PHOTO: Carlos Santana Weds Drummer Cindy Blackman

01/05/2011 at 11:00 AM EST

Carlos Santana Weds Drummer Cindy Blackman in Hawaii
Cindy Blackman and Carlos Santana
James Bruch
Carlos Santana and his new bride, drummer Cindy Blackman, didn't let a little rain ruin their wedding day.

"The weather was kind of iffy, so we said, 'Let's just do it inside,' " the guitar legend Santana, 63, tells PEOPLE of their Dec. 19 nuptials at the Ritz-Carlton on Maui. "Because no matter where we did it, the sun was shining."

"Rain represents mercy," adds Blackman, 51. "It couldn't have been more beautiful."

In fact, the couple fully embraced the weather: "My favorite part of the ceremony was when we washed our hands in a bowl of rainwater," says Blackman, adding that the gesture was suggested by Santana's son (from his first marriage), Salvador.



"We absolved ourselves of all things past and all things future except the two of us. It felt so clearing to do that," she says.

Santana and Blackman, a jazz and rock drummer often recognized for her work with Lenny Kravitz, were feted by 180 guests, including comedian George Lopez and musician pals Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, who performed at the reception.



"That took the wedding to a whole other level of the word supreme," says the groom.

Blackman, who wore a custom-made silk dress from the Zurich boutique Zoro for the ceremony, says she and Santana, who proposed during a concert last July, also released doves "to release our purity and love into the cosmos."

After honeymooning in Hawaii over the holidays, the guitarist is already back to work – he kicks off his new residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Wednesday – but is basking in the glow of married life.

"Cindy is a match with everything that I am, from fire of passion to vulnerability," he says. "Everything tastes better when you share it with your soul mate."

For more on this and other celebrity holiday weddings, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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