Country star Jerrod Niemann and his wife Morgan Petek celebrate their anniversary on Oct. 12 -- they were married on that date in 2014 -- but it took years for the singer to get down on one knee.

"Back in the day, when my friends were getting married, I'd be [the guy who was] like, 'Man, are you sure?'" Niemann admits.

At one point, Petek threatened to move home to Atlanta -- or even all the way to India; however, Niemann didn't believe her.

"I was like, 'Yeah, right,'" he recalls. "'If you're not going to move home to Atlanta, which is a four-hour drive, you're not going to move to India.'"

But she did: Petek moved to India to work at a leper colony, and there was no way of contacting her by phone.

"When there's no way you can get hold of somebody," Niemann explains, "that definitely hits you in the heart."

Then, Petek went to London to get her master's degree.

"We'd been together on and off for 10 years, and all roads kept leading back to each other," says Niemann. "She's never had any problem telling me to kiss her butt, which I appreciate."

Niemann finally decided to propose with a horse and carriage ride in New Orleans -- but things went awry when Petek didn't want to get in it, saying, "Nah. Horses are supposed to be in pastures, not walking the streets of New Orleans!"

"I just thought, 'Oh, crap!'" Niemann remembers (quote via People). "I was literally frantic."

But it all ended well, thanks in part to Niemann's quick thinking.

"We walked over to this statue in Jackson Square, and I just turned to these ladies and said, 'Would you be kind enough to take our picture? I think we might be getting engaged,'" Niemann recounts. "Morgan was like, 'What?' Then I took out the ring. Morgan was crying; the ladies were crying ... It was a cool moment."

Niemann and Petek celebrated their wedding atop an historic fort, Castillo de San Cristóbal, in gorgeous Puerto Rico. However, Niemann tells People, "I'd marry Morgan in our backyard; she's what makes my dream wedding."

Sweet personal touches made the wedding especially sentimental: Petek carried a locket with photos of her late paternal grandparents, so that they could be with her while she walked down the aisle. Her custom engagement ring, embellished with diamonds, holds jewels from both sides of her family. And the bride herself felt like "an absolute princess."

"I'm just so happy I got to step into her fairytale," Niemann says of the nuptials.

“We have been together for so many years off and on,” he tells Country Weekly. “And now that we have been married for almost a year, we really have dialed it in as to how we like to spend our time together. I mean, the truth is that we really just enjoy sitting at home together and watching Netflix. These days, it’s just as fun as going somewhere."