March 08, 2018 09:41 AM

Now that the shocking conclusion to Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s Bachelor journey finally played out on television this week, he’s free to step out in public with his fiancée Lauren Burnham.

On Wednesday, the couple stepped out hand-in-hand in snowy New York City to enjoy their first official date night at high end Japanese restaurant Megu.

Lauren Burnham and Arie Luyendyk Jr.
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RELATED: Arie Luyendyk Jr. & Lauren Burnham Have ‘Talked About Running Away to Vegas’ to Elope

Lauren Burnham and Arie Luyendyk Jr.
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Lauren Burnham and Arie Luyendyk Jr.
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RELATED VIDEO: All About the Bold 3.5-Carat Engagement Ring Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Gave Lauren Burnham

The couple have been at the epicenter of the most controversial season in recent history. Burnham, 26, was Luyendyk Jr.’s runner-up — until he pulled a Jason Mesnick. Less than two months after proposing to finalist Becca Kufrin, he realized he was still in love with Burnham. The 36-year-old race car driver ultimately decided to break things off with Kufrin to pursue a relationship with Burnham — and proposed to her on live television Tuesday night during the two-hour After the Final Rose special.

  • For more on Arie and Lauren, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday

RELATED: Jason Mesnick’s Ex Melissa Rycroft Calls Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. ‘Emotionally Clueless’

“I totally respect his decision to follow his heart,” Burnham tells PEOPLE exclusivelyin this week’s cover story. “I don’t blame him for it, and I think it’s made us stronger in the end. It was worth risking getting hurt again to see where it could go. We’ve had a lot of conversations about it, and I know he won’t change his mind again.”

“It makes things easier for me knowing that he was able to be with Becca outside of this experience and he still knew that wasn’t what he wanted,” she adds. “It gives me confidence in our relationship knowing that he truly wants to be with me and he took this huge risk to make it happen.”

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