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Heather Rae Young 'Started Bawling' Before Walking Down the Aisle with Dad: 'I Kept Saying, "I Can't Do This"'

·3 min read
heather rae young
heather rae young

Heather Rae Young/Instagram

Heather Rae Young couldn't wait to get married to Tarek El Moussa — but that doesn't mean she wasn't a bundle of nerves before she walked down the aisle.

"Honestly, I was more nervous than I've ever been in my life," the Selling Sunset star, 34, tells PEOPLE exclusively of the moments before she headed to the altar on Saturday. She explains her fear wasn't over tying the knot — something the couple have been looking forward to for 14 months. Instead, she says, she was "nervous with anticipation of walking towards Tarek."

"I was standing with my dad, and I started bawling, crying. And obviously, I'm about to walk down the aisle to Tarek, so I don't want my makeup to be ruined," she recalls with a laugh. "I kept saying, 'I can't do this. I can't do this.' Because I just couldn't control my tears."

The model-turned-reality star says she spent five or ten minutes of private time with her dad before he walked her down the aisle, and it was incredibly emotional for both of them.

RELATED: Inside Tarek El Moussa & Heather Rae Young's 'Magical' Old Hollywood Wedding: 'We're So Lucky'

heather rae young
heather rae young

Heather Rae Young/Instagram

"Walking down the aisle with my dad was always a dream of mine," Heather (who is now using her married name, Heather Rae El Moussa) shares. " I hate that I'm saying this, but I wanted him to see me walk down the aisle and become a wife before he passes away."

She explains that it meant even more to her because, before meeting El Moussa, she wasn't sure she would find true love.

"It was a very special moment to me, because I never knew I was going to find my soulmate. And I know my parents want nothing more than for me to be with a man that protects me and loves me like Tarek does. Having my dad walk me down the aisle and hand me off to my husband was everything."

tarek el moussa and heather rae young wedding
tarek el moussa and heather rae young wedding

Duke Images

When they finally managed to keep their tears at bay, Heather and her dad walked down the 100-foot long, glossy black aisle — lined with all-white bouquets of roses, orchids, tulips, lisianthus and hydrangeas.

The couple chose not to do a "first look" before the ceremony, so Heather's wedding dress would be a surprise for Tarek, 40.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young Are Married: 'The Love I've Always Dreamed of'

el moussa wedding
el moussa wedding

Tarek El Moussa/Instagram

"It was magical. She looked so beautiful," he says of the first moment he saw his now-wife. "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."

RELATED VIDEO: Tarek El Moussa and Heather Rae Young Have Been 'Inseparable' Since the Day They Met: 'When We're Together the World Stops'

Both Tarek and Heather's extended families were in attendance to watch the couple tie the knot, including Tarek's two kids — daughter Taylor, 11, and son Brayden, 6 — whom he shares with his first wife and Flip or Flop co-star Christina Haack.

The kids played a large part in the special day — with Tarek and Heather each reading original vows to them — which was important to the couple as they wanted family to be the main focus of the celebration.

"We really wanted the weekend to be about our whole family, not just about me and Tarek," Heather says. "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."

For more details and photos from the wedding, pick up the issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday, October 29.

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