updated 01/23/2013 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/23/2013 AT 10:15 AM ET
“The whole energy came from family and friends,” she says of the ceremony in Providence, R.I. “People were crying. There were so many tears shed, especially from me!”
Her new husband, White House staffer and Coast Guard Lieutenant Clay Pell, was also swept up in the moment. “As she was walking into the church, I could feel her,” he tells PEOPLE.
“I could feel this energy, this sense of grace and movement and comfort to me the whole time. This contentedness, whether we were holding hands, or hugging, or kissing – she has such warmth for me and I just felt this fire the whole day, and I still do.”