The former ‘Bachelor’ host said “I do” to Zima during an intimate Napa Valley ceremony on Oct. 14 and again on Saturday during a blowout bash in Texas
Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima said “I do” — twice!
The former Bachelor host, 52, and his producer fiancée, 35, married in two weddings—first an “emotional, jubilant” ceremony in Napa Valley, Calif., on Oct. 14, followed by a “blowout bash” at a ranch in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 4.
“As much as we wanted an intimate weekend for our wedding ceremony in Napa, we also wanted to celebrate getting married with all the great friends we have — hence this bigger party,” Zima tells PEOPLE. “Doing the second event in Austin [where the couple lives full-time] gave us the ability to include all of our friends, and also made sure that we didn’t leave our wedding feeling like we didn’t even see any of our loved ones— a story we’ve heard before.”
‘Everything’s Bigger in Texas’
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To kick off the festivities in the Lone Star state, the couple hosted a “Bachelor World” reunion at their home on Friday night with Wells Adams and Sarah Hyland, Ben Higgins and wife Jessica, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham, Sean and Catherine Lowe, JoJo Fletcher, Trista Sutter, Colton Underwood and Jordan C. Brown, plus Bob Guiney and Jessica Canyon among other alums. The group got to “reminisce,” says Harrison, adding with a laugh, “Then at the end of the night, I’m going to tell 10 of them that they will be going home broken-hearted and can’t come to the wedding.”
The following day, Harrison and Zima hosted their 225 guests (including the Bachelor alums) for their outdoor ceremony and “cowboy cocktail party.”
“They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s what we’re leaning into,” says Harrison of the nuptials. “We’ve asked guests to come ready to party!”
The night began with shots of the pair’s favorite Siempre Tequila and signature cocktails including “The Final Rose” and “The Bachelor No More” as nods to Harrison’s nearly 20- year run as host of the long-running ABC show. Hall Wines served their Hall Sauvignon Blanc, WALT Chardonnay, 1873 Cabernet Sauvignon, BACA Zinfandel and WALT Pinot Noir.
Zima wore the same Sottero & Midgley strapless, A-line, satin wedding dress that she wore to their Napa wedding in October, and the couple did a shortened version of their first ceremony and vows.
“The running joke was whether we could find a way for Chris to officiate his own wedding, since he has so much experience,” adds Zima, “but instead we had Mike Levitt, Chris’ longtime friend.”
Something Pretty Floral in Dallas blended fall foliage and lush blooms for the affair’s stunning florals, while Harrison’s friend Cameron Treu, owner of Bam Bams BBQ, cooked up brisket, pulled pork, sausage, turkey, coleslaw, mac and cheese, potato salad and banana pudding. They also served warm chocolate chip cookies from their favorite, Tiff’s Treats, and Zima’s mom Donna made a few of her famous homemade desserts for the crowd: gooey butter cake and red velvet cake pops.
Musician William Beckman performed and as a tribute to Lauren’s dad Gary Zima, who died in 2010, Beckman sang their favorite song — “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra, for the couple’s first dance.
Related: Who Is Chris Harrison’s Fiancée? All About Lauren Zima
“We now live full-time in Austin and have loved every minute of it,” says Zima. “We moved here in part to start a new chapter of life together in a place neither of us had lived before, so we wanted to celebrate in the place where we’ve built our life together and with the people we’ve gotten close to
Their California Dream
For the couple’s Oct. 14 nuptials, they chose California wine country. The location is “near and dear” to their hearts, as it’s where Harrison popped the question to Zima back in Oct. 2021.
“We used to live in southern California, and we would visit Napa a lot,” explains Harrison. “Through the years, we have made so many incredible friends and so many lasting memories here. Napa has been a part of our relationship all along. When we thought about where we wanted this meaningful celebration, it just made sense to end up back where it all began.”
Adds Zima: “Great people, great wine, that’s really all you need for a great wedding!”
The night before their California “I do’s,” the pair hosted a welcome party at Lokoya Winery, where their close friend former Bachelor Andrew Firestone emceed the evening and opera singer Nadine Levitt performed.
The wine flowed all night and the group snacked on small plates of caviar, braised short ribs with celery root purée, crispy parmesan potatoes with bordelaise aioli and duck confit with root vegetable hash plus a massive charcuterie board.
For the California nuptials, the couple kept their wedding party small, with Zima’s sister and Harrison’s daughter Taylor on her side, while Harrison’s brother, his son Joshua and Zima’s brother joined as his groomsmen. (Harrison’s two children are from his previous marriage.)
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“As we thought about what we wanted to do, we wanted to make sure we had those emotional, intimate moments with our family and our very closest friends,” explains Zima of their celebration.
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“I’ve just heard a lot of people say that on your wedding day, you don’t get the time with everybody, so we decided to do a really small, intimate ceremony, with the people who have really been there with us since the beginning of our relationship.”
For her walk down the aisle, the bride wore the Aspen dress by Sottero & Midgley.
“I knew it was the one, because I tried on maybe 15 dresses and kept comparing each one to this one. I even cried when I saw myself in it, which I didn’t think would happen,” she says. Harrison and his wedding party all wore custom suits from his favorite Dallas store, Ken’s Man’s Shop.
On her way down the aisle in Napa to meet Harrison, a piano version of “La Vie en Rose” played as a nod to the couple’s romance. “I love that song, because it’s all about how true love leads you to a happy life,” says Zima. “And roses are a thing in our lives,” says Zima. “We met because I covered The Bachelor, and certainly roses were in Chris’ life for 20 years,” she explains.
Following the couple’s personal vows, they exchanged rings by M. Robinson Fine Jewelers and joined their guests for dinner at Roy Estate, where Zima changed into her second look of the night, a gown by Olivia Bottega.
“We wanted to lean into the time of year that we’re getting married: harvest in Napa,” Zima told PEOPLE ahead of their celebration. “It’s the region’s most important season, and it’s a magical time when the grapes are picked, and the colors of the vines start to change. Our colors are shades of cabernet and chardonnay, deep greens and bronzes. We wanted to pair with the nature all around us.”
She continues: “The vineyards and the setting sun speak for itself. And the Roy tasting room is so gorgeous, it doesn’t need much!”
The three-course dinner by chef Tom Stafford included caprese salad with burrata, short rib ravioli with mascarpone and a wagyu filet with grilled vegetables.
In lieu of a wedding cake, the pair opted for a chocolate délice mousse with black currant and crunchy meringue. “We were all in for the perfect pairing of chocolate and cabernet,” says Zima.
During the reception, Harrison’s daughter Taylor sang one of the couple’s favorite songs, “Beyond” by Leon Bridges. “It came out when we first started dating and has always been meaningful for us. To have Taylor sing it for our first dance was a beautifully tearful moment,” says Zima.
At the late-night after party, guests danced the night away as they sipped on cocktails and enjoyed late-night french fries, fried chicken sandwiches, donut holes and pizza.
The Final Rose: Their Bachelor Love Story
Zima and Harrison first connected when she interviewed him in 2016 while she was working as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and was tasked with covering the Bachelor franchise.
“I went to interview him, and I wasn’t very familiar with the [Bachelor]. I was texting some of my girlfriends from home them after telling them about my day and they said, ‘Oh my gosh, Chris Harrison. Is he so handsome in person? Oh, wow. Are you so nervous?’ I was like, ‘Not really. I don’t really know who this guy is.'”
Harrison jokingly adds: “It was love at first sight, is what she’s trying to say!”
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Zima interviewed Harrison many times before their relationship turned romantic. After a “wonderful” first date where they talked for hours, Harrison knew he’d found something special with Zima.
“I think for both of us, it was kind of a steady ascent and it never wavered, which was wonderful,” he says. “It wasn’t a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in our relationship. It’s always just been this beautiful kind of steady climb together where each date, each time with our family, it just opened another door that we really liked about each other.”
For Zima, the feeling was mutual. “Early on I thought to myself, ‘I could marry this guy,'”she recalls. “It just felt easy and natural. He’s the best partner, and I’m just happy every day.”
Related: Chris Harrison Remembers ‘Sneaking Around’ with Girlfriend Lauren Zima in 2-Year Anniversary Post
As the newlyweds continue to cherish every moment from their two weddings, they both feel lucky to get to spend life with one another.
“I didn’t know what real partnership was until Chris,” says Zima. “He is my teammate and supports
me in everything. When you have someone tell you, and Chris actually says these things to me, he says, ‘I want to make your dreams come true. I want to do what I can to make you happy.’ That level of selflessness from someone is mind-blowing and is what partnership should be. I think we both feel that way about each other.”
Adds Harrison: “Lauren is not just brilliant, but she is kind and she will love others to exhaustion. That quality, that magnetism that draws people in and makes everybody feel like they’re the only person in the world right then, is so rare. She loves me in ways that I never dreamed I could be loved.”
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