Kaitlyn names some of her favorite suitors, including the one who "had me at group hug"

By Kaitlyn Bristowe
Updated May 20, 2015 02:10 PM
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Kaitlyn Bristowe is the Bachelorette! She charmed her way into the hearts of the Bachelor Nation – and nearly the Bachelor himself, Chris Soules, on season 19 of The Bachelor. Now Kaitlyn has begun her own journey to love.

THERE YOU HAVE IT!!! I can finally say that I, Kaitlyn Bristowe, am the Bachelorette. What a whirlwind. When Chris Harrison told me the news, of course I was excited. But the first thing that came to mind was, ‘How is Britt?’ I wanted to run to her and give her a huge hug and make sure she was okay. Britt is a strong woman, so I knew she would handle it well, but that’s just not something anyone would want to go through. It was without a doubt the strangest mix of emotions all at once.

I did feel guilty being excited because I knew someone’s feelings were hurt. But I was grateful, eager and relieved. As the excitement took over, I was sooo stoked I got to call my mom! I knew how happy she would be for me and that my whole family was probably anxious. I had just been through such a roller coaster of a night, there were so many conversations and emotions happening, I couldn’t comprehend doing another cocktail party and then having my first rose ceremony. It was the longest and the best night of my life.

I was thrilled to walk around that corner when Chris Harrison announced me as the Bachelorette. But, at the same time, how could I not wonder who would be disappointed? Life is about connections, and some people have better chemistry with others. That don’t make you bad people. When you have a group of men and two different women, it’s to be expected that the room could be split. But let me tell you, hearing those guys cheer and seeing the smiles on their faces when I walked into the room was a moment I will never forget. Watching that back, I actually got emotional. The reactions from guys like Ian and Shawn B. were so sincere it brought tears to my eyes. It was a great feeling to know there were guys in the group that were genuinely excited.

RELATED VIDEO: Kaitlyn Bristowe Dishes on the Roller Coaster of Emotions After Finding Out She Was The Bachelorette

So now, having a cocktail party as THE Bachelorette was a whole other ball game. The power was back in my hands, I was in control and now had an opportunity to get to know these men a bit better. I knew some of these dudes voted for Britt (that still sounds so bizarre to say), but EEEEEES OKAY! It didn’t mean that I couldn’t develop a relationship with them. I understood – these poor guys were under pressure, and Britt is lovely. I just wanted to make sure they wanted to still be there, and, if I wasn’t their type, I wanted them to know that they could leave. The last thing I would want is someone to try and force a connection if it just wasn’t there. A great example was Jared, what a nugget. You could see in his eyes that he was nervous to tell me how he voted. But when he told me, his honesty was a turn-on. He was still open to exploring a relationship with me. And who knows, people fall in love in mysterious ways.

Joshua I mean how hot is it when a guy welds a flower for you? Oh, you have never had a hot farm boy weld you a rose? Let me tell you, I am not a girl who loves to get flowers. I love the sweet gesture, but those things are high-maintenance! Having a rose that I don’t have to water that’s welded from metal and steel that a guy made? That’s badass. Joshua if you are reading this, best gift ever.

It’s was crazy to now focus on each relationship knowing that these were potential husbands for ME and no one else. I’m not 100 percent sure what it was about JJ, but I just had a connection with him. Like I said, he seemed different but kind of familiar. I liked the way he carried himself and spoke about his daughter. He seemed like a very interesting, intelligent guy, and I was into it. And how about cupcake bringing the heat!!!? Who would have expected this soft-spoken dentist who came out of a cupcake to go in for the kill. High five, Chris S. Up top! I like a man who goes for it.

As the Bachelorette I still needed to hand out a first impression rose!! With all of these guys stepping up their game, how could I choose? I can honestly say, I have never felt such an instantaneous connection with someone as I did with Shawn B. right out of the limo. He had me at group hug. I was like, “Um, no, just get that cute butt over here.” Sitting down with him just confirmed my feelings. And I just knew I had to give the first impression rose to him. He didn’t do anything crazy that stood out – he was himself, and I felt comfortable with him.

First. Rose ceremony. EVER. What the whaaaatttt? It’s hard to hand out roses not knowing who was there for me. It’s also hard to send home GREAT guys. I just had to go with what my heart felt. That was what I respected most about Brady. He also had to go with his heart. It was admirable and sweet. The guy knows what he wants, and I hoped if anyone was feeling that way they would leave, too. No hard feelings. The heart wants what it wants. Like I said, I felt like the happiest and luckiest kid in all of the land to be standing there in front of that group of men. I told myself through this process I would always just go with what my heart felt, and not what the Bachelorette SHOULD do. I couldn’t wait for the “journey” (yeah, I said it) to begin.

I still can’t believe that all this happened. I was – and still am – so grateful and humbled to be the Bachelorette. And if you’re ready for a wild ride full of heartbreak, tears, A LOT of laughs, more than a few crazy surprises (like when a certain someone shows up out of nowhere!) and most importantly love, then I hope you will stick with me on this journey.

And please know that it’s hard to develop relationships that I hold so close to my heart and not make mistakes. I made some. I am human, and I am also honest. Do I have some regrets? Of course. But I also know that I followed my heart, and I hope you will remember that as you follow along too. So buckle up! I still can’t believe it, I’M THE BACHELORETTE!!!!!


RELATED VIDEO: The Bachelorette‘s Kaitlyn Bristowe Reveals What She Looks for in a Perfect Match

The Bachelorette airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.