How We Met
January 2012: I was working in the Athletics Department at Duke University. One of my closest girlfriends, Armani, came to me and said “I have your husband for you!!!” I told her “Nah…I’m good. I’m not really looking for anyone right now.” So she showed me his Facebook page and I said “I mean….he is cute and all, but I’m good”. Let’s be honest – He was EXTREMELY attractive but I just didn’t really care to meet him.
So this guy, Dennis Gates, is an Assistant Men’s Basketball coach at Florida State University, who happened to come play at Duke that very next week on January 21, 2012. Before the game, Armani comes to me and says “So are you ready to meet your future hubby?” I still thought nothing of it – then the unthinkable happened….Florida State basketball beat Duke in a last minute buzzer shot and we all were left there in shock (something Dennis still talks about to this day)!! So after the game Armani says “OK, let’s go meet him!” I was still hesitant but figured at this point, “sure…why not?”
So not even going to lie, the moment I saw him I thought “ummmmm, he is CUUUUUUUTE and tall and CUTE!!!” and immediately I got butterflies. Armani introduced us and we talked for a few minutes and he may not admit this, but he had the biggest smile on his face the entire time. To this day we still laugh at the fact that when he shook my hand goodbye, he held onto my arm for a solid 45 seconds (because clearly he didn’t want to let me go). Dennis called me that evening (yes I was too excited) and mentioned that he had to come back up to recruit in North Carolina that next week and he would love to take me on a date. Of course I said yes and was super excited. We talked often that week – and when he picked me up for our date, he had a gorgeous bouquet of roses and chocolate covered strawberries from Godiva (my fav!).
The jury is still out on whether or not he truly had a recruit to come see in NC – but I just like to think maybe I was that recruit ;-). Well – obviously he got the “commitment” from his recruit (me) because 5 years later, we are now getting married!!!!-
how they asked
The words I’m about to write seriously do no justice to how AMAZING that special day was (the video says it all!!).
Let me preface by saying Dennis is VERY methodical. He also is very private about certain things. I knew he wanted to propose eventually, but he always said I would never ever know when it was coming. Over the last few months, Dennis kept saying he needed to talk to my parents but just couldn’t find the time to get to Delaware from Florida to do so. I would say “just call my Dad! He will be perfectly fine with it.” In November, I was at a wedding in the Dominican Republic with my parents and my dad even said “Jocelyn…what is Dennis waiting for?! I’m ready for him to come talk to me already and he is taking too long!!!”
I told Dennis that, and he said “oh wow!! He is really mad at me, I must have messed up!” Little did I know – that when Dennis flew up to Delaware in October to take me and my parents to dinner when I was traveling for work, he actually flew up that morning to spend the day with my parents and ask my father for my hand in marriage!! WHO KNEW!!!! (well clearly I didn’t since my dad and Dennis kept throwing me off).
Fast forward to Wednesday, November 30 – which started out as just a regular day. Dennis was going to recruit in LA that day, and we communicated that morning as he was running to catch his layover in the ATL airport (or so I thought). I was in a meeting from 8:30-9:30am, and when I got back to my office, I got a call from our receptionist saying I had a delivery downstairs. So in my head, I’m thinking it’s just some type of work package, but then I see this AMAZING and HUGE bouquet of flowers.
Now there are many times I see flowers down there and wonder if they are for me, and typically they aren’t (lol) so I didn’t get my hopes up high. Then the receptionist says, “these flowers are for you”. Obviously I’m excited at this point! I carry then back upstairs and there is no name on the card. They could only be from one person (my now fiancé) but I just assumed it was an early birthday delivery or something. A Proposal didn’t cross my mind.
Thirty minutes later I get an email from the receptionist saying I have another package. I immediately got hype! But when I went to get it and saw it was a FedEx package – I was totally deflated (in a hilarious way) haha. But I saw the return address said “Dennis Gates” (my man). I opened it and there was a gorgeous envelop with the number 1 on it. When I opened it, there was hand written card in calligraphy that said: I love you.
I texted Dennis and said “Are you trying to make me cry today!” and he was still on his flight (again…or so I thought….catching the theme here?).
I’m totally a girl’s girl, and I am texting my group chat all that is happening, so we are coming up with scenarios on what could possibly be happening. They are thinking maybe that day was the FIRST day of a 5 day proposal…we thought he might do it that night at my University’s women’s basketball game, etc. We were all over the place. So my close colleague at work (Yulander) and I went to grab lunch and bring it back to our office to eat – something we do often. When we get back to my office, Yulander says he will be right back. He is taking FOREVER to come back and I’m waiting for him to eat. My girls keep checking in to find out what is happening, but at this point, nothing is happening.
Some random guy then starts taking pictures outside of my office of cubicles. Someone asked him what he is doing, and he simply started he is taking pictures for the site. I get suspicious immediately, and just stare at him. He then walks into my office and I say “ummm…hello? Can I help you?” He tells me he is taking pictures for the site. Then right after that, Yulander walks in with envelop #2!!!
I yelled “I knew it! I knew you all were up to something!” The photographer was hired by my fiancé to capture the rest of the day! You will have to see the pictures for the exact words, but the letter basically tells me that my Chariot awaits me for a 1:30 pm pick up to get my day started.
I was overwhelmed and nervous and excited all at the same time. The car service takes us to my house where envelop #3 is under my doormat telling me my next stop is the nail salon and hair salon for my day of pampering!
Rewind to about 3-4 weeks before this day when a girlfriend of mine (Yulander’s wife) texted me asking for recommendations for hair and nails and who I go to (sneaky!!!).
After getting my hair done (Envelop #4), I was taken back to my house to get ready for the evening. Envelop #5 told me to meet Dennis at the Epicurean Hotel at 6:30 where he will be – and I’m texting my best friends about outfits to wear and getting approval for my selection.
So I’m walking in thinking he will be right there – but instead was told to order a drink and await instructions. After my drink, my final clue told me to meet Dennis in Room 439.
You should have heard my heart beating at this point! I had to go to the bathroom really quick to freshen up and take a few deep breaths as I knew I was about to see the love of my life.
I get to Room 439 – and the instructions on my door told me to come inside, take a deep breath, and watch the video. If Dennis told you the story, he will tell you how many questions I asked outside the door out of sheer nervousness and excitement!
When I walked through the door, the first thing I said was “Oh WOW”. The room was lit up with 100 candles and White rose petals were all over the room, along with beautiful poster boards with the Calligraphy Handwriting (Shout-out to Kristy Elizabeth Design!!). The poster boards were all of Dennis’ words for me “You provide me with a love I never knew existed. You provide me with clarity when in chaos. You are my best friend.” And so on!! I asked the photographer if I could stop and read them all and he said the directions told me to sit down in front of the computer lol.
I sat down – pressed the space bar on the computer and my favorite song started playing (Beautiful by Tweet). Dennis created a movie of our story. It was by far the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I started crying on slide #3. At the end, the words said “It would be my greatest honor to be your husband, Jocelyn Alexis Fisher will you marry me?” You will see on the video that is when Dennis walks up next to me and gets down on one knee. I couldn’t stop crying at this point (and tearing up as I write this!). He is trying to pull me to look at him, but I’m still crying haha. Finally he says “stand up” and grabs my left hand and says “Jocelyn Alexis Fisher, it would be my greatest honor to be your husband, will you marry me?”
I always dreamed of a proposal like this and pictured how I would say yes, and thought I would be dramatic and say something like “OF COURSE!” But I was legit speechless. I obviously said yes (as evidenced in the video) but the funniest thing is when he put the ring on my finger, it nearly blinded me!!!! It was so big and perfect and everything I have ever wanted in a ring!! And he and I never even went ring shopping together! Well I slapped his arm extra hard and said “SHUT UP! OMG”.
From there, we made our phone calls and told all of our friends. But the best part is that Dennis literally thought of everything. After the proposal, we went and took engagement pictures around Tampa, FL and then went to a celebratory dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse that night.
Again, my words do this special day no justice, so please watch the video.
Dennis Gates truly made me the happiest person alive on November 30 – and I can’t wait to do the same with him for the rest of our lives.