Just before she and Alec Baldwin made it official in 2012, Hilaria Baldwin presented a special gift to her future husband — a reminder that this was a moment to cherish forever.
“I asked my parents to bring over from their town a tiny antique silver box that I wrote a letter and folded in,” Hilaria, 39, recalls to PEOPLE of her favorite wedding day memory, as the couple recently marked their 11th anniversary on June 30.
In the letter, Hilaria says she “wrote how excited I was to marry him and that we should be as present as possible for the ceremony because it will go so fast and be so fleeting and it’s such an important moment in our lives.”
Hilaria tells PEOPLE she had a friend deliver the letter to her then-fiancé right before she walked down the aisle at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. “It felt meaningful to have this intention to be present in our minds on such a life-changing day,” she adds.
Despite the momentous occasion, Hilaria says the planning behind the event was casual by intention. “I didn’t have a wedding planner and my friends helped me plan my wedding,” Hilaria recounts. “’I’m a tomboy and super low maintenance, I didn’t care about the tableware and the flowers and the colors. I figured: good food, music, wine, people . . . it’s all good! I read Weddings for Dummies and made a list of what I needed.”
“Our DJ was a man who I knew from going out with my friends in tiny Brooklyn bars,” she reveals. “It was a completely different gig for him and exactly what I wanted — blending our worlds!”
Hilaria and Alec, 65, first met in February 2011 at a New York City restaurant. “I was standing near the door with my friends,” Hilaria previously told the New York Times, “when he walked up and took my hand and said, ‘I must know you.’ ”
They started dating the summer of that year and Alec proposed to Hilaria in April 2012.
Together, the Baldwins have seven children: three daughters Ilaria Catalina Irena, María Lucía Victoria and Carmen Gabriela, and four sons Eduardo “Edu” Pao Lucas, Rafael Thomas, Leonardo Ángel Charles, and Romeo Alejandro David. (Alec is also the father of daughter Ireland Baldwin, 27, with his former wife Kim Basinger).
Most recently, on the couple’s wedding anniversary, Hilaria shared with PEOPLE a note that she wrote to her husband, which read: “11 years. I cherish you and the fact that we met. We have experienced so much and I can’t imagine anyone better to have by my side. I love you. I love our family … to many more. I feel so lucky to have you.”