- Met: March 2, 2002
- Engaged: December 25, 2003
- Wedding Date: September 12, 2004
Think you can’t find love at a sports bar? Think again. On March 2, 2002, Jocelyn Lee, 37, was flying wing man for her best friend Kim at Yogi’s in Encinitas. “Kim was chatting up this guy who claimed to be a Navy pilot,” Ms. Lee says and laughs. Sitting outside on a sunny spring afternoon at a coastal North County shopping center, Ms. Lee turns and smiles at her fiancé, Jeremy Pleso, 29. “You know, you’ve got to be supportive if your friend is talking with someone.”
A Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time and working in military intelligence, Mr. Pleso assessed Ms. Lee’s situation. “Jocelyn looked bored,” Mr. Pleso confirms. “She was playing with her straw and looking around. So I helped her out. We started making small talk.”
“He cracked me up,” Ms. Lee says.
Ms. Lee and her rescuer spent the evening together. The next morning, they had breakfast at the Potato Shack and took a walk on the beach. “Everybody says, ‘You can’t meet anyone at a bar,’” Ms. Lee says. “But you can.” They’ve been together ever since. “I knew he was the one when he came over to my house with his guitar and played a medley of ’80s power ballads. I love that music.”
“It was the cheesy-hair love-ballad medley,” Mr. Pleso says.
Mr. Pleso deployed to the Middle East in July 2002. He was gone for six months, training in Kuwait. “We e-mailed a lot while I was gone,” Mr. Pleso explains. “Plus some regular letters.” He got back in December 2002 and was re-deployed a month later to Iraq. “That one was harder,” Ms. Lee says. “We weren’t expecting it. And Jeremy said, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to be or what I’m going to be doing.’ While he was gone, I refused to watch the news.” Ms. Lee, a hairdress- er at Kids’ Kuts in Encinitas, also got involved in community theater to make the time go by.
When Mr. Pleso returned in May 2003, he knew he want- ed to marry Ms. Lee. “It was always in the back of my mind,” he says. “As soon as I got back after being in this stressful situation and enduring a long separation, I knew she was the one.”
On Christmas morning 2003, the couple exchanged presents at their home in Encinitas. Mr. Pleso told Ms. Lee to leave the room for a minute. When she came back, he was standing by the tree. He spoke to her in terms of endearment, asked her to marry him, and pulled out a little red velvet box. She said, “Yes.”
At the shopping center, Ms. Lee holds up her left hand. On her third finger a ring sparkles with a center diamond surrounded by two smaller diamonds and baguettes on the side. The couple is planning a small September wedding for 60 to 70 people at Ms. Lee’s mother’s home in Encinitas. “She lives right down the street from us,” Ms. Lee says. “She’s got a nice-sized back yard. We’re going to have a reverend marry us. He’s helping us choose our vows. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t write your own vows unless you’re a Pulitzer Prize winner.” Ms. Lee laughs.
“My mom has gotten the caterer,” she continues. “I haven’t shopped for my dress yet. That’s the best part. I’m saving it for last.”
Mr. Pleso, who got out of the Marines five months ago, now attends Mira Costa College full-time. “I’m taking credits toward my associate’s degree,” he says. “I plan to go on and get a bachelor’s in communications.” In the meantime, he’s also part of the waitstaff at Pamplemousse Grille, a swanky Del Mar restaurant.
In five years, Mr. Pleso plans to start his career in communications. The couple hopes to have kids. “Or a Yorkshire terrier,” Ms. Lee says and laughs. “Because of my age, we’ve got to have kids pretty soon.
“I feel so comfortable with Jeremy,” she continues. “We fit together like a hand in glove. I was always tense about relationships before. He’s brought a real peace, a contentment and ease.”
Mr. Pleso agrees. “It’s not a childish infatuation. It’s a very mature love. I can see Jocelyn and I forever happy growing old together.”
Seeing them together, even a sports fan would be smart to bet on that.