How We Met
We met on a dating app called Bumble. Renee never understood the phrase “Opposites attract” until she met Dennis. Our first date was on a Sunday afternoon at a coffee shop in Ankeny. We discovered our shared love and experience for service trips, our faith, and even our family histories and dating experiences had a lot of similarities. However, there was just one problem….Renee was NOT feeling it. As far as she was concerned, the date was a one and done! LOL (well now we can laugh about it, Dennis didn’t think it was so funny back then). You see, when Dennis is nervous he fills the silence by talking, A LOT, lol. Renee quickly began to lose interest and started to withdraw her body language to send the message, “I’m not interested”. However, Dennis was reading the situation a bit differently and knew that if he didn’t act quickly he would lose any opportunity to prove her wrong.
As we wrapped up the date Dennis asked Renee for a second date before the first was even over! Renee was clearly pegged in a corner and didn’t know what to do. Honestly, she doesn’t remember what she even said, but she remembers what she felt, thinking “Who is this dude, he clearly can’t read this situation!!”. But little did Renee know at the time that he was reading the situation just right, he knew if he didn’t get in an offer for a second date that it was over.
We arranged for a second date on the following Tuesday and as the saying goes, the rest is history! We still maintain our differences on several subjects (ahem…politics), but we’ve learned to listen and respect each other, creating a balanced relationship and complimenting each other in a very healthy way.
When your friends and family keep asking, “so when are you two getting married?”, I think there is a pretty sure sign that they are seeing something healthy too. Moral of this story: “Don’t judge a book by the cover”, go on the second date!
How They Asked
In spring 2018 Dennis sold his house and we began the process of building a new home together. To commemorate our milestone and move to a new town, I (Renee) had arranged for a friend of ours to take photos. I was adamant when I scheduled them that they were NOT ENGAGEMENT photos. When the week finally arrived the weather was terrible, tons of rain and since we wanted to do outdoor shots I thought we might have to reschedule the photos. Dennis was not a fan of the idea and reassured me that even if it rained we could take some cute photos with umbrellas and such. When the day came, Dennis and I were driving back from an overnight trip that I had sprung on him earlier in the week. I had a pedicure appointment with my friend Brandi to celebrate her new job.
Or so I thought! She asked if I had time to get a mani as well and I said it wasn’t necessary because I had just done my fingers the day before in anticipation for the photos. During our drive back Dennis too asked if I was getting a mani and I lashed out saying, “why does everyone want me to get my nails done?!?! they look fine!”. I was oblivious! You see I had told Dennis a long time ago that I didn’t care when he proposed, but all I ask is that he make sure my nails look nice. That new job Brandi got, well that was real, but that was not the reason we were getting together. We were getting together as a result of the orchestration of Dennis. It was during our nail salon session that she drilled me on whether my intent was to marry Dennis and he went to set the stage for the proposal.
After we took some outdoor photos we headed to the new house. Dennis specifically requested that we take photos inside by the fire place. After the photographer took a couple of practice photos, Dennis reached for his coat pocket and I started to freak out on the inside. You see, I am a bit of a type-A personality and it was NOT in my plan to get engaged in August. I had a timeline and this was not it! I was relieved when he did not pull out a ring box and I blurted out, “oh thank God that is not a ring box”. But what was it?
Little did I know that he had worked with the builder months prior to have hidden cubbies built in to the fireplace mantel. The doors to the cubbies are only accessible via a small magnet that “unlocks” them. As he handed me the magnet he said “open it”, and I looked at him dazed and confused asking, “open what?!?” Behind door #1 was a card and rose petals. The card contained some sweet sentiments and expressed how excited he was to give me this surprise. I thought the “surprise” was the cubby, lol! (needless to say, but I’ve always been a bit gullible and naive). He then said, “open the other one” to which I replied, “the other what?!?!” I was still fixated on the magnet and hidden cubby #1.
Behind cubby #2 was more rose petals and the ring. To say I was shocked is probably an understatement. The look on my face tells it all, and to match the expression on my face I blurted out, “are you joking?” to which Dennis emphatically said “NO, I’m pretty serious right now, this is a real ring and I’m really asking you to marry me!” The rest is a bit of a blur, but evidence from the photos indicates that I did indeed, eventually, say yes!
But the story doesn’t end there…
We agreed to make a stop at our favorite watering hole, a locally owned brewery in Bondurant called Reclaimed Rails. When we got there we stopped in front of the building to take a picture with the sign and as we were walking up the stairs to enter the bar it hit me…there is more! And sure enough, as I walked in to the bar, there they were, all of our closest friends and family, some from as far away as 3 hours. As soon as I saw my best friend who traveled all that way on a “school” night, I lost it, uncontrollable tears of joy.
We are getting married Sept 28, 2019 and the rehearsal dinner will be back at Reclaimed Rails where we first celebrated the beginning to our #LoveLeeLife