“We’re so ready for this,” Arie Luyendyk Jr. tells PEOPLE moments after proposing to Lauren Burnham with a 3.5 carat Neil Lane ring on the conclusion of the two-part Bachelor finale on Tuesday. “Lauren told me I’m four months late on this proposal, and I wanted to give it to her and I wanted everyone at home to share in it.”
For her part, Burnham, 26, says she “had an inkling” about the proposal. “Arie’s not good at keeping secrets,” she says with a laugh. “He didn’t tell me, but he gave me hints!”
For more from Luyendyk Jr. and Burnham, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
When it comes to outspoken critics, who have condemned both Luyendyk Jr., 36, and the show itself for how they handled the breakup with Becca Kufrin and the stunning change of heart, the couple isn’t too worried.
“We don’t really care what anyone else has to say about it,” says Burnham.
Besides, they’re too busy planning their nuptials, which they say will happen this year (and yes, they’d consider a televised wedding).
“We’ve already been planning it, even before the engagement,” says Luyendyk Jr. “We want to do it quickly!”
And now that their Bachelor journey is finally over, Luyendyk Jr. says he’s at peace with everything that’s happened.
“Love is not always perfect,” he says. “Everyone finds each other in a different way. It’s not always a fairy tale, but as long as Lauren and I have each other, we’re happy.”