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The reality star tied the knot in New Orleans on March 12

March 17, 2017 03:51 PM

Survivor‘s Mikayla Wingle is married!

Wingle, a fitness model and trainer who competed on 2011’s Survivor: South Pacific and was one of the contestants in the mix for 2015’s Survivor: Second Chance tied the knot with oil and energy consultant Michael Stapf on March 12.

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The New Orleans ceremony was held at Race + Religious, a rustic 1839 venue that boasts three buildings, a pool and a fountain-flanked cobblestone courtyard. About 90 guests attended the wedding, which had a decidedly New Orleans vibe, complete with a jazz band. Wingle says that the ceremony was “short and sweet.”

After the final kiss, the entire party grabbed umbrellas and handkerchiefs and marched around the block as the jazz band played. The guests then headed back into the venue’s courtyard for cocktails, followed by a traditional Cajun dishes including shrimp creole, gumbo and crawfish bread.

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As the sun went down, the entire venue was lit by candles. “It was absolutely magical,” says Wingle, who notes that the venue was perfect for pictures. “My photographer was a childhood friend from New Jersey,” she says of Lion’s Den Imaging. “She said the venue was a photographer’s dream.”

After the first dance, the couple cut the cake — but refused to smash it into each other’s faces. “A face full of cake is not what either of us wanted,” she says.

Wingle tells PEOPLE that she went to at least 15 bridal shops before finding the perfect dress: a form-fitting silk Pronovias gown. “I was starting to lose hope,” she says. “It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

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From the moment she put it on, Wingle knew she had found the right gown. “It’s true,” she says. “They weren’t kidding when they tell you that you’ll know when the dress is ‘the one!'”

She also says that she found “the one” in Stapf. “He was my best friend six months ago and my best friend today,” she says. “He’ll be my best friend 30 years from now. There is no one in this world who I would rather have by my side for this adventure called life. That’s why I put a ring on it!

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