Do you believe in love? You know the kind I'm talking about – the love that movies make you wish would fall onto your doorstep one day. That magical night in the pouring rain complete with the breathtaking stare and the cheesy run into one another's arms …
Two years ago, I sure didn't. In fact I was quite cynical when it came to the subject. So it's ironic that I, Rebekah Gregory, have a ring on my finger, and a promise from an amazing man that he is going to marry me (with all of America as our witness) this April.
Am I head-over-heels, movie-type in love with him? Absolutely. But sometimes in life, our "night" isn't quite what we envisioned. Our "run" is a lot longer than planned. Our "stare" is enough to nearly take our last breath away. And the "rain" well … sometimes it is more than we were ever prepared to handle. But sometimes in the midst of the storm, life gives us that fairy tale we were hoping for – and I'm so honored to share mine.
The NightIt was March 2, 2012. I was finishing up a business trip in Rochester, N.Y. At that point I was cold, tired and above all, missing my 4-year-old son, whom I hadn't seen in a week. It was my last night though, and I had already promised the hotel clerk Craig that I would accept his invitation to dinner.
Now I know what you are probably thinking so let me clarify: A) Craig and I had been chatting in the lobby every night when I would get in from my meetings B) The previous night he had been freezing at his desk so I surprised him with coffee and a blanket, so this was a "thank you" dinner (even though I still to this day don't think it was a big deal) C) Craig likes boys, and he is perfectly okay with me saying that!
So here I was, out to dinner with my new friend, gossiping about how much we disliked men and their drama. So not surprisingly, when Craig introduced me to his cute bartender friend Pete DiMartino, aside from noticing that he was cute and abnormally nice, I didn't think twice about it. In fact it wasn't until months later and through this wonderful thing called Facebook that we finally exchanged numbers, which led to officially beginning our crazy journey of a long-distance relationship.
The Run, Rain and the StareSeven months into dating, after many trips back and forth across 1,673 miles, Pete flew my son Noah and I up to join him and his family watch his mom run the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. That day we were standing less than 10 feet away from where the first bomb exploded – leading to months in separate hospitals, multiple, ongoing surgeries and later this year, the amputation of my left leg. Talk about a long run and a lot of rain.
And the stare? After getting thrown back from the bomb and figuring out where everyone was, I looked over at Pete and barely got out the words "I love you." In my heart I truly felt like that would be the last time I would ever get to say that to him. Not exactly the type of stare I was going for.
Courtesy Rebekah Gregory
The Fairy TaleWas this how I pictured our relationship to play out? Absolutely not. But you know what's funny? It's even better. And while being blown up is not ideal and something I would never recommend to anyone, the love and appreciation I have for Pete is indescribable.
He is the only person I can imagine sharing my life with (Noah has been begging us to get married since he first met him) and in my heart I know that he is the missing piece to our little family. On Oct. 4, 2013, he made that official by driving all the way to Texas to ask me to be his wife. And I didn't even have time to get over the shock of the proposal before The Knot asked us to be their Dream Wedding couple for 2014.
Although we do not feel any more deserving of this honor than anyone else, we couldn't be more excited to share our journey with so many other people and let America plan our wedding! Everyone has trials in life and this just happens to be ours. But if we can inspire just one person to keep pushing forward, it's totally worth it to me. And I don't care if I have to hop, wheel or roll down that aisle – I will get to the other end of it because the person waiting for me is the only thing that matters. For better for or worse, we've got this in the bag.
So thank you in advance to each and every person who takes time out of their days to vote, because what you see is truly what it is for us. Pete DiMartino is my soulmate and this is our fairy tale. So here we go! I picked the groom, you plan the wedding! I absolutely cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with; it will definitely be the start of our happy ending.
Recently, TheKnot.com readers voted on the wedding location, and picked Rebekah and Pete's favorite vacation spot, Asheville, N.C.
When the location was announced I had to keep from screaming. We love the Biltmore in Asheville, N.C. It is the perfect place to make all our fairy tale dreams for our wedding come true. And I know I will feel like a princess that day thanks to you guys!
This week, help choose the couple's wedding theme; visit TheKnot.com/DreamWedding to pick Fairy Tale Princess, American Royalty, Enchanted Garden or Hollywood Glamour.