updated 04/02/2012 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/02/2012 AT 3:30 PM ET
Still in full hair and makeup early Monday – having just shed the dazzling Oleg Cassini gown from David’s Bridal she wore Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards – Christina Davidson says she feels no different now that she and Frank Tucci exchanged vows before millions of TV viewers.
It was a perfect happy ending for the New Jersey couple, who were first brought together in the fall of 2009 while grieving the deaths of their spouses.
“To be married again – it’s a great feeling,” the newlywed, 31, tells PEOPLE. “And we got an awesome wedding video.”
With Martina McBride and Train singer Pat Monahan serenading the couple with a duet to “Marry Me,” the couple became husband and wife with a simple wish in the backs of their minds. “I hope I do not drop the ring,” she recalls.
This song, however, has special significance for the couple, captured in Tucci’s favorite song lyric: “I promise to sing to you when all the music dies.”
“Even though our [late] spouses aren’t here,” Davidson says, “we’ll always love and honor them.” (Davidson’s husband drowned on a canoeing trip; Tucci’s wife died of thyroid cancer.)
There were tears in Davidson’s eyes as the couple exchanged their vows – which were only partially televised – and tuned out the realization that all eyes were on them – including those of ACM winners Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, who shared the same dressing room as the couple.
“Promise to never leave her,” the minister told Tucci, 34, he recalls. Says Davidson, “That sentence really hit me. I take my vows seriously. I hope Frank and I have a very long and happy life.”
Next up: Their honeymoon, courtesy of Sandals, some time in the future, Davidson says.
But for now, she says she’s happy their “story really gave hope to people.” When she met Tucci, “it was like a firework went off, and it became love,” she says. “True love.”