Jordan Fisher surprised his childhood best friend with a proposal in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, last week

By Octavia Akoulitchev and Melody Chiu
May 29, 2019 08:00 AM
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Jordan Fisher‘s dance skills are going to be put to good use — this time at his wedding!

The Dancing with the Stars: Juniors host — who also won season 25 of DWTS — popped the question last week to longtime love Ellie Woods in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

Fisher, 25, and Woods, 20, first met when he was 13 years old, and “we were best friends growing up,” says the star. After their relationship turned romantic as adults, Fisher knew “pretty much two months into dating” that she was “the one.”

“It was the biggest surprise of my life!” says Woods about the proposal, which took Fisher two months to plan. “I’m a very hard person to surprise so the fact that he pulled it off, kudos to you, babe.”

Jordan Fisher and Ellie Woods
ANDREW ROSE
Ellie Woods and Jordan Fisher
ANDREW ROSE

Fisher chose to get down on one knee at Woods’ parents’ beach house in Birmingham. “It’s a really special place for us, and when we started to pull into the neighborhood he was just going on about how we’ve been friends for so long, and I wasn’t really picking up on it,” says Woods. “Then we pulled into my parents’ house and I was like, ‘What is that?’ We stopped, got out of the car and Jordan walked me to our backyard where there’s a little deck over the pond.”

ANDREW ROSE

One of their best friends, Nicholas, “popped out of the woods” and began singing the couple’s favorite song “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar, Woods recalls.

Surrounded by peonies, lilies and seashells that Fisher had set up, he got down on one knee. “I’m an emotional person, so I was sobbing as well,” says Fisher of the tearful moment.

Jordan Fisher and Ellie Woods with their friends and family
ANDREW ROSE
Jordan Fisher and Ellie Woods
ANDREW ROSE

Afterward, the newly engaged couple celebrated with a few of their closest friends and both of their families. “Being able to have my folks there, her folks and her brother and his girlfriend … we all go way back,” he says. “It’s so, so special.”

Over the last few months, Fisher also managed to keep Woods’ custom-made engagement ring under wraps. Working with an LA-based jeweler, the star chose a 2.75-carat, pear-shaped solitaire.

Ellie Woods’ engagement ring
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“I knew her favorite cut. I think it’s super classy, and I had a picture in my head of what I wanted it to look like with the pave flooding down the side of the ring,” he says about designing the ring.

Adds Woods: “I had complete trust in Jordan to come up with something beautiful! It’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier with it.”

Looking forward, the couple plan to have a year-long engagement as Woods — who graduates from the University of Alabama this summer — begins working as a clinical nutritionist. “A year gives us plenty of time for us to plan a wedding without it being super stressful,” says Fisher. “We want it to be fun and full of love and excitement.”

And though their big day is still quite a ways off, Fisher and Woods are already excitedly planning for a family-packed future together.

“His goal in life is to have a family. I’m not an actress or in the entertainment industry in any way, so it was really important for me to find a husband that was grounded and had goals that were the same as mine,” says Woods. “For us to both agree that family was the most important thing that we get out of life was a big sign for me.”

  • For more on the engagement, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
Ramona Rosales

And when the time comes, the pair will continue going through life as the best of friends.

“When I talk to somebody about love and being in love, it’s less the matter of envisioning your life with that person but trying to envision your life without that person,” says Fisher. “When I realized very early on that I couldn’t picture my life without Ellie, I was like ‘I gotta do something about that!'”