04/12/2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
Former Bachelorette Jillian Harris
admits that she didn't particularly care for Vienna Girardi
, the woman chosen by
this season's Bachelor Jake Pavelka
over fan favorite Tenley Molzhan
However, after getting to know Vienna in recent months -- and seeing how happy she's made Jake -- Harris says she's changed her mind.
"She's a doll. I like her as a person," Harris told PEOPLE Thursday at a Chicago bash celebrating the 10th anniversary of Real Simple
magazine. "I saw how she brought out a better side of him."
Whether that couple ends up tying the knot remains to be seen, but in any case, Harris says they should tune out gossip about their relationship, as she has learned to do.
"What happens on the internet or on TV, or the speculations that make does not define the outcome of our life," said Harris, who battled rumors
regarding the fidelity of Ed Swiderski
, the suitor she chose during the July 2009 finale of The Bachelorette
"You don't really fall in love until three to six months after the show ends," she confides. "Luckily with Ed, we are a lot alike, we have the same values, we have the same upbringing." All the same, she said, "I really fell in love with him after the show."
And Harris and Swiderski, both 30, are definitely headed for the altar. The question of when, however, remains to be answered and contrary to reports, no date has been set. "We are definitely in love and we definitely are going to be married," she confirms. "We're hoping it will be in the next year or two. We're both excited."
Harris says she would like an outdoor wedding in her home country of Canada or a similarly picturesque setting. She wants to book the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to play at the party, and plans to serve her 200 guests cabbage rolls made by her Aunt Becky and cake prepared by her cousin Tori.
Meanwhile, the interior designer is settling into her new hometown of Chicago, where fiancé Swiderski works as a computer software consultant. The pair recently moved into a new townhouse and Harris is staying busy with her home design and charity work, including a recent appearance
on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
.-- Hilary Shenfeld