As a first-time bride, Daphne Zuniga wanted to make sure her wedding to businessman David Mleczko was “poignant and private.”
So on June 8, surrounded by just 30 members of their family, the actress and director, 56 – beloved for her roles on One Tree Hill and Melrose Place – married her longtime beau David Mleczko, 67, in an intimate ceremony at Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“I love being married!” Zuniga tells PEOPLE exclusively. “I feel younger, really happy and have more energy. I keep looking at my ring and hugging my new husband!”
Zuniga, who wore a gown designed by friend Nicole Miller, walked down the aisle to Etta James’ song “At Last,” escorted by her parents, Joaquin and Agnes.
The bride and groom, who chose Ralph Lauren for his jacket and slacks, wrote their own vows but opted for their officiant, close friend and New York Times bestselling author Sharon Salzberg, to read them during the ceremony.
“My favorite moment was listening to David’s beautiful words to me,” Zuniga says. “I was teary.”
Surrounded by flower arrangements by Field & Vase, Zuniga and Mleczko exchanged respective rings by Tiffany & Co and Cabochon Fine Jewelry. After the ceremony, the couple hosted their guests over a three-course, family-style lunch with dishes such as deviled eggs, pea salad, Tamarind beef, halibut and chickpea stew and crispy potatoes. Desserts included Baked Alaska and Turkish-style profiteroles.
The couple, who also celebrated the night before the wedding with a dinner at Cedar Hill Dairy Joy, danced on the patio to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” before the bride took a twirl with her father as well.
Set up on a blind date more than 12 years ago, Zuniga and Mleczko, who co-founded the PR company, Signature Green, got engaged a decade later.
“Part of the reason I waited all these years is because I always felt when I got married my wings were going to be clipped and I knew my career was the center of my life,” the actress and director says. “When I met David and I brought that fear with me, I was just completely wrong. He is so supportive.”
Next seen in Gates of Paradise on Lifetime, Zuniga is also directing the new film, The Waiting Room, which will begin production this summer. But for now, she’s simply enjoying being a newlywed.
“My heart starts to burst when I think about it,” she says of being married to Mleczko. “I’m calling him ‘husband’ like a thousand times a day.”