Boston Marathon Survivors Are Getting The Knot’s Dream Wedding
Looks like those of you relying on Hallmark for Valentine’s Day have been respectfully one-up’ed. But very fittingly.
The Knot, the wedding planning website, just selected their recipients of The Knot’s Dream Wedding for 2014: Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino, two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings. According to The Knot, the couple was selected “as an inspiring couple who deserve the wedding of their dreams after the obstacles they have overcome.”
The very details of the wedding, however, is entirely in the hands of the readers and viewers of The Knot. People around the nation will have the opportunity to vote on every aspect of Gregory and DiMartino’s wedding from entertainment, theme, bridesmaid dresses, cake, flowers, location and even the bride’s wedding dress. That’s right: America is literally selecting every detail of their big day for them. The couple finds out on Valentine’s Day where they’re getting married, as selected by people on the internet. Voting takes place at TheKnot.com/DreamWedding.
“[Hearing about the wedding] was very surreal. At first we didn’t even think it was legitimate. We were like, what in the world is going on?” Gregory said. “I had heard about The Knot from previous people who have gotten married and I looked on [their site] a couple of times, but it was just very unexpected. We don’t feel like we’re any more deserving of it than anyone else.”
The pair, who have been together since November 2012, were in Boston in April with Gregory’s son, Noah, to watch DiMartino’s mother run in the Boston Marathon. They were standing at the finish line, less than 10 feet away from the first bomb.
“I remember being thrown back and the noise and the smell of it and not knowing where anyone was,” Gregory said. “The first thought that went through my mind was, where is my son? I couldn’t find him, but I could hear him in the background and he was going, ‘Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!’
“I figured out that he was in the back of me. I couldn’t even see my legs at that point. So I reached out my hand to try to move him toward me, and I realized I had two exposed bones completely sticking out of my left hand, blood rushing down my arm. At that point I just remember thinking I was going to die.”
DiMartino, who was severely injured but functioning on adrenaline and shock, picked up Noah and brought him to Gregory’s side. Gregory was transferred to Beth Israel, DiMartino to Mass General, and Noah with DiMartino’s sister to Boston Medical. Gregory was rushed to surgery and was on a ventilator for a week when Noah was brought to her. She and DiMartino Skyped from their hospital beds. DiMartino stayed in the hospital and rehabilitation for 39 days before returning to his home in New York. Gregory was transferred from Boston to her home in Houston midway through her recovery, staying 56 days between hospital beds.
“It was so hard. At that point you’re wondering how you’re going to be able to take care and come to terms with your own injuries, much less the other person’s,” Gregory said. “I [just] had my 16th surgery. So it’s an everyday thing for us, and it will be for a while. After the wedding I am going to have my [lower leg] amputation done in June or July. That will be a whole new curve and learning process for us.”
“This experience has brought us so close,” she said. “We have a new appreciation for each other and every day. When you go through something so horrible and it turns out to be one of the best and worst days of your life. It’s hard to explain but that’s exactly what it is. For us to be where we are right now, especially in our relationship, we couldn’t be any happier.”
So of course, the question: how did he propose?
“Well I couldn’t fly at the time,” DiMartino said, because he just had undergone reconstruction surgery. “So I got in my car one morning and started driving, and drove from New York to North Carolina the first day, through North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas the second day, Dallas the third day—because I have family there—and the fourth day I drove to Houston to surprise her.”
“It was funny because I was supposed to go to the model home of the one we are having built,” Gregory said. “My mom wheeled me in there in my wheelchair, and she said the contractor I was meeting was upstairs and I needed to wait. So I thought nothing of it. I was sitting there in the living room and Pete walks down the stairs. And I’m flipping out, and I’m crying. For him to be there at that moment was perfect. And no sooner I got over the shock of him being there, he pulls out this ring and just gets down on one knee.”
The voting process on The Knot will be continuing through February to put together an ultimate, luxurious wedding for Gregory and DiMartino. Please, and you thought your Valentine’s Day plans were spectacular.