Dancing With the Stars pro Witney Carson is accustomed to gliding across the ballroom, but now she knows what it feels like to walk down the aisle.
Carson wed her high school sweetheart, Carson McAllister, during a three-part celebration in the Salt Lake City area on New Year’s Day, PEOPLE can confirm exclusively.
“I’m just excited to start our lives together,” says Carson, who exchanged rings with McAllisterat a small religious ceremony before hosting a large dinner and reception at NOAH’s Event Center in Lindon, Utah.
In addition to the “over 100” relatives present at the reception, Carson’s DWTS family was also in attendance. Her fellow pro dancers Emma Slater,Lindsay Arnold, Brittany Cherry, and Jenna Johnson served as bridesmaids (in Amsale bridesmaids gowns) while her former DWTS partners Carlos Penavega, Chris Soules, and Alfonso Ribeiro attended as guests along with dance pro Kym Johnson and Alexa PenaVega, the wife of Carson’s latest DWTS partner, Carlos.
Carson wore a gown designed by Rivini and the event was organized by celebrity wedding planner Michael Russo. The wedding party were gifted monogrammed clutches (for bridesmaids) and wallets (for groomsmen) by Gigi New York.
The couple, both 22, started dating during their senior year of high school, but their love story actually starts years before that.
“She was my dream girl since 7th grade. But she didn’t know I existed until senior year,” says McAllister. “We became really close friends and kinda started dating. From the second I got to know her, I could tell she was the most loving and understanding girl I’d ever met.”
After graduating high school, Mcallister spent two years in Romania on a mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Carson went on to compete on the Fox reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance.
The two wrote e-mails and sent packages to each other but “we had to make a lot of sacrifices,” Carson says of making things work while thousands of miles apart.
The long-distance relationship continued while Carson joined the cast of DWTS and McAllister enrolled in college and went into business with his father.
“We’ve been in this limbo where he’s in Utah and I’m in L.A. and we haven’t been able to create a life together,” says Carson. “Now, we get to have a fresh start together. I’m excited. He’s my best friend.”
Echoes McAllister: “She’s my best friend. I can’t wait to spend forever with her.”