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Selling Sunset star Heather Rae Young and HGTV mainstay Tarek El Moussa are immersed in wedding planning as they count down to their big day. In fact, the couple just celebrated their impending nuptials with a "perfect" and "special" engagement party. They invited friends and family to a meaningful spot in Newport Beach, California.
And if all the couple milestones these two have already passed are any indication, this relationship seems built to last. In under a year, Heather and Tarek started dating, hung out together with Tarek's kids, moved in together, and capped it all off with a romantic marriage proposal. But hey, when you know, you know, right?
This whirlwind romance began in July 2019, and while the journey to finding each other was a little bumpy, these two were so sure of one another when they met that they committed to being exclusive on their second date.
Here's the full timeline of Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa's relationship from the very beginning:
July 4, 2019: The two meet when Tarek spotted Heather on a yacht near his own.
You might even say there were fireworks when Tarek honked his horn to get Heather's attention and asked her out. At the time, the Flip or Flop host had finalized his divorce from co-host Christina Anstead a year prior and was six years out from recovering from two types of cancer, according to House Beautiful. Heather, meanwhile, was in another relationship at the time and turned Tarek down, but she must have also been feelin' the love that day because paparazzi spotted the the two canoodling a few weeks later on July 28 on a yacht in Redondo Beach, Calif., People later reported.
"I’ll never forget the first time I saw her," Tarek recently wrote on Instagram. "It was the last thing I ever expected but I met the love of my life. The second our eyes connected and we smiled at each other I knew my life would never be the same."
July 22, 2019: The two become "official" on their second date.
While the couple didn't publicly reveal their relationship status on Instagram until August 8, both noted in their anniversary posts this week that they had actually decided to have "the talk" during their second date.
What other secrets had the couple been keeping? People reported in January 2020 that the two had moved in together (although splitting time between their two houses) a week after their first date, which Tarek also noted in his anniversary Instagram caption.
August 13, 2019: The couple appears in their first interview together.
Dressed up and looking very much in love, the two discussed their relationship with PeopleTV for their first joint interview. While both are still filming their own reality shows for their respective networks, unfortunately, there won't be any Selling Sunset/Flip or Flop crossover episodes happening anytime soon.
"I’d love him to but, unfortunately, right now because of his work and his contract, he can't be on the show," Heather tells Women's Health of Tarek appearing on Selling Sunset. "Having a reality show and not being able to show the biggest parts of my life, Tarek, you know... it's been a little bit difficult because I want him [to be] a part of my show and my life. And yeah, it's been like a little missing piece to the puzzle."
December 6, 2019: Heather poses with Tarek and his two kids, Taylor and Brayden, for a family Christmas photo.
Based on previous Instagram photos, Tarek's two kids from his marriage to Christina were already spending some QT with Heather, but any doubts of the seriousness of their relationship were squashed when Heather was part of the family's holiday photo. "The kids welcomed me into their life from day one," the luxury real estate agent also tells Women's Health. "Like night one, Taylor made up a dance for me with her cousin. They started calling us 'Teather' from the very beginning. I basically met the family and then never moved out."
May 6, 2020: Tarek and Heather buy and move into a new house together.
The couple finally found a joint real estate venture when they bought one of their own. Though the timing might not have been ideal for a move, the couple told People that they had been looking at houses before the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to make it work with lots of gloves and masks and a little bit of "chaos."
July 22, 2020: Tarek and Heather share #couplegoals anniversary tributes.
As they kicked off their anniversary celebrations, the couple shared a series of photos on Instagram that were serious #couplegoals. "From the first day I met you, to our first date and our second date when we decided to commit 100% before we barely even knew each other," the former Playboy Playmate wrote in her caption. "But we knew what we had was special. We had that butterflies in your tummy, can’t eat, can’t stop smiling soul mate love. ❤️"
July 25, 2020: Tarek surprises Heather by proposing.
During their romantic, anniversary Catalina Island getaway, Tarek proposed and Heather said yes. He gave her a giant bunch of her fave flowers (5,000 of 'em) as well as a diamond after getting down on one knee.
Tarek says it's a “special place” for them, and they “love to be on the boat together," per People. He surprised Heather by popping the question on the beach, and she said yes. It's safe to say Catalina is extra special now.
Speaking of the diamond, Tarak chose an eight carat, colorless, emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. "The diamond is perfect all the way around, just like Heather," he told People. "I also picked this ring because 8 is a lucky number."
July 30, 2020: Heather shares all the romantic details of their engagement.
Amid their post-engagement bliss, both Heather and Tarek couldn't stop gushing about each other. They both shared more details from their picture-perfect proposal.
She wrote in the Instagram caption of the moment: "I couldn’t see anything as I was walked down to the beach. There were cabanas lined up covering everything. I was rushed around the corner to what I thought would be a dinner on the sand. But when I walked around the corner Tarek was standing there looking so handsome in his tux. I was confused for the first 15 seconds as I walked down the gorgeous candle & flower aisle wondering what the heck is going on. Then I thought OMG is he proposing??? No way!!!! But in my head I talked Myself out of it thinking well I bet it’s earrings!!! I didn’t want to get my hopes up."
Tarek posted the same mid-proposal pic and what's been going through his mind lately. "If you told me 13 months ago I would be engaged today I would have called you crazy," he wrote. "You just can’t predict what’s going to happen. One moment you are sitting there and the next your life is completely different. The second I saw @heatherraeyoung I knew my life would never be the same. She’s not only become my best friend but she’s also incredible to Tay and Bray."
August 2020: Heather starts planning for a summer 2021 wedding.
While she and Tarek haven't settled on an exact date, they do have a good idea of what they want for their special day already. One thing is for sure, they don't want it filmed. Unfortunately, Selling Sunset fans likely won't get to watch the couple say "I do" on Netflix.
“I think Tarek’s and mine will probably be a very intimate but very beautiful wedding. We’re still trying to decide how big, how small,” Heather told People. “But right now, we’ve talked, and we’re leaning towards no, not having it filmed.”
Like Tarek's romantic proposal, they're looking at California beach venues. “We have not chosen a specific date, we’re looking at a couple different locations—we want to do it in California somewhere on the beach,” she told People. “We’re thinking within this next year. So probably summer 2021."
Heather also started her hunt for the perfect wedding dress. She shared all about shopping and crowdsourced ideas from followers on Instagram: "So I tried on wedding dresses on Monday with my beautiful mama. What a special day it was. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was envisioning myself walking down the aisle towards @therealtarekelmoussa and thinking what would he love me in. When he sees me I want him to say Wow she’s mine! 😊"
Tarek's kids will definitely play a role. "Absolutely the kids are going to be involved," she explained. “I’m going to have Taylor stand up on my side and he’s going to have Brayden stand up on his side." His ex, Christina Anstead, will not get an invite and neither will Ant.
"We have a very civil, great relationship with them for the kids. The kids are number one, that’s the most important, but that’s kind of where it stops,” Heather says. “I don’t think I would like to have his ex at my wedding.”
November 2020: Heather and Tarek sample wedding cakes.
The couple has double the decisions because they plan to serve a plant-based and a traditional confection at their wedding. They filmed the taste test for HGTV.
"I have been SO excited about wedding cake tasting because I love sweet stuff. We plan to have 2 cakes, one plant based and one normal. And I put @therealtarekelmoussa through a tasting quiz.... which 3 were vegan?!?"
The final verdict? "I’m leaning towards chocolate peanut butter!!! 💍♾👏🏼"
Dec. 9, 2020: Heather tries on rehearsal dinner dresses with Selling Sunset co-star Chrishell Stause.
It didn't take long for her to figure out Tarek was the one, but saying yes to the dress is a process. Heather and Chrishell visited Galia Lahav Haute Couture, and paparazzi photos showed Heather in an embellished, short white dress. Chrishell also wore a short white dress with feathers and extra sparkle.
So far, that puts Heather's dress count at two.
Dec. 22, 2020: Heather and Tarek vacation/wedding plan in Cabo.
Is the Montage Los Cabos their planned wedding venue? It certainly could be with Heather's Instagram caption: "Trying to keep that wedding body on vacay.... does it count when you are wedding planning 💁🏼♀️🥂 no right??"
It also fits their beach wedding goals perfectly.
February 1, 2021: Heather shares a sneak peek from her engagement shoot.
Heather shared an adorable video from The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Southern California twirling with Tarek. She wrote: "Forever and ever and ever ❤️💍
What an incredible engagement shoot!! It was a very long day but my fiancé was such a trooper. My sweet love @therealtarekelmoussa I can’t wait to make it official!! It’s getting closer and closer!! Let the countdown begin!!! 2021 wedding!!"
February 5, 2021: Heather upgrades her engagement ring.
It's still the same emerald cut, eight-carat sparkler, but now it's surrounded by a mini army of diamonds on the band. "I never planned my ‘dream wedding’ but I saved rings I loved for the past 10 years," she shared on Instagram stories.
Heather and Tarek worked together on the design update with the original jeweler, Benny Hayoun.
February 9, 2021: Heather gets Tarek's name inked on her butt.
Heather tapped tattoo artist Sean Arnold’s studio for her "special Valentine’s Day present," PageSix reported.
Initially, Heather was going to keep it private. "It’s very meaningful because I’m doing it for my fiancé," she said in the video. "It’s something that’s just for us, so you might not see it. But this guy right here is going to hook me up."
Heather shared a photo of the new ink, which reads "Yes Sir, Mr. El Moussa," before deleting her post.
Feb. 23, 2021: Heather explains why she deleted the tattoo pic.
Just hours after she posted the picture, Heather deleted it from her social media. Weeks late, she explained to Us Weekly that she received so much backlash that she decided to take it down.
"It was completely taken out of context, and the whole meaning of it was blown way out of proportion," she said. "And so, obviously you saw, I took it down. We woke up the next morning, and it was, like, so much negativity surrounded by something that was meant for my fiancé and meant with so much love."
Heather also noted that deleting the pic only got more people talking about it, even though it was an attempt to move on. "We took it down, which then stirred up more controversy," she told the publication. "But, you know, I don’t like negativity. I don’t like negativity on my page. I don’t like to read negativity. It really upsets me. And so, I’d rather just take it down and move on from that."
Heather also shared more about what her and Tarek's nicknames mean and how they use them at home. "It’s something cute we do around the house," she said. "It’s like, you know, Daddy’s the boss and Heather’s the boss. And so, he’ll say something... and then I’m like, 'Yes, sir, Mr. El Moussa.' And he’ll say, 'Yes, ma’am, Ms. El Moussa.' … I know that they say names are the kiss of death for tattoos, but it’s [going to be] my last name too, right?"
And apparently, Tarek is considering getting a similar tattoo with Heather’s name.
"We actually talked about that," she said. "He’s like, 'I’m going to get your name.' And I’m like, 'Okay, well, what name are you going to get?' I don’t know if he will, to be honest. But, you know, maybe he’ll get it in the same spot. I don’t know."
Feb. 24, 2021: Heather talks about being a stepmom.
Since getting engaged to Tarek, Heather has also taken on the role of stepmom to his two children with his ex-wife Christina, Taylor, 10, and Brayden, 5.
"The hardest thing is I’m raising humans, and I’ve never raised a human before," she told Us Weekly. "I never had the time to prepare to be a stepmom. Most moms, you know, they have the time they’re carrying the baby. They’re prepped to be a mom. I never had that prep time. I was just thrown into it completely."
She also added that it can be "a lot to juggle and a lot to manage"—but she’s "doing a pretty rock star job."
She also added that the coolest thing about being a stepmom is watching the kids grow and change in front of her eyes. "We’re just such a tight family now, and it’s so special to watch them grow," she told the publication. "I’ve never seen children grow up in front of my eyes. …Every week, we get them back [from their mom], and I get to see them changing. It’s so cute. I’ve never experienced this before and it’s so special."
Heather also credits Tarek with being super supportive and creating an environment of open communication with Christina.
"We coparent very well, and we communicate very well… either through text or in person," Heather said. "We help each other out when we need it. If we need to borrow something, we let each other borrow things."
And in case you were wondering, Heather also added that she "get[s] along great" with Christina and called her a "great mom."
April 24, 2021: Heather and Tarek celebrate with an engagement party.
TBD if it's a preview for their nuptials to come, but Heather wore a white jumpsuit and Tarek donned a tux for the occasion. Heather's The Oppenheim Group co-workers and fellow Selling Sunset stars attended the special event.
Heather and Tarek kept the festivities intimate, gathering with close friends and family only. "Last night was perfect. You could say I’m ready to #flipherlastname," Tarek captioned a video clip snuggled up with Heather at the party. Btw, Heather is planning to change her last name to El Moussa after the wedding, per People.
Heather shared another happy clip: "The most special night with the most special man... I can’t stop smiling ❤️."
Their chosen venue, Louie's by the Bay, is not far from where Tarek and Heather met on July 4, 2019.
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