleeved Flora gown and L’Dezen jewels for her walk down the aisle — told PEOPLE ahead of her big day. “From the second that I met him up until now, he’s made me feel special and more than enough every single day.”
“I really did keep Paul in mind when I was choosing my dress,” says Stevens, who was sung down the aisle by her close friend Betty Who and Bold Type costar Meghann Fahy. “He’s seen me in so many red carpet looks and gowns and everything in between, but I wanted to look like the girl he’s in love with [on our wedding day].”
Says her groom: "She looked like an angel."
"Winnie is our sweet baby. We got her together," says Stevens about their pup. "She's gonna be our little flower girl!"
"Everybody's been so incredible," says Stevens (with Fahy and Aisha Dee) of her castmates' support.
"They all made me cry the other day when they said goodbye to me 'cause they were like, 'The next time we see you, you'll be married!' " Stevens says of her costars, here with the bride and groom. "They just made me really emotional."
“Paul’s mom passed away when he was 15, so I just wanted him to feel like she was with us on that day,” said Stevens. “His aunt has her wedding dress, so she gave me a piece of it.”
The star worked with BJ Gray of Grayscale over the last few months to incorporate a piece of the dress into DiGiovanni’s suit. Covered with a patch, the touching memento remained a secret until the big day.
“It was incredible,” says DiGiovanni about the gesture. “During our first look, Katie took out a pair of scissors and pulled a piece of thread on a patch to reveal it to me.”
"We picked our favorites, like hot chicken tacos, a traditional carving station and my favorite cake to end it all, a carrot cake," says DiGiovanni.
The couple also served signature cocktails, including a spiced pear margarita (named the "Hero Pear-oine") and an old fashioned (dubbed the "Bold Fashioned").
"I really love the feel of wildflowers and beautiful drapery," says Stevens. "All of the flowers that are a part of our ceremony are going to come inside and be a part of our reception as well!"
The couple invited 250 guests, and "it filled up quick," says DiGiovanni. "It's really cool to just see the unity that everyone brought."
After saying "I do" outside, the newlyweds and their guests moved inside to celebrate their new union.
"I want everyone on the dance floor," says Stevens, who changed into a Galia Lahav dress later in the reception. "My side of the family, we're big dancers. We really get down." Adds DiGiovanni: “Music is important to both of us. It’s what I do for a living, and Katie does a lot of it too, so that was a big thing for the wedding."
DiGiovanni’s Boys Like Girls bandmates Martin Johnson and John Keefe were by his side as groomsmen, and the musicians hit the stage to give a special performance at the reception.
Next summer, the couple will head off to their honeymoon in Italy after wrapping up work commitments. "I'm just really trying to drag out this bride thing, you know?" jokes Stevens. "I don't want it to just end at the wedding!"
Adds DiGiovanni: "We both have to go back to work the day after the wedding, so we better get a good honeymoon!"