updated 03/10/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/10/2014 AT 7:30 PM ET
Please welcome back Rebekah Gregory! Rebekah and her fiancé, Pete DiMartino, will wed in Asheville, N.C., on April 4 in TheKnot.com’s Dream Wedding. The two had been dating just over a year when they were both injured in the April 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. In the midst of their recovery, Pete, 29, proposed, and the rest is becoming history. In the weeks leading up to her wedding, Rebekah, 26, is blogging for PEOPLE.com about her recovery, her relationship and the wedding planning process. Follow her on Twitter @rebekahmgregory and visit her Facebook inspiration page.
Many people have called our story one of hope, something that gets them through their darkest days. The inspiration that we are able to give primarily comes from the continued support we receive from the people who love us most. That is something Pete and I will never take for granted. So with the vote being for the girls’ dresses this week, I felt it only necessary to introduce you to the beautiful women that are by my side every day (not just on April 4): my bridesmaids.
Lauren has been my best friend since the summer before high school. She has seen me go from barely a teenager to a grown woman with all the craziness in between. Her first car was one she passed down to me when I learned how to drive a year later. Our first jobs were working together at an ice cream parlor; after work every day, we’d take turns sleeping over at each other’s houses. In fact, ever since the first day I asked her to eat lunch with me we have been inseparable. And even though 13 years have passed and our lives have put 1,000 miles between us, our bond just keeps getting stronger.
Lauren is my rock when my world tries to crumble. And she is my comfort when I just need a good Friends or Sex and the City marathon (with a couple bags of Peanut Butter M&M’s). She was there for the birth of my son Noah, and she hopped on a plane to be by my side in Boston when my life literally blew up in front of me. But do you know the No. 1 reason she is so freaking amazing? The girl is gonna be eight months pregnant and is STILL driving six hours to be there on my wedding day. Now that is true friendship.
Bridesmaid: Karah Dawn Clark
To give you an idea of how much Karah (above, right) means to my life, I have to tell you that when I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, I was a blubbering idiot. I cried before she even walked down the aisle while reminiscing about everything we had been through together.
Karah is a friend that turned into family – literally! When my mom remarried (to Karah’s cousin), it became official that we were stuck together for life. At one point she even lived under the same roof as me, and we have always been more than okay with that! Just like Lauren, she has been there through it all and there is no one else that could take her place. I got to watch her experience her happily ever after in October 2012, and I am beyond thrilled that she is not old and gray for mine (kidding!).
Bridesmaid: Megan Danielle Anderson
My friendship with Megan (above, left) makes me smile because in high school we didn’t care much for each other. Over the years we have laughed about this a lot, because looking at our friendship now, you’d never be able to tell we were in two different “cliques.” As you probably can gather from her bridesmaid status, she is a person I couldn’t see my life without and one of the most beautiful people I have ever known.
Megan challenges me to stand up for myself and go after my dreams. She has picked me up from some of my worst moments and dropped everything to be with me whenever I have needed her, no questions asked. In fact, as I write this she is in labor, about to give birth, and still called me to see if I knew which bridesmaid dress readers chose for us! (To Megan: Happy birthday to your new baby boy, Chance Bugle!)
Being the oldest sister is a tough job, and I am sure any of these three girls would tell you I have been quite annoying at times. It’s like the older I get the more protective of them I become. But it’s only because I love them so much and want to see them as happy as I am right at this very minute. At almost 27 years old, I am finally realizing that all of those things my mom has taught us over the years are actually true. Imagine that! (Sorry for doubting you, mom!)
Being a part of a family takes work but the rewards are so great. So Hannah, Lydia and Allie: I am so glad God chose me to be your big sis. I love each of you very much.
And now for the biggest vote: my wedding dress! Last week my bridesmaids all got to fly to New York to shop at Kleinfeld with me. It was truly such an amazing day. I tried on tons of gorgeous designer dresses and four have been selected for your vote. I can’t wait to see which you choose!
Visit TheKnot.com to vote on Rebekah’s gorgeous bridal gown!