What Tarek And Heather Rae El Moussa's Wedding Was Really Like

With the March 2023 premiere of their new HGTV series, "The Flipping El Moussas," it's clear that real estate power couple Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae El Moussa have been up to a lot since first meeting in 2019 while out boating on a sunny day in Southern California. Over the past four years, the real-estate-agent-turned-house flipper-turned-HGTV-star and his fellow real estate agent wife moved in together, got engaged, became husband and wife, and welcomed a baby boy together in late January 2023.

We love watching Tarek teach Heather about the differences of flipping homes versus selling multi-million dollar Southern California real estate on their new HGTV series — which also gives fans a glimpse of their personal life — so we thought it'd be a great time to look back at their fairy tale, Old Hollywood-themed October 2021 wedding. From the venue to the gown to the ceremony to the guests, we've got all the details. Keep reading to learn what Tarek and Heather Rae El Moussa's wedding was really like.

They scrapped their original wedding plans

Interestingly, the happy couple's October 2021 nuptials were originally supposed to look much different. The two first considered a destination wedding, narrowing their options down to Los Cabos, Mexico, before the pandemic put a wrench in their plans. "We love Mexico. We loved the hotel, we loved everything about it, but this was months back, and it was during the pandemic," Tarek told People. "[Things were] a lot stricter, and we had friends and family who were concerned about traveling, and we're concerned about our parents who have some health issues."

Apparently, the couple became stressed about planning a destination wedding during a pandemic and decided to scrap their plans for a wedding closer to home. "Tarek and I hired a wedding planner, sent out our save the dates, and then after rethinking some things we decided to completely change everything," Heather shared. "Tarek saw how stressed I was getting so we decided to go in a different direction with the wedding planner, hired a new one, changed the wedding location, and sent out new save the dates that said 'just kidding.'"

The couple's vision for the big day

When Tarek and Heather changed their wedding plans, they went in a totally new direction, even switching up their wedding planner. "She really gets our wedding vision," explained Heather in an interview with The Knot ahead of the wedding. "We're so busy and it was really important that we told someone our vision and that they took over. I don't need to micromanage and instead, I needed someone to take charge. I'll let the experts do their job."

While we don't know exactly what they had in mind for their former destination wedding, their vision for their reimagined Southern California wedding was more formal and "more intimate." "Tarek and I want a sexy wedding. We're having colors of blacks, whites, champagnes and pops of pink. It's black-tie," Heather said. Elaborating more to People, she said, "I wanted to be able to look back in 10 years and not regret that we chose colors that aren't popular anymore. So it was very sophisticated, elegant, timeless and classy."

Their wedding plans also included a registry, though they almost didn't do one. "After I spoke to my other girlfriends who recently got married, they suggested I have one. Otherwise, people will get us things we don't need," Heather told The Knot.

Filming the big event

Whether or not to film the big event was something the couple had to figure out. "It's a really personal and intimate day, and I don't know if I want my family mic'd up," Heather initially said while speaking with KTLA 5. "I don't know if I want them pulled away while I'm having to film a scene ... it's something we're still in discussion about, but I'm leaning more towards no."

Despite Heather's initial reservations, in the end, she and Tarek did film the wedding, but for a separate special called "Tarek and Heather: The Big I Do" which aired on HGTV and streamed on Discovery+ — rather than including it in an episode of Heather's Netflix show, "Selling Sunset," or Tarek's solo HGTV series, "Flipping 101."

A big reason they decided to film in the end had to do with Tarek's two children, Taylor and Brayden, whom he shares with his ex-wife, Christina Hall. "When we decided to do a wedding special, it wasn't an easy decision because a wedding is so beautiful and intimate and private so we actually went back and forth for months deciding," Heather told Entertainment Tonight (via House Beautiful). She reveals that the decision was partly motivated by Tarek's children. "For a long time it was a no, and as things started going on—like, the tux fitting with Brayden and Taylor's dress shopping—we were [thinking] how cute would that be to film?"

All about the beachfront venue

For Tarek and Heather's Southern California black-tie wedding, they chose a beachfront resort in Montecito, California. While the couple never revealed the name of the hotel, we did some digging and determined that the two got married at the Rosewood Miramar Beach, since the photos of the reception ballroom look identical to the Chandelier Ballroom at the Miramar Beach. The official hotel website describes the 6,561 square-foot ballroom as "soaked in sunlight through boundless windows" featuring "lofty ceilings, rich fabrics and finishes, and bespoke Baccarat chandeliers." The ballroom is accessed via a large indoor reception area; outdoors is a private terrain with expansive lawn space.

Both the bride and the groom were pleased with the space and all the fine details. "It was just so magical. Better than we even expected it to be. We are exhausted, but so happy at the same time," Heather told People. Added Tarek, "It felt like it was straight from a movie. Everything was just spectacular."

Heather's gown and accessories wowed

Of course, Heather's wedding gown did not disappoint. Her dress, designed by Israeli designer Galia Lahav, had a corset on top with sheer embroidered sleeves and a custom lace skirt. The gown included some fine details, such as a sweetheart neckline, crystal embellishments, and hand-crafted beading. "It's so delicate, beautiful and sexy, but classy and timeless. It goes with the Old Hollywood feel of the wedding," Heather shared with People. "It's hard to describe, but it's the prettiest dress I've ever seen in my life."

As for the bride's hair, she had originally wanted to wear it in a mermaid braid, but told People that, in the end, she decided to wear it in a bun to avoid distracting from her dress. "I don't want to cover the detail of the dress because it's so perfect, so I wore my hair in a low bun with a sleek side part and a four-strand braid coming across," Heather explained, adding that her makeup look for the day was "soft, natural and glowy."

She paired her gown with a pair of clear Amina Muaddi pumps. Heather described the fairy tale-like pointed-toe heels with crystal butterfly details as "Cinderella shoes!"

The groom and the ring bearer both looked dashing

For his wedding day, Tarek went with a classic tux with a bit of an edge. His black David August-designed suit was made of velvet and — this is where the edginess comes in — had an interior lining with a print of skulls and crossbones. "It almost looks old New York style, and, honestly, it's my favorite tux I've ever got, hands down," Tarek shared with People. "David killed it. He's an artist."

The groom paired his ensemble with black Christian Louboutin shoes and a black bow tie and white boutonniere. The flowers even matched that of Heather El Moussa's bouquet! The suit Tarek's then-6-year-old son, Brayden, wore for the wedding also had a surprise inside. "Bray got a custom suit and inside of his suit, there are little sharks everywhere," Tarek said. "He loves sharks," added Heather, who said that Brayden also got some surprise shark cufflinks to match.

All about the bridal party and the guests

Tarek and Heather said their "I do's" to 150 of their closest family members and friends, who were required to undergo COVID PCR tests prior to attending. The couple chose to keep their bridal party small, with just Heather's sister, Jenna, serving as maid of honor; Tarek's longtime best friend, Ronnie, as best man; Tarek's son, Brayden, as ring bearer; and his daughter, Taylor, who walked alongside her dad — who first escorted his mom — down the aisle. Heather's "Selling Sunset" family was also present. This included creator Adam DiVello and producer Skyler Wakil, as well as cast members Jason Oppenheim, Chrishell Stause, Mary Fitzgerald, Emma Hernan, Davina Potratz, and Brett Oppenheim.

For Heather, narrowing down the guest list was difficult. "We didn't want to leave anyone out, but we only wanted it to be very special people that we had on our special day," she told People. This meant that no exes were invited. As such, Christina Hall, Tarek's ex-wife and mother of his two children, was not in attendance, as Heather shared during an episode of PeopleTV's "Reality Check." "You try to say 'hi' to everyone and have moments with everyone, but it's just impossible. But we really made a point to spend time with our family and the kids," Heather told People for a separate wedding feature. "And we literally danced all night. It was incredible."

The wedding ceremony was truly beautiful

The ceremony — which Heather described to People as "magical" — was held on the lawn outside the hotel. A glossy black 100-foot aisle decorated with white bouquets of roses, tulips, orchids, lisianthus, and hydrangeas led the way to the altar. A dramatic floral arch framed the start of the aisle, with three intertwined arches enhancing the altar. Heather made her entrance down the aisle with her father, a special moment for both of them. "Walking down the aisle with my dad was always a dream of mine ... Having my dad walk me down the aisle and hand me off to my husband was everything," she told People.

The ceremony was officiated by Roger Behle, Tarek's friend and attorney. After the couple shared their personally-written vows with one another and with Tarek's kids, Brayden and Taylor, they kissed for the first time as husband and wife. Afterwards, Tarek planned a special surprise for his bride prior to the recessional. "Right after we said our vows and we were pronounced husband and wife, he had me look up in the sky," Heather said. "So I looked up, and there was writing in the sky" using environmentally-friendly smoke. Added Tarek, "It said, 'To my wife, me and you always and forever.'"

The wedding was full of sentimental moments

Tarek and Heather's big day also included some sentimental moments, one being the moment the groom first saw the bride in her wedding gown (they chose not to do a "first look" to make the moment a true surprise). "It was magical. She looked so beautiful," Tarek told People of his beautiful bride. "Her hair was perfect. Her makeup was perfect. She had the coolest wedding dress I've ever seen. I was just smiling huge from ear to ear."

Another was when Tarek walked down the aisle alongside his daughter Taylor. "I walked my mom down the aisle. I was fine," Tarek described to People. "And then the song 'Shallow' comes on, which is one of me and Heather's songs, and I'm going to get Taylor to walk down the aisle, and I just broke down. Taylor, she's my everything, I just got so emotional." Heather was just as emotional while walking down the aisle alongside her father while an original song played in the background.

The cocktail hour and reception were for celebrating

After the ceremony, the bride and groom celebrated with their family and friends at their cocktail hour held outside of the reception ballroom. Guests were treated to sparkling wine and signature drinks which featured ice cubes engraved with the couple's initials. A violinist and saxophonist provided the background music for everyone to enjoy, per People. A photo booth with props was included as part of the evening's fun.

Afterwards, per another article from People, the newlyweds and their guests were led into the ballroom for the reception, which was decorated in tones of white, black, champagne, and gold along with hydrangeas, lisianthus, orchids, roses, and tulips. Crystal candelabras hung from the ceiling for a truly elegant look. The bride and groom were announced as they made their grand entrance as the new Mr. and Mrs. El Moussa. 

According to Heather, the most difficult part of wedding planning for her was determining the guest list and the seating chart during the reception. "I really kind of like laid out all the [guests'] names, and started pairing on a piece of paper who I thought would be fun together," she said, "who would laugh together, and dance, and have fun and just drink together."

The playlist for the evening

Inside the ballroom, the party got into full swing. Tarek and Heather embarked on their first dance together of the night to "One Man Band" from Old Dominion. "It literally symbolizes our relationship," Tarek explained to People. "It's about this guy that's tired of going out and performing and being famous and being by himself. He's tired of being a one man band, he wants someone to live that life with. And I was a one man band until I met Heather."

Other selected songs included "My Girl" by The Temptations, which Tarek danced to with his daughter Taylor, and "Dirrty" by Christina Aguilera, which blared during the bouquet toss.

To encourage their guests to dance the night away to the tunes spun by the DJ, the couple provided flip flops for their guests customized with photos from their Catalina Island engagement and engagement photo shoot.

The food, the cake, and the decadent dessert

At every wedding, we look forward to sitting down to a delicious meal. Tarek and Heather surely did not disappoint with their selected menu, which included plant-based ​​bolognese, prime filet with a truffle crust, and halibut with roasted squash — meals which each displayed a fall flair. "We wanted the food to be more eclectic... to have flair," Heather, a longtime vegan and advocate for animal rights, told People of the menu. "We wanted our guests to experience the hotel's food, because this hotel has such an incredible vegan menu and such an incredible menu, in general."

As for our favorite part of the meal, the dessert? The couple served two separate wedding cakes: "We did one vegan, peanut butter chocolate for me and the other one was gluten-free, raspberry-filled chocolate" for Tarek, who has celiac disease, explained Heather. The couple's gorgeous four-tiered cake was created by French pastry chef Yannick Dumonceau and decorated with black fondant, gold leaf, and white orchids. The dessert bar included lots of other delectables: coconut cheesecakes, nut-free brownies, fruit tarts, a macaron tower, eclairs, and miniature waffle cones. As the night went on, guests were treated to some wood-fire grilled pizza and cotton candy, which was made to order for each guest.

The happy family

While some aspects of Tarek and Heather's big day needed to be determined, one thing the couple was certain about was their desire to involve their families in the festivities. "We really wanted the weekend to be about our whole family, not just about me and Tarek," Heather shared with People. "We both love our families so much, and our families have united together, and we're so lucky they love each other and get along. The whole night was so emotional."

It was important for the couple to have Tarek's children, Taylor and Brayden, there with them as they said their vows. "Being able to share that moment with the kids, and share vows with the kids... that was probably my favorite part," Heather described to People. Added Tarek, "They came up while we were at the altar and stood with us. And that's the first time we were officially, legally a family of four, so that was very special."

For Heather, who was once unsure if she wanted to have a family of her own, getting a bonus family right away was something totally unexpected. "I never knew I could feel love like I have for the kids and for Tarek. They've given me a family," explained Heather, who had no trouble getting close to Tarek's kids after the two began dating after meeting in 2019. "They've opened my heart up so much and made me more patient, and loving and understanding."