Surprisingly, it's actually not that unusual these days for Bachelor contestants to have met the Bachelor before appearing on his season. But what happened between Kelley and Peter before The Bachelor is a little different than some of these other stories.
Kelley isn't a former contestant who asked to be a part of another show like Kacie Boguskie did on Sean Lowe's season after getting sent home from Ben Flajnik's season. She's not a friend of a Bachelor star like Jade Roper's buddy Liz Sandoz who later went on Nick Viall's season. Kelley didn't meet Peter as a fan and ask for a quick selfie like Lauren Burnham did with Arie Luyendyk Jr. before his season. No, Kelley and Peter randomly ran into each other when she already knew that she was likely going to be cast on the show and Peter hadn't yet been announced as the Bachelor, but was looking like the most likely option.
Host Chris Harrison actually talked about Kelley and Peter's chance encounter in his video introducing all the contestants, showing that the series planned to be open and honest about the situation. "Kelly met Peter prior to the taping of the show," Harrison said. "This is completely random but they met at a hotel they were both at for separate parties. She knew Peter — Peter obviously didn't know her — she went up to him, and they met, and they both think this could be destiny."
Kelley expanded on this story during The Bachelor premiere. She was there for a friend's wedding, and Peter was there for his high school reunion. She said that, at the time, she was actually unsure of whether or not she should go on the show. When she saw Peter in the hotel lobby, she decided it was a "major sign" that she should take the leap. Except, she didn't just see Peter. She actually approached him, told him her story, and the two hit it off.
When Kelley stepped out of the limo, Peter instantly recognized her — and he seemed really happy that she decided to show up after all. "It was meant to be," Peter said, adding, "I'm so happy you're here." The two even picked up right where they left off, with a cute little dance that they'd initially done at the hotel. So they clearly got to know each other fairly well during that first encounter.
Notorious Bachelor spoiler Reality Steve doesn't have much more information than what Harrison, Peter, and Kelley have already supplied, writing that he didn't know the extent of the meetup they had — just that it took place in August. That matches the timeline Kelley gave of a month before filming, which began in late September. But it doesn't seem like Kelley or Peter have much to hide beyond what they've already said about their encounter. Kelley didn't even keep the news from the rest of the house, telling the other women immediately upon entering the mansion.
It's certain to put a target on her back that she already has a connection with Peter, but he seems really excited that she's there — so it's not like she has anything to really lose by being honest. Not to be cliché, but she's there for Peter... not to make friends.
As the series progresses, expect Kelley and Peter's relationship to move along at a quick pace given their early foundation — especially when they find themselves back at the hotel where they first met. Was it really destiny, as Harrison hinted? Kelley and Peter both seem to hope so.