'BiP' 's Riley Christian Says Historic Engagement to Maurissa Gunn Is 'Great for the Culture'

Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn are the first Black couple to get engaged on Bachelor in Paradise

Bachelor in Paradise couple Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn were one of the remaining three couples who got engaged in this season's finale episode. But the pair's relationship milestone is also historic, making them the franchise's first-ever Black couple to reach engagement status.

The newly-engaged duo tells PEOPLE exclusively that they weren't even aware their engagement had become a bigger moment in franchise history.

"Going into this, I guess the social media and the media is kind of what let us know that we are the first Black couple to come out of this," says Gunn, 25. "Because we just went into it [with an] open mind. Our hearts were open and we just happened to meet each other and we look alike, which is even better!"

Christian, 32, says the twosome were "just focused on finding love and building a connection."

Engagement photos of Maurissa Gunn & Riley Christian
Liz Martinez Creations

"The person that we found love with also happens to look like us, which is great," he adds. "It's great for the culture. So, I mean, love is love."

During Tuesday's finale, Christian popped the question with a pear-shaped diamond ring surrounded by 43 round-cut diamonds, which was designed by Neil Lane. Before the romantic milestone occurred, Christian expressed to Gunn after their overnight date that he wasn't sure about whether he was ready to propose.

Christian says it "was never a thought" he'd leave Paradise alone, however.

"It was that there's an engagement," he says. "This is everything that you've ever wanted — having a fiancé and being able to start a family. I knew where I was already leaning towards. It's just like, this is a big decision. Take some time to think about it. Okay, you thought about it. It didn't take that long. And now, go propose and get your lady."

Engagement photos of Maurissa Gunn & Riley Christian
Liz Martinez Creations

Christian and Gunn's captivating love story was all made possible through their willingness to be honest and vulnerable with one another on-screen. According to the Atlanta native, she credits these factors as "the reason we were so successful" on the summer spinoff.

"We were 1000 percent ourselves going into it and there were no questions about anything," says Gunn, to which Christian adds, "I wanted to come in and just really be my authentic self because I know if you reach the goal and you get engaged, when this is over, this person who they fell in love with, that has to be the same person when you leave the show. Otherwise, it's not going to work."

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Because of that, they chose to "leave it all on the table" and "let each other know exactly who we are so we can really make this work," Christian adds.

While their engagement is officially out in the open, the Bachelor Nation pair haven't gotten "that far" into wedding planning just yet.

Engagement photos of Maurissa Gunn & Riley Christian
Liz Martinez Creations

"First, is [we're] going to be [meeting] the families and then me moving here to New York to be with him," says Gunn. "Then, of course, wedding and then some babies."

But they also can't wait to do ordinary activities together, including heading to the grocery store. And Christian is additionally looking forward to showing Gunn around his native New York.

"She hasn't been able to explore the Big Apple and there's so much here. And I have spots that I want to show her," Christian says. "So, I can't tell her what it is just yet. It's going to be a surprise!"

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