By Liza Hamm
July 21, 2008 12:00 PM

Heading into the first rose ceremony on ABC’s reality dating show The Bachelorette— whereby the lucky gentlemen get roses and the others must go home—professional snowboarder Jesse Csincsak, 26, didn’t expect to gather too many blooms. Thinking he’d been cast just to be the “goofy guy in the corner,” the self-described “long-haired skinny kid” wasn’t sure he had much to offer the lovely Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas, 26. “I can’t compete with these guys who are good-looking and have big muscles,” Csincsak recalls thinking

Still, eight roses later, it was Csincsak who got down on one knee and pulled out a 2.3-carat princess-cut diamond ring. “I feel blessed,” he says. “Nothing else matters when I’m with her.”

Not only did Pappas giddily accept his proposal, but their romance, watched by more than 7 million viewers, brought the reality franchise its best buzz since Trista Behn received a ring from Ryan Sutter—the only couple from the show to wed. But not if Pappas has anything to say about it. “We were meant to be,” she says. “I see myself waking up to him in 60 years.”

Of course, fans would have understood if Pappas was cynical about finding true love on television. Last November, Bachelor Brad Womack chose to stay single rather than date Pappas, a Georgia real estate agent. “I thank Brad every day,” Pappas says. “Being dumped by him led me to my soulmate.” Pappas does admit “it was a daily struggle” choosing between Csincsak and the other finalist, Jason Mesnick. But she finally knew Csincsak was her match during their hometown date. “He was the one person that I could not imagine living without,” she says. Agrees Csincsak: “I would do anything for her. I love her to death.”

Their only firm wedding plan so far is serving Csincsak’s favorite: cheesecake. But the couple already sound like newlyweds. “He wants four kids and I want three,” says Pappas, “but I am willing to negotiate.”