'Bachelor in Paradise' couple Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn dish on moving in together and making franchise history
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/09/2021
Bachelor in Paradise couple Riley Christian and Maurissa Gunn have dished on what's next for their relationship after getting engaged on Season 7 and how it feels to have made history for The Bachelor franchise.
Riley, a 32-year-old attorney from Long Island City, NY, and Maurissa, a 25-year-old patient care coordinator from Atlanta, GA, were one of three couples to get engaged onBachelor in Paradise's seventh-season finale.
After a whirlwind romance on the show, the couple shared their to-do list for the near future.
"First, is [we're] going to be [meeting] the families and then [I'm] moving here to New York to be with him," Maurissa toldPeople in a joint interview with her new fiance.
"Then, of course, wedding and then some babies."
The couple said they're excited to go about real life together, such as shopping at the grocery store and exploring Riley's stomping grounds.
"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," Riley gushed. "So, I can't tell her what it is just yet. It's going to be a surprise!"
The lovebirds, however, haven't gotten "that far" into wedding planning yet.
When Maurissa accepted a pear-shaped diamond engagement ring from Riley on the beach in Mexico earlier this summer, the pair became the franchise's first-ever Black couple to get engaged.
While the couple broke ground on the series, Maurissa and Riley said they were never thinking about that when falling in love onBachelor in Paradise.
"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," Maurissa shared.
"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!"
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Riley said he and Maurissa were "just focused on finding love and building a connection."
"The person that we found love with also happens to look like us, which is great," Riley added. "It's great for the culture. So, I mean, love is love."
Riley and Maurissa fell head over heels in love with each other in Paradise, but Riley was still a little unsure as to whether he was going to pop the question after the pair's overnight Fantasy Suite date.
Riley assured People that it "was never a thought" to leave the resort alone, but he had to take a moment or two to reflect on the idea of potentially making Maurissa his fiancee.
"[I thought to myself], 'This is everything that you've ever wanted -- having a fiancee and being able to start a family.' I knew where I was already leaning towards," Riley explained.
"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.'"
Maurissa said being honest and vulnerable with Riley and vice versa resulted in their "successful" partnership.
"We were 1000 percent ourselves going into it and there were no questions about anything," Maurissa noted.
And Riley added, "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."
The couple said 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," Riley elaborated.
On Bachelor in Paradise's finale, Maurissa told Riley at the Final Rose Ceremony how life had been full of letdowns and broken promises until she met him and was able to find out what a real man is.
Maurissa essentially called Riley her "dream," saying fairy tales do exist after all.
"I knew I loved you the first night that I met you. You were adventurous and passionate, and I knew I was going to do whatever I needed to, to make you mine. And today I know I want to make you mine forever," Maurissa gushed.
After Maurissa repeated how she loved Riley and he made her feel safe and protected, it was Riley's turn to express himself.
Riley said he had been searching for something special, something one cannot always see. Riley had been waiting for butterflies, a fast heartbeat and goosebumps on his arms.
"I know that that feeling is love. So Maurissa, I love you -- and I've loved you since our very first date," Riley said. "But I just need to be sure."
With that said, Riley got down on one knee and asked Maurissa to marry him. Maurissa cried in her hands and repeated, "Yes, yes!"
At the end of the broadcast, Bachelor in Paradise provided an update on the couple and revealed they're still "madly in love" to this day.