Sean Lowe, the hunky Dallas businessman with a good sense of humor and abs of steel, closed out one of the most popular seasons of "The Bachelor" by proposing on bended knee to Catherine Giudici during Monday night's episode of the ABC reality series.

Catherine, a 26-year-old graphic designer from Seattle, accepted the proposal and the sparkling Neil Lane diamond engagement ring that came with it during the final rose ceremony in Chaing Rai, Thailand.

"Every time we have to say goodbye, I miss you," Sean, 29, told her. "I don't want to have to say goodbye anymore. Catherine, I want to spend the rest of my life telling you 'I love you' and making you feel like the most special, beautiful woman in the world. Catherine, will you marry me?"

"This is the coolest day of my life," Catherine said as the happy couple off into the sunset -- on the back of an elephant.

It wasn't so cool for Lindsay Yenter, the other finalist, who looked stunned when Sean kicked her to the curb.

"I have to say goodbye to you, and it's by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do because I know how incredible you are and I love you," he said. "That's the hardest part I love you. I know I do. I'm sorry."

Oh so awkward.

"This is really painful. This is my nightmare," Lindsay told him. "I really didn't see this coming. I'm happy for you, I'm happy that you found love, but I honestly can't image my life without you and that's something I'm going to have to figure out."

As she was driven away in a van, Lindsay, a 24-year-old substitute teacher from Fort Bragg, N.C., broke down in tears and said she felt like "an idiot."

Monday's finale began with Sean's family meeting both finalists in Thailand and offering their input. Sean's mother, Sherry, was especially leery, suggesting that her son hold off on proposing if he wasn't absolutely sure at that point.

"It doesn't have to be either one of them," she said.

"I'm going to do what's best for me," said Sean, who claimed that he had yet to make up his mind.

After her final date with Sean, Catherine wasn't exactly confident that things would end in a proposal. That's because she admitted her love for him, but felt he didn't reciprocate, only replying, "Thank you for today."

"This is one of the most horrible good-byes I've ever had," she revealed ... I can't get anything out of him."

Before the final rose ceremony, Catherine had host Chris Harrison deliver Sean a letter. Had she decided to end things? No, it was a reaffirmation of her feelings for Sean. "I will love you forever if you let me," she wrote.

During the live post-show, Sean revealed that he and Catherine plan to get married "soon" and the wedding would be televised on ABC. Harrison said the wedding would air this summer.

Also revealed: The next "Bachelorette" will be Desiree Hartock. who had a long run on "The Bachelor" with Sean until she was let go after the family visit portion of the show.