The wildlife manager, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Monday, got down on one knee at the end of a dramatic episode, which saw Katie mourn her breakup with Greg Grippo and call it quits with Justin Glaze.
Before they made things official, Katie and Blake went on one last one-on-one date. The pair had fun throwing paint-filled balloons at each other and lounging in a hot tub, but Blake questioned Katie’s feelings for him after she admitted to wanting to leave after Greg exited the show.
“I love Katie. I love her a lot, but if Katie’s still hung up on Greg and she can’t match that, then there’s no point in getting engaged if she has doubts going into an engagement,” Blake said in a confessional.
Things took a turn during the nighttime portion of their date, though, when Blake finally told Katie that he loved her. It’s a realization Blake had during his Hometown date.
“I said to myself, ‘F**k, I love her.’ It’s scary to say because I promised myself that I wouldn’t say to anybody that I was sure, but I’ve been telling you all along I have been,” Blake said. “I love you and I’m f**king really excited about life with you.”
Though Katie had previously promised that she wouldn’t say those three little words until she was down to her final guy, she declared, “It is a big deal. It’s a huge word. As much as I want to be stubborn and just like you it’s scary and it’s but I f**king love you so much and I couldn’t be happier that you’re here. I’m so glad.”
The pair kissed and made their way to the Fantasy Suite, with Katie admitting in a confessional that she felt as if Blake “completes” her, and Blake likewise gushing that she’s his “person.”
After Katie officially broke up with Justin, she introduced him to her mom and aunt to mixed results. While Katie’s mom was thrilled that Katie seemed “so happy,” her aunt asked Blake some hard questions that left him feeling unsure.
“It made me think about, are we actually ready for that next step?” Blake said “… I love Katie, there’s no doubt in that, but I just hope we’re both ready for an engagement.”
After the pair wrote down, read and burned their fears, Katie felt that Blake was her “soulmate,” but he was less certain.
“It just seems like we would be perfect together, but when it comes to big decisions like this, I just want to make sure,” he said. “What if I’m not ready to propose? It’s just stressful. She’ll be devastated.”
Blake began looking at rings with Tayshia next. As Katie said in a voice over that she had “zero doubt” Blake was going to propose, the wildlife manager seemed less sure.
“This is the day that I’m making the biggest decision of my life, and sitting here right now, I’m very unsure and uneasy about the decision I’m going to make,” he said. “I love Katie. I love her a lot. But the I love you that comes with a ring is different… It just is.”
Blake seemed to be questioning if he’d propose up until the very last moment, when Katie told him everything she loves about him.
“Blake I always thought you showed up late, but if there’s anything I’ve learned on our journey, love shows up when it wants,” she began. “… I’ll forever be grateful that you fought to be here… You are caring, and supportive, and compassionate, and you love me for me and that’s a love I never knew existed.”
“The night you told me you love me changed my life forever,” Katie continued. “… You have made me the happiest woman alive… I love you today, tomorrow, and forever, and I can’t wait for our adventure to begin.”
Blake said that the experience has felt “like we’re dreaming” and “living out what’s basically been a fairytale.”
“Since day one it’s been connection and understanding that seemed too good to be true, but I knew. I knew the moment that I first met you,” he said. “… I know how great of a wife you’re going to be, mother you’re going to be.”
Blake went on to scare everyone when he said, “I know that you in the past have talked about how you’ve had to compromise to make things work. I don’t want you to do that, but I can’t give you what you came here.”
He quickly added, though, that Katie simply deserves “a lot more” than she ever dreamed.
“You deserve the world and I’m excited to support you and be there for you every day moving forward,” he said, before getting down on one knee and presenting her with a Neil Lane sparkler. “So that being said, Katie Lane Thurston will you marry me?”
Katie quickly accepted the proposal and offered Blake her final rose.
Katie and Blake’s relationship got off to a late start, when he showed up weeks into filming. Their connection was certain from the beginning, though Katie was hesitant to allow him to stay due to his past appearance on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams‘ season of “The Bachelorette”.
“You’re beautiful, but everything else you bring to the table, you check boxes that no one else has,” Blake told Katie at the time. “It just comes down to the fact that I would [wonder] what if and regret forever if I didn’t do this.”
“I promise you that if I came down to the end and we connected the way that I think we might, we would be engaged at the end of this,” he added.
In the end, Katie decided to follow her heart and allow Blake to stay. The pair went on a one-on-one date the next week, and their affection for each other was quickly solidified.
“I haven’t felt this way about somebody in a long time. There’s no holding back. There’s nothing I need to hide from her. I told her how good I feel,” Blake said. “Tonight, she gave me so much more than a rose. She gave me trust and honesty. Today could be my first date with my future wife.”
Katie agreed, saying, “I could see myself walking away with Blake at the end of this. There. I said it. But it’s the truth.”
A sweet surprise from Blake the next week left Katie swooning, as the wildlife manager’s feelings for her continued to build.
“It’s impossible to deny that Katie and I are going to fall in love,” Blake said. “It’s so exciting to think that that’s gonna happen, and it’s going to happen soon. I feel like Katie’s going to be my fiancée.”
The pair’s only roadblock came when Blake struggled to express his feelings to Katie, telling her he wasn’t “in love right now,” but was sure it was “f**king inevitable.” His inability continued to the Hometown dates, when Blake’s mom advised him to “man the f**k up and tell her you love her.”
When ET spoke with Katie at the taping of her Men Tell All special, she revealed why Blake’s delayed “I love you” didn’t bother her.
“Sometimes you don’t have to speak words to know how you feel. Given the time that he was there, I was in the same place as him,” she said. “You have these strong emotions, but we were both not in a place to accept our love. That was something I was OK with.”
MORE FROM ET: