updated 03/13/2014 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/13/2014 AT 3:25 PM ET
From Day 1, Stacy Keibler and Jared Pobre knew they wanted to keep their wedding simple and very, very small.
“We both enjoy a great party celebration but we felt strongly that our ‘love day’ should be intimately special,” the actress and TV host, 34, tells PEOPLE exclusively of their surprise beach wedding Saturday in Punta Mita, Mexico.
“We didn’t want the experience of creating a wedding to take away from our own thoughtful meaning.”
Mission accomplished. When Keibler and Pobre, 39, a tech entrepreneur, exchanged vows at sunset, it was an intimate family affair. Their parents and immediate family made up the entire wedding party – her dad Gary walked Keibler down the aisle – and only one friend, Kelly Turk, whom Keibler calls her “soul sister”, was present. Turk’s daughter acted as flower girl.
Throughout the wedding night – at times playful, and at other times filled with “happy tears” – Keibler made sure to take in the “love-filled” moments.
“I am overwhelmed with excitement and feeling grateful for Jared, both of our families and for this whole experience,” she told PEOPLE the day after the couple’s big day. “Words can’t describe how perfect a trip this was.”
For all the wedding details and exclusive photos, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday