Maria Menounos has not been shy about making things official with her longtime love, Keven Undergaro. In March 2016, after 19 years together, the couple got engaged on-air during Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show. And on Sunday night, they tied the knot right in the middle of Times Square on live TV as part of Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey special!
While finding her groom was easy, tracking down the perfect dress for a New Year’s Eve wedding was a challenge for Menounos. Being that the ceremony was held outside in freezing New York City, the TV and Sirius XM radio host knew she had to find a dress that not only looked good on camera, but also protected her from the elements.
“You have to think you’re outside in Times Square, it’s freezing, you need something beautiful but appropriate,” Menounos tells PEOPLE exclusively.
So she started the dress search where every bride does — on Pinterest. “I quickly went onto Pinterest and started looking at wedding gowns. I’ve never really been that girl that’s done that,” she explains. “I never really envisioned that day.”
In her search, she found a Pronovias gown and immediately knew she needed to try it on. But once she got to the showroom and finally put on her dream gown, she discovered there might be a few hiccups.
“I had to think production-wise, I may have one or two minutes to get into this thing, I’m getting dressed in a storage container in Times Square in the freezing cold, and I can’t have something that had a little lining underneath. If you didn’t do it just right, your underwear lines messed up or you’re going to see them. I was like, ‘This is not the dress.’”
For more exclusive details on Maria Menounos’ wedding, pick up the next issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Jan. 12
Luckily, there was an option even better sitting in the showroom. And once she tried on a second dress, she knew it was the one immediately. “The cameraman who doesn’t even know me, cried,” she shares. “It was such a moment, I cried too.”
Menounos ended up choosing Pronovias’ strapless lace “Randala” design, with a mermaid silhouette, sweetheart neckline and mesh detail on the bodice to add “just a touch” of sexy. The gown also comes with a matching lace detachable coat featuring a dramatic train (perfect for the freezing temperatures in Times Square!).
“It took my breath away,” she says. “When I started crying, I was like, ‘This is clearly the dress.’”
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Embracing tradition, Menounos didn’t want Undergaro to see her dress until their wedding day especially because it’s such a switch-up from her usual style. “It’s so not me to be so girly and princess-y or maybe it was me and it was just so repressed,” she says. “That’s probably the truth.”
RELATED VIDEO: Maria Menounos Reveals She Was Diagnosed with a Brain Tumor—While Her Mom Is Fighting Stage IV Brain Cancer
The wedding starts a fresh new year for Menounos who faced a challenging 2017. After caring for her mother who has stage 4 brain cancer, she discovered that she had a golf-ball-size meningioma brain tumor herself. She later had a successful surgery that removed 99.9 percent of the tumor, which was benign.
Now looking back, she says the experience she went through was “a gift,” she told PEOPLE last summer. “I saw it as a huge blessing because I needed to change my life.”
Menounos continued: “As women, we’re always thinking you have to be the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, worker, everything, it’s exhausting,” she said. “We’re caretakers and we put ourselves last. Always. I guess I realized I didn’t value myself in a lot of ways. That was a really important lesson for me.”
So far, 2018 is already turning out to be a very exciting next chapter in that journey.