The custom has been in place for so long that The Bachelorette spoilers have practically taken for granted at this point:
The newest Bachelorette is typically taken from the crop of women who appeared on that year's season of The Bachelor.
So the fact that ABC broke with tradition to cast Clare Crawley as the next Bachelorette is a testament to a lot of things.
Namely how unpopular this season's cast was, or at least that its hopefuls were SO young and unprepared for marriage.
Peter Weber's final three were Victoria Fuller, 22, Hannah Ann Sluss, 23, and Madison Prewett, 23. Combined age: 68.
Enter Clare, a 38-year-old hairdresser from California who was engaged once before - and has been on this franchise.
Of course, it's been a while since Crawley was on our radar, so some denizens of Bachelor Nation may not know her.
Fear not, because we have everything you need to know about the woman who will soon be handing out the roses ...
Meet Your New Bachelorette
Clare Crawley will soon be announced as the next Bachelorette. The choice is unexpected, for the reasons we outlined above, but at the same time, not totally shocking - and we're guessing she'll be a hit among fans.
So Who is She?
Clare is a 38-year-old hairdresser from Sacramento, California. And while she did not appear on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, she's no stranger to the franchise.
A Seasoned Veteran
Longtime card carrying members of Bachelor Nation will know that Clare was a contestant on Juan Pablo's season of The Bachelor, and that she also appeared on Bachelor In Paradise and the short-lived Bachelor Winter Games. (Yes, that was seriously a thing.)
Not the Juan
Obviously, Clare and Juan Pablo were not a love match; Juan Pablo chose Nikki Ferrell in the season finale over Clare, who won raves from fans for how she handled that situation. But she has been engaged before, and she has Chris Harrison to that ill-fated romance.
During her time on Bachelor Winter Games, Clare wound up in a love triangle with two contestants from internaional versions of The Bachelor.
Benoit Beauséjour-Savard from The Bachelorette Canada and Christian Rauch The Bachelor Germany both competed for Clare's hear. She eventually chose Benoit, and the couple got engaged.
Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, and Clare and Benoit called off their engagement just one month after filming wrapped on Winter Games.
Unlucky In Love
So yeah, with three previous appearances under her belt, Clare is not a total stranger to longtime fans of the franchise. But the fact remains that she's kind of a random choice.
So why Clare? Why now? Well there are several reasons that producers decided to go with this outdoorsy California girl rather than simply selecting a contestant from the most recent season.
The Age Factor
As we said earlier, Clare is 38. Still young in the grand scheme of things, of course, but considerably older than some of the very young contestants on Peter's season.
The youngest contestant on Peter's season was 22. Many of the women still lived at home with their parents. And a good number of them seemed more interested in social media fame than marriage.
A Common Complaint
While Peter didn't seem to mind - all three of his top three contestants are either 22 or 23 - viewers certainly did.
Missing the Point of the Show
Audiences griped that the show had lost its way by casting women straight out of college who seemed wholly unprepared for marriage.
A Meme-able Truth
A meme about the beautiful but very young model Hannah Ann Sluss that read, "When you're just looking for Instagram fame, but you might wind up having to marry a 30-year-old man" encapsulated this feeling.
A Worsening Situation
Chris Harrison and others acknowledged the problem as the season went on and viewers complained about the constant bickering and never-ending tears among Peter's early-twentysomething contestants.
A Welcome Change of Pace
We think it's safe to say that won't be an issue for Clare, whose previous appearances revealed her to be among the most laid-back contestants in the franchise's history.
Clare's selection was just made official on Good Morning America Monday morning, March 2. And Crawley says she was more surprised than anyone that producers came knocking.
A Long Hiatus
“I literally just found out,” Crawley admitted. “So unexpected, can you believe this? Six years later? What is happening?”
Nothing But a Number
Crawley addressed the issue of her age on Good Morning America. “I feel like a lot of people put it out there as this negative thing," she said. "For me, it’s just more years under my belt. More years learning and knowing what I want and what I won’t settle for.”
Strong But Vulnerable
Asked what she's looking for in a man, Clare replied, “I want a man that will take off his armor. I want a man that is strong but is willing to take off the body armor, open themselves up and be vulnerable. I think that is some serious strength right there.”
Blast From the Past
Going to the archives in search of Bachelor Nation's next big star may be surprising, but it's not unprecedented.
It's Happened Before
Bachelor expert Reality Steve compares Clare's seemingly random turn in the spotlight to those of Bachelor stars Arie Luyendyk and Nick Viall.
Casting Directors Are a Fickle Bunch
Arie hadn't been involved with the franchise for several seasons when he was cast, and Nick had been given multiple chances before he was chosen. So it just goes to show that there may be a template for these things, but there are also exceptions.
The Bachelorette spoiler expert also notes that it looks as though some of Clare's contestants will be considerably younger than her. But we're sure producers will choose some men closer to her age, as well.
Whatever happens, we're sure Clare is up to the challenge. Congratulations to the newest Bachelorette!