SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for the season finale of "The Bachelor" with Sean Lowe. Read at your own risk!
After all the roses, romantic dates, passionate kisses, and declarations of feelings, this season of "The Bachelor" ended with a proposal: Sean Lowe chose Catherine Giudici over Lindsay Yenter in the finale.
Lowe got down on one knee to propose to the 26-year-old graphic designer from Seattle.
"This has been such a crazy journey and there have been so many unexpected, wonderful moments with you. I knew from the very beginning that you were someone I wanted to be around. I just had no idea that my feelings would turn into what they have turned into. You never cease to amaze me. You never do. I think the world of you," he said.
"And I miss you -- every time we have to say goodbye, I miss you. I don't want to say goodbye anymore. Catherine, I want to spend the rest of my life telling you I love you and making you feel like the most special, beautiful woman in the world."
An ecstatic Giudici, of course, said "yes." "Is this for real?" she wondered as he gave her the final rose. "I'm so addicted to you!"
Then, the couple was carried off into the sunset on the elephant they'd ridden on their final date. "This is the coolest day of my life!" she declared with glee.
Their romance was a quirky one and developed a bit more slowly than other relationships. Giudici sent him notes throughout the season, including one just before Lowe made his decision. In it, she told him she wanted nothing more than to be his wife, to move to Dallas, and to become part of his family.
Breaking up is hard to do
Lowe read the letter after he'd already broken up with Yenter, which he described as the hardest thing he'd ever done. "I want to give you my heart so bad," he told a tearful Yenter, "but my heart's beating somewhere else."
And in a surprising (and perhaps cruel) move, Lowe told her he loved her. "That's the hardest part, I love you," he whispered.
A dignified Yenter told him, "It's OK," then removed her heels and walked to the waiting car. Only once she was inside did she truly break down. "Why did he do this to me?" she cried. "I just did not want to be hurt this way."
Two women, one rose
Their breakup came after a back-and-forth finale, in which Lowe veered between the two women. He hoped his family would push him one way or the other, but they approved of both. In fact, his indecisiveness worried his mother, who cautioned him, "It's gotta be something you're so excited to do and just feel like, in your heart, it's the absolutely right thing to do, or, yeah, you don't need to be proposing to either one of them."
The subsequent final dates didn't seem to clarify matters any more. After a romantic date with Yenter, he said, "At this moment, I really feel she's the one for me."
But on his date with Giudici, she was finally able to say, "I love you." And when he proposed, Lowe was finally able to say it back.
After the final rose
In the reunion show, Yenter confronted Lowe about what had gone wrong between them, but he still had few answers. He acknowledged that he knew after their final date, but he couldn't pinpoint a specific moment that led him to choose Giudici. "At certain points, God reveals things on his own time, and he was, like, 'Catherine's the one.'"
[Related: Find Out Who Will Be the Next 'Bachelorette']
Yenter returned home to gain comfort in her family and faith. "The girl that walked out in a wedding dress, a little tipsy … I have grown so much from being that woman to now," she said.
When Giudici joined Lowe onstage, the couple could, at last, be open about their happiness. "I love everything about her," he gushed. "Each day since the show, I think our love has only grown stronger."
The couple said they crave normalcy. "She just wants to hold my hand," Lowe admitted. So what's next? "We don't have a date yet, but we have decided … we'll have our wedding on a TV show," he said. (That, by the way, was the much-hyped big announcement.)
"I don't see why there would be any waiting period. I want to be his wife," Giudici said.
Harrison teased, "It just so happens I am ordained."
"We might want some friends and family there," Lowe laughed.
Harrison reflected on Lowe's journey this last year, from appearing as one of Emily Maynard's suitors to getting engaged. "I had no idea what I was getting into by going on 'The Bachelorette,' and getting my heart broken for all to see," he said. "To eventually find my fiancée -- it's amazing."
As for Giudici, she marveled, "Of course, I was skeptical, but this is my fairy tale, for sure."
Watch "After the Final Rose," where Lindsay and Catherine join Sean to discuss his decision, and the new "Bachelorette" is revealed: