Somewhere between champagne, fireworks and rose petals, it can be easy for Bachelor and Bachelorette couples to get wrapped up in the jet-setting, over-the-top whirlwind of a love story that the show provides. Keeping that love alive once the cameras turn off? That’s a much taller order.
This season’s Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher – who is engaged to Jordan Rodgers, the contestant she chose at the end of the show – has made it clear that she’s in this forever. And so is Rodgers, judging by his gushing 26th birthday message to his fiancée, which he posted to his instagram on Tuesday.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mullet wig wearing, ice cream cone munching, snap chat filter goofing, nighttime mask FaceTime sesh screen shot’ing, power ranger costume partying, morning hike crushing, nacho mountain loving, ocean view sunbathing, best friend couldn’t live without her best thing that ever happened to me love of my life,” he wrote. “You deserve the world and I’m going to keep trying to give you all of it! The first of many birthdays to honor (and tease) the unbelievable human being you are.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mullet wig wearing, ice cream cone munching, snap chat filter goofing, nighttime mask FaceTime sesh screen shot'ing, power ranger costume partying, morning hike crushing, nacho mountain loving, ocean view sunbathing, best friend couldn't live without her best thing that ever happened to me love of my life @joelle_fletcher you deserve the world and I'm going to keep trying to give you all of it! The first of many birthdays to honor (and tease) the unbelievable human being you are 🌮🌏 #grammar
While their off-camera life may not involve impromptu trips to Thailand or Chris Harrison’s watchful eye, their romance is stronger than ever. Here’s what we know about their life since the show.
1. Rodgers moved to Dallas, where they live together.
“I’ll be in Dallas closer to her family, so we’re ready for that,” Rodgers told Harrison on After the Final Rose.
“My bags are packed, we have a house in Dallas, we’re moving right after this,” he added.
And he followed through: the couple officially lives together in Dallas … and they’re already enjoying the nightlife (and snacks).
2. They spent their first week as an official couple on a romantic vacation in Malibu.
The end of The Bachelorette does not have to mean the end of glamorous vacations.
4. Both of their families are very supportive, but Fletcher has yet to meet Rodgers’ NFL pro brother Aaron Rodgers, from whom he’s estranged.
On After the Final Rose, Fletcher revealed she hadn’t met Aaron since filming wrapped. “It’s the same situation that it’s been, but it’s not something that we – it’s not the focus for us right now, it’s about is.”
Rodgers added: “Anything with my family, JoJo’s been a part of my family, and any conversations we have about that moving forward are with us and about us, and we’re excited about starting that journey with our families.”
When Harrison suggested that Aaron might be able to attend the wedding, Jordan responded: “We have to pick a date first.”
WATCH: The Bachelorette’s JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers Discuss If Their Wedding Will Be Televised
4. Which brings us to: They’re talking about wedding dates.
While they’re tossing around dates for a 2017 wedding, they haven’t planned anything definitive yet. “I keep saying ‘Let’s go to Vegas!’ ” Fletcher joked. “But we’re going to plan this one.”
“We’re trying to figure out where it’s going to be first,” Rodgers, 28, said in a recent interview. “We have family in California, family in Dallas…”
Fletcher added: “We’re just enjoying being together right now.”
The couple has confirmed that their nuptials will likely be in 2017, and Rodgers’ mom is just as excited as they are.
“His mom is always sending me wedding books, and we’re like, ‘We’ve gotta figure out where it’s going to be first!'” Fletcher said.
5. Watching the show back was an emotional experience for both of them.
“I watched the proposal a couple of times and I was tearing up,” Fletcher revealed on Good Morning America the morning after Monday’s finale. “It was such a beautiful moment then and just being able to watch it back, it was still so amazing and beautiful to see. I mean, I cried!”
6. Staying positive after the show finished filming has been ‘difficult’ – but the newly engaged couple got through it together.
Fletcher admitted that the backlash against her choosing Rodgers has been overwhelming and unexpected.
“I’ll be honest – it’s been difficult,” she said. “I think the hardest part has been, you know, my entire life I’ve envisioned getting engaged and having this moment where just everybody can see the love that you have for one another and that there’s this overwhelming amount of positivity and support.”
She added: “I think the hardest part of me is just having people say, ‘Oh he doesn’t really love you, this is for the show.’ That hurts me. There have been many nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep, and he’s been the person on the phone with me just trying to keep me okay, and I feel like it’s been really hard for him. [Before] this point, we can’t defend each other. We can’t show our love, we can’t show our relationship, so that’s been tough.”
Despite the struggles, considering a breakup “never happened,” Fletcher said.
7. They’re already making fun of each other like an old married couple.
On their drive down to Dallas to move into their new home, Rodgers documented Jojo’s impressively long nap on his Snapchat.
For Halloween, they (very appropriately) dressed up as old people.
Rodgers and Fletcher are ready to just be a normal couple, cute bickering included.
“I’m ready for a sense of normalcy,” Rodgers told PEOPLE. “We want to get into a routine with each other, getting into one place, moving in – I can’t wait to go furniture shopping and grocery shopping. I love that. I’m so all about that.”
“I’m looking forward to getting settled in Dallas,” he continued. “Once we’re settled and we have furniture to sit on, we’ll sit down and figure it out.”