Welcome to the board, and to the addiction! And how great is it that you have built-in dive buddies!
Drysuits will make your dives much more comfortable and enjoyable, especially in the winter, so your approach is sound.
Feel free to join our weekly dives, or post in the dive planning section yourself. Also check out our classifieds section for gear, or post the gear central section if you have questions. Most of us LOVE to talk about gear. Many of us are also happy to let you try something if we have it, so you can avoid costly gear choices.