Bachelorette DeAnna Chooses Jesse — and Sets a Wedding Date

07/08/2008 at 12:00 AM EDT

Bachelorette DeAnna Chooses Jesse — and Sets a Wedding Date
Craig Sjodin/ABC (2); Kevin Foley/ABC
After being dumped on national TV last November by Bachelor Brad Womack, DeAnna Pappas finally got her happy ending when she pinned the final rose on snowboarder Jesse Csincsak, 26 (pictured), during last night’s season finale of The Bachelorette. He quickly returned the favor by giving her a Tacori 2.3-carat diamond ring and asking for her hand in marriage.

And the two have already set a date to walk down the aisle -- May 9, 2009. The destination? Possibly the Bahamas, where the two fell in love and got engaged, say the happy couple. To top it all off, host Chris Harrison threw in a honeymoon trip to Santorini, Greece, on behalf of the show.

Though he never appeared to be a frontrunner for DeAnna's heart, Jesse won her over during his hometown visit -- and sealed the deal with a romantic proposal that wasn't peppered by his favorite words "amazing" and "rad": "Those eyes of yours tear right through me. The thought of not being with you kills me. When I look at you the word that pops into my mind is forever. Will you spend forever with me?" Without skipping a beat, DeAnna accepted his proposal and was finally able to share her feelings with Jesse and viewers. "When you came out of the limo the first night, I would have never thought I could fall in love with you. When I was with you and your family, I fell in love. I knew that moment that I couldn’t be without you ... I love you. I waited so long to say that."

But before DeAnna and Jesse could finally share their feelings for each other on national TV, she had to break the bad news to Jason Mesnick, a 30-year-old single dad from Seattle. "My heart is somewhere else," DeAnna explained as Jason got down on one knee and began to propose to Pappas.

Mesnick, who was able to confront DeAnna in the After the Final Rose special, revealed he still has feelings for her, telling Harrison, "My heart's still heavy. I don't wish pain like this on anybody."

In a phone interview with PEOPLE, DeAnna further explained her choice. "I was falling in love with both of them, but I was in love with Jesse and I knew that I couldn't live without him. And that was where he stood apart from Jason."

Jesse, who was also on the call, recounted his pre-Rose Ceremony jitters: "My heart was pounding so hard those last few days in the Bahamas. I wasn't sleeping. I couldn't eat. I was nauseous. I was a wreck. The idea of losing her scared the crap out of me."

It has been a few months since the finale was taped and the couple are still going strong. After several secret rendezvous and talking on the phone "at least 50 times a day," according to Pappas, they are both looking forward to going public.

A final act of love Jesse is wiling to make for DeAnna? Yes, cutting his infamous dude-bro fro. "I would do anything for DeAnna," he said. "If that means I gotta have real short hair so be it. I think everybody in America knows I am pretty comfortable in my own skin so a haircut is not going to make or break me." --Carrie Bell

Craig Sjodin/ABC (2); Kevin Foley/ABC

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