Get ready for another Bachelor Nation wedding!
Wendt, 35, popped the question to Loch, 29, on Aug. 28 in Toronto, Canada, where they live.
Loch thought she was just in for a sunset picnic with her boyfriend in a quiet section of Toronto Island — and had no idea Wendt had a ring in the pocket of his pants and a pair of photographers waiting in the bushes. He restarted his playlist about five times to ensure “Tequila” by Dan + Shay — a nod to their meeting in Mexico, where “we drank a lot of tequila,” Loch jokes — was playing as he began his speech.
“I actually forgot what I said. I just remember, it was a no-brainer to marry her,” Wendt recalls. “I see her more as my family than any kind of girlfriend, and I just knew I couldn’t ever let her go. And then I quickly told her to move her bike because the ring box was so big and it was in my little backpack beside the picnic stuff that I didn’t know how to get it out of there. And so I told her to move her bike, and she kind of looked me like I’m an idiot. Like, why don’t you move it? And as soon as she turned her back, I grabbed it and crammed it in my back pocket.”
He adds with a laugh: “And I don’t know if you know, but skinny jeans are not easy to cram things into.”
“I was so clueless,” Loch admits. “And you never get a surprise really by me, ever. I feel like I pay attention to everything, and I had absolutely no clue.”
The firefighter proposed with a custom, cushion-cut diamond ring from Wendt’s Jewellery, established in 1884 by his great-great-grandfather Charles Wendt in Mildmay, Ontario. Wendt says the sparkler holds a sentimental significance for his family, who’ve all proposed with baubles from that shop for the past 135 years.
“I’m a firm believer that there’s just so little genuine surprises in the world,” he says. “I was even speaking to quite a few people who’ve said they went full ring shopping with their fiancé a month before they got engaged and stuff. I did my research on what Astrid liked for rings, just based on what she said about other girls’ rings or what she likes or what she doesn’t like. And I just thought I would rather take a little bit of a risk and design it myself knowing her, rather than her just pick it out and kind of be expecting it.”
Loch loves the personal touches, too. “I’ve always told him I don’t like when there’s too much crazy stuff going on in the ring,” she says. “We’re very simple people. We were both in jeans and a T-shirt and a tank top [when we got engaged], which is just how we are every single day, which is so us, rather than some crazy, fancy thing. So the ring definitely reflects both of our personalities. And he got a cute little inside joke engraved in it.”
They’re keeping other details about the gorgeous diamond private, but Wendt teases, “Let’s just say it’s much more than I think I could afford. I probably stretched myself. I am a simple firefighter, after all. I definitely stretched myself for it, but she’s well worth it.”
The ring has also traveled across the continent; Wendt considered proposing while they were back in Mexico for Bachelorette stars Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo‘s wedding the weekend prior, but fate — and food poisoning — intervened.
“I thought maybe Sunday would be a good day to take a walk on the beach and propose. And we ended up eating the Mexican food, and Astrid spent most of the time on the toilet,” Wendt recalls as they laugh. “She was in the bathroom every three minutes for the whole day. So I thought, maybe I’ll wait until I get home.”
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In hindsight, the groom and bride-to-be are happy they took the next step in Toronto, with scenic views of their own city’s skyline before them.
“We’re not vacation people, we’re very much homebodies,” Wendt explains. “Two hours after we were engaged, we were watching Big Brother, eating ice cream sandwiches. That’s our favorite kind of night.”
“We just love that we can go back to that spot whenever we want to, because it’s just a 15-minute water taxi ride across from our place,” Loch adds. “If it happened in Mexico or on a trip somewhere, how many times would we ever go back there? It’s nice to know we can always go back to that spot.”
The former reality stars have been dating for a year. Faced with the Fantasy Suite and possibility of a proposal after just weeks together in Paradise, they left the show separately last summer but soon reconnected in the real world.
“I will never forget when I left the show, going to my best friends and being like, ‘I know we technically broke up on the show, but I’m pretty sure this is the person I’m going to marry,'” Loch says now. “I feel like I knew right away how well he fit into my life.”
And it’s been smooth-sailing ever since. Loch, who worked as a plastic surgery office manager, moved in with Wendt in his hometown of Toronto last December.
“I forget that we met on a TV show, because now it’s just my real life,” he says.
Next up in their real lives? Taking at least a year to plan their wedding (which will “definitely not” be filmed for Paradise) and letting the joy of spending forever together sink in.
“I don’t even think it’s fully hit me yet that it’s actually happened,” Loch says. “I woke up this morning probably an hour beforehand and just stared at the ring and him just to make sure that it was real.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.