updated 05/07/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/08/2014 AT 5:40 PM ET
Even though she had agreed to tie the knot three times before, Emily Maynard tells PEOPLE her fourth engagement to automotive management consultant Tyler Johnson “is my last. I really mean it. I’m actually making it to the marriage part this time!”
Once unsure about what her future would hold, the former Bachelorette star says that sharing her life with Johnson “is everything I’ve been praying for for years.”
The two recently bought a home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and have begun furniture shopping in anticipation of moving in over the summer.
The couple is also eager to start adding to their family unit of three humans, “three dogs, a cat, some fish – it’s a zoo here,” Maynard says with a laugh. “I’ve got to have a baby soon!”
Despite not making a firm decision on a wedding date, Maynard has been having a ball checking out dresses and wedding cakes with her daughter Ricki, 8.
“I keep telling Ricki it’s just as much her wedding as it is mine. It’s been fun to see her get excited about it,” says Maynard, joking that she’s not getting bogged down in the details. “I don’t want to be Bridezilla. I don’t want any gifts. I don’t need a toaster. I don’t want a waffle maker. I just want everybody to come and chill and have fun.”
Reality fans became acquainted with Maynard when she appeared on season 15 of The Bachelor. The single mom, who lost her fiancé, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, in a 2004 plane crash, got engaged to Bachelor Brad Womack on the season finale. Their relationship ended in June 2011.
A year later Maynard and Johnson, both 28, met just as Maynard began filming season eight of The Bachelorette.
“I did a jewelry making class at a middle school that was adopted by my church and he’s an elder at the church,” Maynard explains. “He would help me carry out the boxes. I thought, ‘He’s the nicest person.’ ”