The couple got engaged in 2018

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Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula's relationship is stronger than ever — and they have the coronavirus pandemic to thank for it.

The Summer House stars, who got engaged in 2018, tell PEOPLE that self-isolating together in their New York City apartment during the start of the COVID-19 lockdown last year had a positive effect on their relationship.

"There was no escape. So it helped us to be able to communicate better with each other, to express how we're feeling instead of bottling it up," says Batula. "We learned so much, and it definitely made our relationship stronger."

Cooke, 38, and Batula, 28, are also partners at their sparkling hard tea company, Loverboy.

"It was a lot," Cooke admits of working and living together. "Like, all of a sudden, boom! We are just the two of us. And so we adapted and evolved and got to an incredibly strong place."

One obstacle they had to overcome? Planning their upcoming wedding. Cooke and Batula were originally set to tie the knot in September 2020 but had to postpone the ceremony due to the pandemic.

"We were literally getting ready to drop our 'Save the Dates' in the mail when lockdown hit," says Cooke. "Like a lot of couples, we were going back and forth as to what we should do."

In the trailer for the upcoming season of Summer House, the two are seen exchanging vows in what appears to be a surprise backyard wedding with their fellow cast mates.

"We had to postpone the big celebration, but we wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to enjoy a special moment with friends," Cooke says of the impromptu ceremony.

Still, the couple is looking forward to officially becoming husband and wife — even if it has to be in front of a smaller crowd.

"We want people to be comfortable, and people are going to be coming from all over the place," says Batula. "So we'll still do something with friends and family, but it probably won't be the 250 [person] guest list we had originally planned."

Summer House season 5 premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.