‘I Did the Traditional Down-on-One-Knee Proposal, and She Said, ‘Yes’’


BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY | Special to the Birmingham Times| www.birminghamtimes.com | HERNANDO & ADRIENNE CARTER

Live: Homewood

Married: March 22, 2003

Met:  September 2001, in the Volker Hall parking lot on UAB’s campus. Hernando was a 1st-year medical student and Adrienne was a 4th-year medical student. However, Hernando recalls crossing paths one year prior during his undergrad studies when he was a participant in a summer medical program, where Adrienne was a counselor.

However, Hernando was now a med school student and was leaving UAB’s School of Medicine when he saw Adrienne talking with a couple of friends by her car.

“She caught my eye, and I had to go meet her,” Hernando said. “I went and [introduced myself] and asked if I could have her phone number… but she gave me her home number, she didn’t give me her cell. [I remember thinking at the time] that I felt she could be my wife and I felt like I needed to give it a shot.”

Adrienne didn’t realize Hernando had marriage on his mind. “People exchange numbers all the time in medical school so I didn’t think he was trying to date me,” she said, “I was just thinking he was a nice guy. He was a freshman, and I was thinking he wanted me to mentor him,” Adrienne laughed.

“This was September, and we set a date to go to dinner in October…,” Hernando said.

First date: October 2001, at Copeland’s off Highway 280. “I thought we had a very nice dinner, and when I took her home and walked her to the door she would not let me in,” Hernando recalled. “She said that it was because she had a very crazy dog named Q-tip and [he didn’t like new people] … I may have gotten a hug and that’s maybe, she might’ve just shook my hand.”

After the date, Hernando said he called several times trying to follow up, and never got a response.

“I called in October, no returned call, I called in November, no returned calls… and December comes, and there’s a Christmas party being thrown by an association of Black Doctors in Birmingham. On the day of the party, Adrienne calls me and asks me if I’m going to the party [because] she wanted to make sure there were going to be some students there that she knew,” he said.

Adrienne’s calling out of the blue annoyed Hernando because of all his previous failed attempts to connect with her. However, at the party, he learned why he had not heard from her.

“When you’re in your first year of medical school it’s very class-oriented and at the end of the day, you don’t have anything to do. But, when you’re in your fourth year of medical school you’re always in the hospital and you’re on call every fourth night, and you spend the night at the hospital, and you don’t leave until the next day at 4 p.m. after having spent the night. And at the same time that you’re doing that, you’re also traveling interviewing for your residency [placement],” Adrienne said. “… that was the reason I did not call him back in a timely manner. And when I called him back, I do not recall being able to tell that he was mad at me, but he probably didn’t believe that I was [as busy] as I was…,”

“After the party, we went out for drinks and had a good time and continued to date,” Hernando said.

The turn:  January 2002. “[it happened] pretty quickly,” Hernando said. “We started dating in December and I think we were pretty exclusive by January. We gelled, she was fun, we had a lot of the same interests, and we enjoyed one other’s company. Even though she was ahead of me in medical school we were on the same path, so it caused us to spend a lot of time together.”

The proposal: On Adrienne’s birthday, Sept. 14, 2002, at Brio’s in Brookwood Village. “It was her birthday so I did a dinner and invited her friends, AKA line sisters, and her parents, and when her birthday cake came out it said ‘Will You Marry Me?’. I did the traditional down-on-one-knee proposal, and she said ‘yes’, Hernando said. “And then her line sisters took her out to the Platinum Of Birmingham [night club] afterward,” he laughed.

Adrienne wasn’t shocked by the proposal. “We had already looked for rings and talked about marriage so I wasn’t shocked. It was a quick turnaround, we dated for nine months because I had already told him that I was not going to date for two and three years while you decide what you’re going to do, so he knew he only had about three more months [to propose] if we’re gonna be honest,” she laughed.

“Yeah, she wasn’t gonna give me long [to decide], but I didn’t need a long time,” Hernando said.

“… it was pretty clear [he was proposing that night] because everyone I knew was there and I did not orchestrate that so I was quite certain that it was going to happen that night,” Adrienne said.

The wedding: At Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Titusville [Birmingham], officiated by Hernando’s pastors, the Rev. Donald Soloman of Lily Grove Baptist Church in North Birmingham, and his son, Pastor Walter Soloman. Their colors were pastel green and Ivory.

Most memorable for the bride was leaving her parents’ house in Forestdale with her bridesmaids and taking in the beauty of the newly bloomed Yoshino Cherry trees as she traveled down the driveway.

“My parents have a long, beautiful driveway [about a quarter mile long] and a row of about 20 Yoshino Cherry trees line the entire driveway and they happened to bloom that day. They were so beautiful, and it was like love blooming, and whenever this time of year comes around and the trees bloom, I think of our marriage,” Adrienne said. “The day was beautiful, nothing went awry, everything went off without a hitch there were lots of smiles and happiness.”

Most memorable for the groom are two moments he shared with his bride during the ceremony. “One of my high school teachers was singing, ‘To God Be The Glory’, and we’re at the altar and Adrienne elbows me and I lean over and she said ‘ya boy tearing that song up ain’t he’ and we were mic’d and the cameraman zoomed in on us and we were laughing and we have that on tape. And I think this moment [of humor] reflects our marriage and why we got married,” Hernando said. Also, “when the pastor pronounced us husband and wife, that beautiful stained-glass window lit up the sanctuary. The clouds went away and the whole church lit up after he blessed our marriage…it was at that exact moment that the light came shining through.”

They honeymooned in Hawaii. “It was beautiful, I remember watching the waves while sitting on the beach together,” Hernando said.

Words of wisdom: “Put your spouse first, love them first, give up the desire to win and be right, and put the relationship above all else. Always communicate and remain friends,” Hernando said.

“The most important thing, as with most things in life, is a strong foundation. Our foundation was that friendship and love that we’ve always had. And the second thing is realizing life comes with challenges in your relationship and personal lives, but you gotta cleave to each other instead of running away… When you have challenges you have to communicate with each other and remember the foundation of love and friendship,” Adrienne said.

Happily ever after: The Carters attend Faith Chapel in Wylam, and have sons, Ellis, 17, Ethan, 15, and Emory, 12.

Adrienne, 47, is a Forestdale native, and Indian Springs High School grad. She attended The University of Alabama and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB], where she earned an M.D. in internal medicine. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and works as an internal medicine primary care physician at UAB’s Whitaker Clinic.

Hernando, 44, is a Birmingham native [Fountain Heights area] and A.H. Parker high school grad. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB] where he earned an M.D. in internal medicine. Hernando is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and works as an internal medicine primary care physician for Archwell Health and also serves as its market medical director.

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Barnett Wright bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.


‘I Did the Traditional Down-on-One-Knee Proposal, and She Said, ‘Yes’’

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