Ricki Lake Incorporates Her Dogs in Secret Wedding

updated 04/12/2012 AT 12:00 PM ET

originally published 04/12/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET

Ricki Lake kept her wedding a secret from most everyone – except her two dogs.

The newlywed talk show host, 43, who eloped with Christian Evans, 40, in a beachside California ceremony Sunday, included her furry kids – goldendoodle Jeffie and English bulldog Pacha – in her wedding party.

“It was a beautiful moment I will never forget,” Lake tells PEOPLE. “I wasn’t anxious or nervous. I was really relaxed and excited.” Plus, she adds, “We have our dogs here and we have this beautiful setting.”

Goldendoodle Jeffie and English bulldog Pacha; Inset: a plaque bearing the dogs’ names

Kate Szatmari

Luckily, Lake had “daughter” Jeffie with her to calm some jitters before the big day. “I was working on [my vows] and suddenly felt really exhausted because … my heart has just been racing,” she says. “I got up early and took my dog for a walk. It’s absolutely gorgeous here this weekend.”

For Ricki Lake’s exclusive wedding album and more details about her secret ceremony, pick up the newest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

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