how we met – eser
October 31, 2003: It was Halloween – my junior year in college at the University at Buffalo. My cousin came to visit me and we had plans to go to a few off-campus parties. Like most college guys, we chose costumes that we thought would grab the attention of other people at the party and help strike up conversation with attractive females. I dressed up as Dr. Ben Dover, proctologist. Original, I know. After going to a few parties where my costume had little success, we decided to make one last stop at a house party which was being thrown by a friend of a friend. Not long after I arrived, a woman ran up to me and proclaimed, “Hi, Dr. Ben Dover. I’m your wife!” Although I was thrilled to have the attention of this beautiful woman, I struggled to understand what she meant. Have I met her before? Did we have a class together? She must have seen the puzzled look on my face, because she moved in closer and clarified, “Dr. Dover, I’m your wife … Eileen. Eileen Dover!” As I finally understood the joke and coincidence, we both started laughing. Being the fan of a good pun that I am, I decided I had to introduce Dr. Ben and Eileen Dover to a few friends. Well, a few friends turned into the whole party and before I knew it, I introduced her to her (at the time) boyfriend. We parted ways that night shortly after. Throughout the next few semesters we discovered that we had several mutual friends and occasionally ran into each other on campus. Each time our paths crossed, I would jokingly greet her as “wifey” or “Mrs. Dover.”
October 31, 2010: It was Halloween – 5 years after college. I had a last minute 3-day weekend from work, so I decided to head to Washington, DC with some friends. A college friend of mine was in a band that was playing that night at a big Halloween event at the Carnegie Library downtown. I called my friend to let her know I was coming to the party. She informed me that some other friends from Buffalo were also coming. I didn’t think anything of it until later that night. As I was running late to the party, I received a voicemail from a familiar voice… “Eser! It’s your wife – Eileen! Hurry up and get here, you are missing a great party!” When my friends and I finally showed up, the venue was already packed with people. I lost track of my other friends pretty quickly, but found Eileen and our other mutual friends dancing by the stage. As we talked and danced, we discovered that we were both living in Buffalo again and quickly made plans to meet for a drink and catch up when we got back from DC. At that time, her phone number was still listed as “Wifey” under the contacts in my phone.
how we met – eileen
November 11, 2010: It was almost 2 weeks since Eser and I had “reunited” at the Halloween party in Washington, DC. We were both back in Buffalo, NY and finally found a day when our schedules aligned so we could meet up for drinks. As the day moved on, I became more and more excited for my evening plans with an old friend. We texted throughout the day to coordinate and decided to meet at a wine and piano bar downtown. As I was getting ready to leave my apartment, it dawned on me – Is this a date? On the drive to the bar, I called a mutual friend to get her opinion. She told me, “You will know when you get there if it is a date. And if he kisses you at the end of the night, then it is definitely a date.” As I walked into the restaurant and saw Eser waiting at the bar, my heart paused slightly and I remember thinking, “Man, I really hope this is a date!” He must have been thinking the same thing because our plans for “one drink after work to catch up” turned into a 4 hour dinner date and the beginning of new stage in our friendship.
how they asked – eileen
November 11, 2016: It was 6 years to the day from our first date. A lot had happened in those 6 years – We moved in together, changed jobs, relocated to Washington, DC, built a new life together, made some new friends and did a lot of traveling. Since 6 is my favorite number, we decided to celebrate this great achievement with a romantic weekend trip to Asheville, NC. The morning of our anniversary was a beautiful, sunny, fall day. We woke up and had a light breakfast before driving out for a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains with our dog, Stella Grace. Along our hike, we talked about our favorite memories from the past 6 years together and what we hoped for the next 6 years. When we reached the top of our trail, we sat and stared onto the horizon. I remember thinking about how incredibly lucky I was to be on this magnificent journey with the love of my life and our pup. I felt complete. We took some pictures, then made our way back down the trail and headed to a nearby (dog-friendly) brewery for lunch and relaxation. After lunch, Eser suggested that we head home to change and then go out to the gardens at the Biltmore Estate to take pictures during the sunset. We have wanted to take “family photos” for quite some time, so this seemed like the perfect idea. We meandered through the gardens of the estate and snapped a few shots along the way, and then Eser said he wanted to take one final photo from the hilltop overlooking the estate. It was getting chilly by this point and I was little hesitant, but Eser assured me that the view was stunning and would make a great photo.
At the top of the hill, Eser set up the timer on his camera to take our picture and I got Stella Grace into position. After taking the photo, Eser turned to me, took my hands in his, and said all of the exact words that I was thinking earlier in the day on our hike – how happy he was for us and how excited he was for our future.
At that moment, he dropped to one knee and proposed. The next few minutes were a blur of excitement, tears, and kisses. Luckily, Eser made plans with a local photographer to be at the site where he would propose. This amazingly talented photographer captured perfectly one of the happiest moments of my life. All of the emotions and love that I felt in that moment could never be put into words, but thankfully I now have those memories in a photograph. As we made our way back down the hill and through the Biltmore gardens once more, we officially began our journey as a newly engaged couple.