"We are reminded each day of our vows and how much love we share for each other," said Rivera.
When Josh Rivera stopped at a Cracker Barrel on September 1, 2020, he ordered lunch and received love. While waiting for a table at the Casa Grande, Ariz. eatery — where he always orders roast beef, two sides of mac n' cheese, carrots, buttermilk biscuits with grape jelly and a Coca-Cola — Rivera, 38, sat in one of the rocking chairs on the restaurant's front porch, per PEOPLE.
Couple Falls in Love and Gets Married After Chance Meeting at Cracker Barrel: 'Meant to Be' https://t.co/800VxOCohi— People (@people) February 27, 2023
Moments later, Rebekah Facciuto sat down next to him. "We started talking while we were sitting there and decided that we wanted to continue the conversation over lunch," Facciuto, 36, told PEOPLE. "It was an instant connection." The pair had their first date that day, which took them both by surprise.
"After we had lunch together, I had the weirdest feeling – I missed Rebekah right away," Rivera said. "I had never felt that way about someone I had just met before. I prayed, 'Please let me know this person, even if it doesn't go anywhere, please give me the privilege of knowing this person because I really like who she is'," he added. "When I found out Rebekah was a cellist, I knew I had to use the surround sound system in my brand-new car to try and impress her with a new cello song I had just heard," he recalled. "So, as we left the restaurant, I asked if she would like to listen to this new song with me, and to my surprise, she said yes!"
From there, the pair started to talk more and more each day. "Rebekah invited me into her world and as we got closer, our love for each other grew. We developed a friendship and a gradual trust, ultimately leading to me asking Rebekah out," he continued. A year after their first meeting, Rivera, who works as a chaplain and a youth pastor, popped the question to Facciuto, a music teacher, in front of family and friends including Facciuto's daughter Elise, on August 14, 2021.
"There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to propose to Rebekah at Cracker Barrel," he said. "I started to get lovesick after my first encounter with her and Cracker Barrel played such a huge part in that feeling, I knew I had to propose to her at the same place we met and fell in love."
Facciuto added, "My favorite part was watching the love of my life get down on one knee to be my forever person. I do admit that Josh being as handsome as he is didn't hurt either!" The couple married twice, first they exchanged vows in a church on September 5, 2021, in Tucson, Arizona, and the second time, they read handwritten vows in a hot air balloon on November 5.
"We are reminded each day of our vows and how much love we share for each other," said Rivera. "Those words we said once in a church and again in a hot air balloon come to fruition every time we are together. We learn something new about each other every day and are grateful to be by each other's sides through all the challenges life throws at us."
The newlyweds welcomed their son, River Rivera last year on August 5. The baby shower was held at Cracker Barrel. "We don't believe in luck, but we do believe that meeting that one day in September was meant to be," said Rivera.
Cover Image Source: Youtube | Cracker Barrel Old Country Store