"I'm so excited and so happy," the bride-to-be tells PEOPLE

By Joey Bartolomeo
Updated September 24, 2008 06:15 PM

Former Bachelorette star Jen Schefft is engaged to her boyfriend, Joe Waterman, she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“I’m so excited and so happy,” says Schefft, 32.

The couple, who live in Chicago, met on a blind date in February. Their matchmaker: One of Schefft’s previous blind dates, with whom she didn’t click. “I figured I had to go out with Joe since I’d never been set up by someone I’d already gone on a date with,” she explains.

“We really get each other,” Schefft says of Waterman, 35, a trader. “I guess it’s true things move fast when you meet the right person.”

Schefft’s love life became a national concern when she appeared on the ABC matchmaking show The Bachelor in 2003 and starred on The Bachelorette in 2005. She went on to author the relationship book Better Single Than Sorry and is now director of ad sales for Heavy.com.

Waterman didn’t know much about Schefft from televison – but he does stay away from the series’ signature flowers. “He gives me flowers but never roses,” she says.

Schefft and Waterman, who both hail from Ohio, plan to marry in Chicago in 2009. “We want to keep it small and intimate,” she says of the wedding. “About 50 to 60 of our closest friends and family.”