“We are really excited for wedding planning,” Russell, who got engaged to Jones during Tuesday’s BiP season 8 finale, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“We’ve landed on 2024, and we’re starting to think what time of year we want to get married in, what kind of wedding we like, do we want it more in the day or at night? We’re starting to have these fun little conversations,” she continues. “But right now, we’re really excited to get to do the holidays together, and be in public and be normal.”
Jones, 28, shared that he plans to head to Russell’s hometown of Oklahoma City for Thanksgiving.
“She’s going to show me her city, meet some of her friends, stuff like that,” he says. “And I think Christmas time, we’re going to have our families come together and then just spend Christmas together here.”
By “here”, Jones means the San Diego home he and Russell, 27, moved into together.
“We jumped at the chance for that,” Russell says of cohabitating. “We’re like, no one is deciding how much time we spend together anymore. Not after split week.”
Neither Russell nor Jones contemplated exploring relationships with anyone else during the split beach twist. “We felt it was wasted time, but then it ended up showing us that we actually do love one another even when we’re apart,” he says.
Russell admits being apart “really sucked” as she adds, “We were spending 20 hours a day together, and so that was the first time it was like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like to be without you?'”
Jones says he sent over some mango ice cream — “that was kind of our thing in Paradise,” says Russell — with a note when he found out from Lace Morris that Russell and the other OG Paradise ladies “were a wreck.”
“I was like, ‘Yo, y’all need some ice cream. It’s going to be all right,'” Jones says.
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“And then I shared it with everyone,” Russell says. “We all had the fruits of that.”
Jones claims many moments from his and Russell’s relationship didn’t make it to air, but he also acknowledges “we stayed out the drama and focused on our happiness first.”
“As many times as you saw drama throughout the season, each one of those times we were having a serious talk,” he continues. “So that’s why we were farther along than everyone else’s [relationships].”
That helped Russell feel confident going into proposal day.
“The fact that we were spending so much time together every day — I mean, it was a lot — we had a lot of time to have those conversations,” she says. “I was at ease about an engagement, and that was something I’ve never expected in my life. I was more excited than nervous.”
Now that the Bachelor in Paradise finale has aired and the world knows about Jones and Russell’s engagement, they look forward to simply stepping out together in San Diego.
“We haven’t gotten to walk down the street together yet,” Russell says. “We still want to go on a date, to go hang out with our friends from Paradise that we both share. It’s like, I want to show you what I like to get in the grocery store. There are just so many little things we haven’t gotten to do together yet.”
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Jones has one big thing in mind, too. “She’d never been to Disneyland!” he reveals. “We got to go there, to Anaheim.”