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Here at HelloBeautiful we just love celebrating Black love. Every Wednesday we profile newly engaged couples as they describe the moment he decided to “Put A Ring On It”.

How We Met

I met my fiancé, Dean, back in HS. I was a freshman and he was a junior. I don’t remember exactly how we met or started speaking; all I can remember was instantly hitting it off as friends. We shared the same lunch period and became really close – so close I started considering him as one of my “best guy friends” – someone with a great personality and very easy to talk to. One day after school while he was waiting for basketball practice to start,we talked outside for a bit and at the end of our conversation, gave each other a hug and said our goodbyes. I was maybe about 20 feet away when I heard him shout – CHECK YOUR COAT POCKET! Inside my pocket I found a letter, one of many I still have to this day. Two weeks later, on Valentine’s Day ‘00 – we made our relationship official.

Fast forward to 12 years and a 4 year old later… we were on our yearly family vacation in Cancun, just the 3 of us. Our plan was to have a nice family dinner for our little guy’s birthday. (So I thought) We walked to the pool area on the resort where there were rose petals leading to our private dinner set up under a small cabana, right on the beach. During dinner our son took something out of his pocket and handed it to his dad and told him, “do the right thing daddy!” Of course I had no idea what was going on and boom! Dean was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I was in complete shock and couldn’t even think straight. Honestly, that was one of the greatest moments of my life.

This is our story; two friends who became HS sweethearts exchanging love letters in between classes, to a couple still madly in love with one another getting ready to write a different kind of letter – our wedding vows.

We may not have done it the “traditional way” but, this is OUR way and it works for us. Together we will continue to grow, respect and love one another as friends and lovers.

His Story

I still remember the first day I saw Jasmin for the first time. It was the summer of 1999. I spotted this cute girl with long brown curly hair in the crowd during one of my summer league basketball games. Being the timid shy skinny kid that I was, I missed the opportunity to introduce myself before she left the park. I got lucky the following fall semester in High School when I found out she was now attending my school.

I was captain of the boy’s basketball team and took this chance to introduce myself and introduce her around the school. I welcomed her to sit at our “cool kid’s only lunch table” and we instantly became best of friends.

In true “Dean fashion” I used Valentine’s Day as the day to ask Jasmin to be my girlfriend. Box of chocolate, cheesy love note & my varsity jacket – there was no way she was saying no!

After receiving a partial scholarship to play college basketball in Alabama, Jasmin and I tried the long-distance relationship and remained close. She stood by my side and we picked up right where we left off upon my return back home to New York. My mom and sister would share stories and tell me Jasmin still came over to the house, still called and hung out with my mom, even with me being all the way down in Alabama. That’s when I knew she was the one for me. Fast forward a few years to 2008 and we were blessed to be able to bring our son Amare into this world. He changed our lives and has brought us closer together as a unit and a family.

Growing up, my family would take annual trips to different tropical islands, exposing us to our family roots and history. Family trips to St. Croix, St. Thomas & Anguilla played a huge part in my upbringing. I took pride in that and vowed to carry that same tradition with my own family. In 2012, Jasmin, Amare and I decided that Cancun would be our family trip destination. I had a long talk with my mom and told her I was ready to take my relationship with Jasmin to the next level. After 12 years of being together, a 4 year old son & seeing the bigger picture, I was finally ready to ask Jasmin to be my wife. Once I got approval from both sides of the families, I knew it was the right time.

Cancun was the perfect location for me to propose because that’s where the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean meet. My family is of Caribbean decent and Jasmin is ½ Mexican. I had a private dinner set up for us in a cabana on the beach. Rose petals were sprinkled everywhere & candles were lined up leading us to our table.

Much to Jasmin’s surprise, Amare was in on the proposal. He had the ring stashed in his cargo shorts the entire time! Who knew a 4 year-old could keep such a big secret?! He took the ring out of pocket and instructed me to “Do the Right Thing Daddy!” He passed me the ring and I got down on one knee and “Put a Ring On It.”

Nothing I have ever done ever felt so right. Jasmin is truly my best friend, my rock and an amazing mother. I look forward to the good times, many laughs and amazing memories that are in store for “The Gaskins”

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