'Bringing Up Bates' Star Lawson Bates Is Engaged to Girlfriend Tiffany Espensen: 'We Are Overjoyed'

Lawson Bates popped the question during the couple's trip to Italy this week

Lawson Bates is headed down the aisle!

The Bringing Up Bates star, 29, is engaged to girlfriend Tiffany Espensen, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal.

"Getting to know Tiffany — her heart, her passions, and her dreams — has been the greatest joy of my life, and we have been making so many wonderful memories together over the past year," Bates tells PEOPLE of his now-fiancée.

He proposed to Espensen, 22, during the couple's trip to Italy this week. The singer-songwriter told her they were traveling there to shoot a music video for their recent duet"Crazy Love," but he decided to use the work trip as an opportunity to surprise her with a proposal.

Lawson Bates and Tiffany Espensen Engagement
Isaiah Garrido

"It has been a roller coaster of a few days so far, from our first stop at the Colosseum in Rome, to a Vespa ride through the Siena countryside, to a lovely evening dinner in San Gimignano, to a horse and carriage ride through Florence — all leading up to the main reason I'm here: asking Tiffany if she would spend the rest of her life by my side," he says.

Lawson Bates and Tiffany Espensen Engagement
Isaiah Garrido

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Espensen says while she was surprised and delighted, she had started to suspect something was up.

"I knew something was suspicious when Lawson became awfully secretive with texts and planning with others. However, he still blew me away with this surprise!" she says. "To travel to Italy for any occasion is a dream, but especially for an engagement."

Bates popped the question at the Tenuta Larnianone in Siena. The Tuscan estate features multiple farmhouses, three swimming pools, 47 acres of vineyards and 22 acres of olive groves.

Lawson Bates and Tiffany Espensen Engagement
Isaiah Garrido

"Our engagement happened right at sunset with just a few simple roses, and the serenity of the Tuscan backdrop. I was thrilled and overjoyed when she said, 'YES!'" Bates says. "We are so grateful God brought us both into each other's lives, and now we are overjoyed and excited to start preparing for our wedding and our future together."

"This country is so gorgeous, and I have no words for how excited I am to share a life with Lawson," adds Espensen. "I am so grateful for how much effort he put into this engagement, from the ring to the beautiful setting and all of the coordinated details. This will always be a wonderful memory that Lawson and I will share forever. Most importantly, we thank God that He brought us together, and we look forward to sharing a life together in marriage!"

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Lawson Bates and Tiffany Espensen Engagement
Isaiah Garrido

Bates and Espensen started dating this February. In July, Espensen shared a loving birthday tribute to him alongside a sweet photo of the pair.

"You are the happiest and funniest guy I've ever known!" the actress wrote. "I'm continually amazed every day by how talented, patient, kind, generous, and intelligent you are. I don't deserve you, yet God brought you to me as the most wonderful blessing! I hope you know how much you are loved by me and everyone else who knows you. Thank you for making my world better."

About a month later, she appeared alongside Bates in the music video for his song "The Way I See You," and the two opened up to PEOPLE at the time about the process of filming together.

"Being able to shoot a project with my girlfriend as costar was definitely the icing on the cake!" Bates said. "Tiffany and I have been dating for a while, and every day I've spent with her I find I love her more."

He went on to describe Espensen as "such an amazing and kind-hearted person," adding, "I feel so blessed to have her in my life."

For her part, Espensen said, "Filming with Lawson was amazing! I was a little nervous when he asked me to be in the video. I've never done something like this, but he made everything so fun. Of course, he is my boyfriend, so it was pretty easy to love him, I wasn't acting that part at all. He's the sweetest guy in the world and I'm so blessed by him."

Tune in to watch the hit UPtv series Bringing Up Bates on the Up Faith & Family streaming platform.

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