Original 'Idol' runner-up Justin Guarini busy planning wedding
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/21/2009
Justin Guarini's summer wedding is fast approaching, but fortunately for him, his fiance is prepared.
"We're getting married this summer so we've got a lot to plan, but fortunately my fiance is on top of things," Guarini told Marilyn Beck & Stacy Jenel Smith's syndicated Hollywood Exclusive column recently.
While the original American Idol runner-up and Reina Capodici, his 26-year-old fiance, were an item in high school, the couple lost touch and only rekindled their romantic relationship in 2007.
"We've known each other since I was 18. Her mom was my English teacher in school," Guarini told Hollywood Exclusive, calling Capodici his "sweetheart from back home."
"We found each other again and fell in love."
Guarini had previously revealed his engagement during a September broadcast of his "The Justin Guarini Show" program on blogtalkradio.com.
"I got a beautiful [engagement] ring [while on a trip to Afghanistan]," he said on his radio show. "I had to keep it hidden for quite some time because I knew I was going to propose to her sometime soon."
The proposal eventually came during a trip to Walt Disney World Resort with Capodici and her three-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. Guarini said he discussed his proposal plans with Disney World's staff prior to popping the question.
"I said, 'Look, I want to propose to my girlfriend. I need something really special, really beautiful and you've got to help me out here," said Guarini.
After a private dinner at the resort's Epcot Theme Park, Guarini said there was a "beautiful fireworks display" that offered him the right moment to propose.
"Her reaction was absolutely hilarious to me. She was like, 'Are you serious!?' She couldn't believe I was asking her at first," he said. "She hugs me and she says, 'Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!'"
With their sights set on a summer wedding, Capodici said preparations were under way quickly.
"Justin and I really were set on having a small [wedding]," she said on Guarini's radio show. "But as I started making the list of people we wanted to invite, Justin's family alone is like 600 people. So it's going to be out of control I think. It's going to be a huge wedding."
Before Guarini has to worry about walking down the aisle, he'll first compete on the third season of CMT's Gone Country reality series, which premieres January 24.
"I was pretty intimidated walking into the experience because I'm with George Clinton, Sheila E., Taylor Dane -- all of whom at some point in their careers reached the pinnacle of their success," Guarini told Hollywood Exclusive.
"There I am like, 'Oh, you know, I'm the runner-up on American Idol.' I've had little successes here and there, but I've mostly been under the radar."
Despite his initial apprehensions, Guarini said Gone Country might have helped him find his calling.
"I think now, with this experience and the work that I've done with the writers in Nashville afterwards, it certainly is a viable format for me," he told Hollywood Exclusive.