“I tried to put it on hold, to be honest with you,” Dancing with the Stars' Peta Murgatroyd reveals about wedding planning with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
“I thought he was arrogant,” Murgatroyd told PEOPLE in a 2015 interview of meeting her future fiancé in 2009 when they were both cast in the Broadway production of Burn the Floor.
“Okay, that’s a defense mechanism. I think she was in love with me at first sight and just doesn’t want to admit it,” Chmerkovskiy retorted with a smile to Murgatroyd. “No, I walked in the way I walk in and … it’s just a lot of presence.”
“I learned to like him because I found out he wasn’t that arrogant,” admitted Murgatroyd. “He was really generous to the entire cast, and our friendship grew and grew.”
But it would take years for that friendship to blossom into something more. And once it did, the professional dancers would have to break up before Chmerkovskiy felt he was “in a position” where he was ready to propose.
“I think it’s awesome we have a massive history,” said Chmerkovskiy, 37. “It’ll make a great story to tell our kids one day.”
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Murgatroyd, 30, said “there was always an attraction” between the two dancers, but because he was engaged to his fellow DWTS pro dancer Karina Smirnoff and she was dating her future DWTS costar Damian Whitewood at the time, “there was nothing ever done about it.”
Their friendship began to blossom. And by 2012, during Murgatroyd’s second season on the hit ABC reality dance competition, they were both single and going on “friendship dates” with each other, said the newly minted Mrs. Chmerkovskiy.
Things were going strong until, as Murgatroyd put it, “out of nowhere,” Chmerkovskiy called it quits after less than a year of dating.
“My heart was broken,” said Murgatroyd. “But when we were driving to the airport after the breakup talk, he literally asked me why I was taking all my bags and clothes back. I was like, ‘We just broke up. Why would I leave anything behind?’ That’s when I knew it wasn’t really over for forever.”
And she was right.
“I realized right away that I’d made a mistake,” said Chmerkovskiy. “So I would take every opportunity to hover around.”
Both were linked to other people during their break, but by October 2014 – after three months of doing “a little dance” – the couple officially reunited.
“I dodged a bullet [by getting her back] because she could have fallen in love with somebody else and this never would’ve happened,” said Chmerkovskiy, who got down on one knee after the Dec. 5, 2015 performance of Sway: A Dance Trilogy at the Olympia Theater in Miami.
“She’s my best friend,” he added of Murgatroyd. “She makes me a better man.”
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It wasn’t long after the engagement that the couple began planning their wedding.
“A castle and a carriage and [a dress with] a really long train,” Murgatroyd told PEOPLE of her ideal wedding in the days immediately following Chmerkovskiy’s proposal. “I just want my loved ones around me – only the people that just genuinely adore us.”
The couple had been excited about starting a family but have admitted they did not expect to welcome a child before they were married. Still, in June 2016 Murgatroyd and Chmerkovskiy revealed exclusively to PEOPLE that they were expecting their first child together.
“I’m looking forward to nurturing something and just having the baby be the center of our world,” Murgatroyd said at the time. “I’m looking forward to putting all our energy into this beautiful soul.”
They welcomed son Shai Aleksander on Jan. 4, 2017.
“This is, without a doubt, the best thing that has ever happened to us!” the couple told PEOPLE in a statement.
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The new addition instantly changed the couple forever.
“It’s changed the dynamic of my family. It’s changed my brother,” Chmerkovskiy’s younger brother Val revealed when Shai was just 1-week old.
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But becoming devoted parents meant less time for wedding planning.
“I tried to put it on hold, to be honest with you,” Murgatroyd told PEOPLE in May. “I said, ‘Baby, lets just drop it for a second. We have a child already. Lets just maybe call it quits at engaged.’”
But Chmerkovskiy wasn’t having it.
“He was, like, ‘No! I want to marry you,’” said Murgatroyd. “It was really funny, actually. He had to sort of coax me back into being ready to get married and do all of this stuff because there is so much to do!”
Chmerkovskiy helped with the planning by knocking off one big ticket item off the to-do list: the venue.
“Maks has loved this place for years and I took on the suggestion and I fell in love with it immediately,” Murgatroyd said of Oheka Castle on Long Island, New York. “It’s a whole castle estate with a golf course around it. My jaw dropped when I first saw it.”
“I can’t speak for every girl, but when you first step onto that runway and see the love of your life at the end of the path waiting for you, I think that’s going to be a moment that I’ve always waited for — just to see his face,” said Murgatroyd, who lived out her dream on Saturday. “I’ve always wanted to get married — and only get married once — so this is really special moment for me.”