updated 07/20/2011 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/20/2011 AT 12:30 PM ET
When Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo wed July 15 on Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island, they incorporated what the Caribbean island had to offer along with traditional elements they both envisioned.
“I wanted to be in that long traditional wedding gown with heels and I wanted my groom in a tux and shoes and not barefoot on the beach,” says Minnillo. The new Wipeout host, 30, wore a two-piece Monique Lhuillier ensemble and diamond stud earrings that Lachey gave her during their first year as a couple.
“There was just something so timeless, beautiful and romantic about having that element of a traditional wedding,” she says.
The moment Lachey, 37, saw his bride for the first time was a moment he’ll never forget. “It literally took my breath away,” he says. “It’s a moment you fantasize about, and I was certainly not disappointed.”
Celebrity wedding planner Sharon Sacks created a four-day celebration for their 35 guests that reflected the couple’s fun-loving and relaxed wedding attitude.
Things were “eerily calm,” says The Sing-Off host of the days leading up to their island nuptials.
“We realized it wasn’t about stressing over how many tiers there were on the cake,” joked Minnillo. Added Lachey: “We’re determined to have a great time no matter what!”
For exclusive photos of Nick and Vanessa’s wedding – and all the details of their joyful ceremony – pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday