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Sunday, November 14, 2023

‘I Am So Thankful I Found Her’

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Ben Higgins, Jess Clarke

Ben Higgins/Instagram

Ben Higgins is a married man!

The former Bachelor tied the knot with fiancée Jessica Clarke in a romantic ceremony on Saturday at The Estate in Cherokee Dock near Nashville, Tennessee, PEOPLE exclusively confirms.

Guests, who were all either vaccinated or had received negative COVID tests, included fellow Bachelor franchise alums such as Nick Viall, Becca Kufrin and Thomas Jacobs, Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconnetti, and Wells Adams, who also served as a groomsman.

“I am so excited,” Higgins, 32, tells PEOPLE. “We have so much to look forward to. And I know we will have a beautiful marriage.”

RELATED: Ben Higgins’ Fiancée Jessica Clarke Says She’s ‘Never Felt More Beautiful’ at Wedding Dress Fitting

During the “simple and beautiful” ceremony, planned by Sara Fried of Fete Nashville and photographed by Jordan Voth, Clarke, 25, who got engaged to Higgins in March 2020, walked down the aisle in a gown by Anne Barge, while the groom wore a tuxedo. Clarke and Higgins exchanged personalized vows and the ceremony also featured a scripture reading and quotes from Winnie-the-Pooh that were specially selected by the couple.

Following the ceremony, guests headed to a lakeside reception for cocktails and individually packed dinners featuring the couple’s favorite foods — including pizza and sliders — while The Taylor Pace Orchestra played.

Higgins and Clarke, who met via social media in 2018, gushed to PEOPLE about each other days before the wedding.

RELATED: Ben Higgins Reveals He and Fiancé Jessica Clarke Are Sleeping in Different Beds Until They Wed

“Ben doesn’t just make me want to be a better person, but he actually makes me a better person,” said Clarke. “He assures me in all of my dreams and all of my goals. I never thought I’d have a partner that accepted every part of me.”

Said Higgins: “Jessica is so incredibly empathetic and caring. She encourages me and she supports me and I know she cares about who I am and where I’m going. I’m so excited that I get to love her — and be loved by her — every single day. And I am so thankful that I found her.”

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