At any wedding, there's always one factor that's hard to predict: Will the flower girl and ring bearer really make it down the aisle? So at their July 5th nuptials, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson breathed a huge sigh of relief when their 2-year-old daughter Maxwell proudly walked hand-in-hand with her cousin Bronx, Ashlee Simpson's 5-year-old son, followed by the couple's 1-year-old son Ace. "We've anticipated this for so long," says Simpson, who exchanged traditional vows with the former NFL player in front of 275 guests at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif.

Johnson was left speechless when he first saw his fashion-mogul bride in her custom Carolina Herrera champagne gown with delicate gold embroidery. "She was all lit up and beautiful. I think my heart was exploding a bit," says the groom, 34, who wore a custom charcoal gray tuxedo by John Varvatos, Simpson's costar on Fashion Star. Maids of honor, mom Tina and sister Ashlee waited for her down the aisle alongside her 12 bridesmaids all dressed in different designer gowns handpicked by Simpson. Next to them was her future husband standing with his father, Stephen, who served as best man, Johnson's 11 groomsmen (including Ashlee's fiancé Evan Ross) and Simpson's dad, Joe, who officiated the nondenominational ceremony.

After tucking into a four-course meal of crab cakes and short ribs or sea bass, guests flooded the dance floor as a live band performed songs ranging from Motown to classic rock. "Everybody had the time of their lives," says Simpson. The pair then hosted an afterparty on the ranch, where festivities didn't end until 5:30 a.m. "The whole weekend has been completely magical for all of us," says Simpson.

Much more on Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson's wedding, including exclusive photos and details on the gown, the guests and more are featured in this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere now.

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