There’s big news in the Bates family!
Bringing Up Bates‘ Carlin Bates and Evan Stewart are engaged, PEOPLE can confirm exclusively.
“To say ‘yes’ to the man of my dreams is an opportunity that is a once in a lifetime dream come true!” Carlin tells PEOPLE.
Stewart popped the question at Portland Head Lighthouse during a romantic trip to Portland, Maine, over the weekend.
“I’m overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness that Evan put into this surprise destination engagement,” she says. “It was a magical place with the one person that completes me in every way! I’m overjoyed to be his fiancé!”
He kicked off the weekend by surprising Carlin in Nashville, where she and her parents were visiting her brother Lawson Bates, watching him record a new song. The group then headed off to Portland, Maine with Stewart’s parents as well.
The morning of the engagement, the couple enjoyed a donut breakfast with their families and a bike ride through Eastern Promenade Park before stopping for a picnic lunch.
Once everyone returned home to freshen up for dinner, Stewart surprised Carlin with a limo ride to the special proposal spot. At the lighthouse, Stewart read her a handwritten love poem, and they danced to the music of a symphony musician playing nearby.
After the dance — and with both sets of parents in the distance — Stewart got down on one knee and asked Carlin to marry him.
The couple began dating in September 2016 after Carlin’s sister Erin set them up. They publicly announced their courtship in March 2017.
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“I ran into you when I least expected it. I had no clue what God had planned for my life, but you were there just when I needed you,” Carlin wrote on Instagram to celebrate Stewart’s birthday in August. “I’ve never met anyone like you, and I never will. You are my favorite ray of sunshine that I never want to see fade.”
The Bringing Up Bates season finale —featuring Josie Bates’ engagement. — airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on UPtv.