After getting engaged to on Thursday’s finale of ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ Gerry and Theresa Nist announced they’ll say “I do” live on ABC in January
The following post contains spoilers from Thursday evening's season finale of The Golden Bachelor.
Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist can hear wedding bells already.
After getting engaged during Thursday’s Golden Bachelor finale, Gerry, 72, and Theresa, 70, announced during the live After the Final Rose special that they’ll be tying the knot in a live, televised special on Jan. 4. Gerry sees no reason to wait.
“When you're in your 20s and you put something off for a year, it's a very small percentage of your life,” Gerry tells PEOPLE in a joint interview with Theresa. “In your 70s, the clock ticks faster. And I'm 100% certain I found the right girl for me. So it's like, why not?”
Theresa feels similarly. “I met the man of my dreams,” she says. “It wasn't our original timeline, but to be presented with the wedding of our dreams? Spectacular, incredible, wow!”
The retired restaurateur trusts that everything else will fall into place. “We'll figure it out,” Gerry says. “Everything else is secondary and less important than us being together.”
Gerry just wanted to make sure that Theresa didn’t feel rushed into getting married in a matter of months since she only had three days to plan her first wedding to her childhood sweetheart Billy.
“I was in my first year of college and Billy was drafted during the Vietnam War, he went to Berlin,” Theresa says. “And he kept saying, ‘I want to marry you, let's get married.’ And I kept saying, ‘Billy, no, we're too young. You go out with other people, I'll go out with other people.’ And he actually went out with someone in Berlin. And I said, ‘Oh, really? You took my advice? I didn't mean it!’”
When Billy came back to attend his brother’s wedding in June 1972, Theresa finally accepted his proposal. “My mother went into action and we got married on a Tuesday,” she recalls. “We had a gown, a veil, a cake, a photographer, music, really in the basement of my house. There was no diamond ring, so this is brand new and amazing.”
Now, Gerry says, “Since she'd sort of gotten the hurry-up job the first time, I wanted her to be able to savor all of the anticipation and the joy and the planning and everything. That was my only question is, ‘Are you okay with the timeline? Do you feel like you get cheated a little bit in it?’ And it doesn't sound like she's getting cheated.”
Theresa doesn’t feel cheated “at all,” she says. “It's going to be incredible.”
For both Theresa and Gerry, whose wife Toni died suddenly in 2017, engagement feels different this time around.
“We've never talked about raising children. We don't talk about careers. We don't worry about how we're going to pay the bills,” Gerry says. “We talk about what we're going to do to have fun, whether it's going to be playing golf or pickleball. That was never a conversation with my wife and I the first time around. We were worried about, do we have enough money to buy dinner tomorrow night? Everything is different. The excitement level is different.”
The newly engaged pair finds themselves not only in the same stage of life, but on the same page about it.
"We both have the same attitude about life, that life is to be enjoyed and let's have fun,” the financial services professional says. “I mean, there are serious moments, but we laugh so much together.”
While having experienced love and loss “initially” brought them together, Theresa says, “it's not what's keeping us together. That was the basis that formed a bond, but it's definitely not it. It's how much we care about each other. It's really natural.”
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The Golden Wedding will air Jan. 4 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
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