When actress Tasha Smith exchanged vows with husband Keith Douglas earlier this month, the couple kept the ceremony low-key, holding the affair in the living room of their Los Angeles house.
"We discussed having a small wedding with close family and friends, but instead, we decided to hold a very simple, intimate ceremony with just us and our pastor," Smith, 39, tells Essence. "We prayed about it, and it just felt right for us."
Smith and Douglas, an entrepreneur, announced their engagement six months ago.
For Smith – who next appears on the big screen alongside Angela Bassett and Paula Patton in romantic comedy Jumping the Broom – the wedding is a fairytale ending to a less-than-perfect past.
"I've been to the worst place I could ever be," she told PEOPLE in 2007 of her childhood in Camden, N.J., where she grew up in a city wrought with gangsters, drugs and poverty – and one of the highest murder rates in the nation. "But I always had a dream."
Smith was previously married to a youth counselor, who she divorced in 2007. Now back from her Sin City honeymoon at the Lake Las Vegas resort, she says her wedding was the best way to cap off the year.
"It was a beautiful, blessed moment that we will remember forever," she says.