“When I Saw [My Wife Walking Down the Aisle] I Couldn’t Stop Crying Until it Was Over’

BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY | Special to the Birmingham Times

HEATHER AND CHRIS WILLIAMS

Live: Hueytown

Married:  July 12, 2015

Met: August 2008, at Tuskegee University during their freshman year. They were introduced in the Younge Hall [men’s boy’s dormitory] parking lot.

“…Chris played football and I had spotted him at the pre-season scrimmage game a few weeks prior. “This particular day, I walked over to Younge Hall with my friend to see the guy she was talking to and her friend (Bruce) called Chris to come down and meet me,” Heather recalled.

“Bruce called me and said there was a girl downstairs looking for me, and I said, ‘Is she cute?’ And he said, ‘yes’, and I said ‘do I need to put a shirt on or don’t put a shirt on?’, and he said, ‘don’t put a shirt on,’” Chris laughed.

“He really did come downstairs without a shirt on, and I’m 5-foot tall, and Chris is 6-foot, so the whole time I’m [eye-to-eye] with his muscles, I had no choice but to look at them,” Heather laughed. “And he flipped that razor [flip phone] out to put my number in it and that’s how it all started.”

Although the pair exchanged numbers it would be two years later during their junior year before they reconnected.

“As a nursing student I had mandatory classes that summer and Chris stayed in Tuskegee to work, and very few people were still on campus and in the city and when we saw each other we ended up hanging out all summer long,” Heather recalled.

First date: Fall 2010, in Auburn at a local bowling alley. “We walked in and didn’t stay long …we bowled one game but the vibe was very off so we left and hung out on the strip in Auburn, and then went and got pizza and just talked,” Chris said.

Heather remembers contemplating how this date would be different from their seemingly incognito summer hangouts. “We were going public,” she said. “People had been speculating and now they were going to see me leave and get in Chris’ truck… He came and picked me up from my [on campus] apartment in his GMC Sierra, which he still drives… and it was a 25-minute drive to Auburn and I remember being excited and thinking ‘Is this my boyfriend now?’,” Heather laughed.

Heather and Chris Williams met in August 2008 at Tuskegee University and married in 2015. (Provided Photos)

The turn: Fall 2010. “By our first date, we were already a couple. We had discussed being in a relationship many times over the summer and by the fall we were an item,” Chris said.

“And that’s funny because during that whole drive on our first date I was sitting over there wondering if we were together and, in his mind, we were already together,” Heather laughed.

“You had already told me we were together so that was that,” Chris laughed.

“And if Chris thought anybody was looking or even trying to breathe on me, he made it really clear that we were together,” Heather said.

The proposal: May 2013, after Chris’ White Coat ceremony on Tuskegee University’s campus in an area between the men’s and women’s dormitory referred to as “The Valley”. Heather had already graduated the year prior as she was in a four-year program, and Chris was in a five-year program.

“I had scheduled a photographer and told Heather that we were going to take pictures in the Valley after the ceremony. Her family came, my family came, and while we were taking the pictures I gave a speech, but to throw Heather off (when I pulled out the ring box) I said ‘I bought Heather a pair of real pearl earrings’, and then I got down on one knee. When she saw me on one knee she got excited because she knew what it was then, and I said, ‘Heather, will you marry … ?’ and [before I could finish] she jumped and hugged me,” Chris laughed. “It was one of them tackle hugs too, it wasn’t no soft hug.”

“The entire day I was kind of wondering why my entire family was there but then again they have always been very supportive of Chris, they used to come to his games so it wasn’t unusual for them to want to be there for his White Coat ceremony. It also made sense to go and take pictures in the Valley because we were both [now done with that chapter in life] and that’s where we hung out. But I noticed the atmosphere kinda changed while we were taking the pictures. Everybody got quiet like they didn’t want to ruin something…  And then for one pose the photographer told me to turn around and when I turned back around Chris was on one knee and I knew he wasn’t down there to give me no pearl earrings so I got excited,” Heather said, “and I said ‘yes’.”

The wedding: At Yorktown Missionary Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., officiated by Chris’s father, Reverend Christopher Williams Sr. Their colors were peach and khaki.

Most memorable for the bride was “having family and friends help me get dressed… [they did] my hair and makeup, helped me get into my dress and my shoes on my feet. It was a moment of me seeing all the women in my village pour into me, from my mom and grandma to my sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends, they all helped make sure I was perfect for my day,” Heather said.

Most memorable for the groom was, “When them doors swung open and I saw Heather. I started crying and couldn’t stop crying until it was over; I cried the entire time,” Chris said.

Honeymoon: “We didn’t go on an official honeymoon after our wedding, but we have traveled a lot over the 10 years,” Heather said. “We’ve been to the Bahamas, New Orleans, Charlotte, Pittsburg, Detroit, we’ve been a lot of places in the states.”

The couple celebrated 10 years of matrimony with a vow renewal they held on June 7, after which, they’ll go on their official honeymoon in Jamaica in July.

Words of wisdom: “My grandmother told us when we got married that the magic isn’t in getting married, the magic is in staying married and that resonated with me,” Chris said. “Another thing that resonated is something Heather said. She said, ‘It’s not how you talk to me when you’re happy with me that matters, it matters how you talk to me when you’re angry with me, and that’s true and has stayed with me.”

“Allowing God to lead our marriage, remaining true to ourselves, and honoring each other. We allow each other to be who we naturally are, we don’t try to change each other into who we want them to be. We don’t give up on each other during challenges, and we love who we are as a team,” Heather said.

Happily ever after: The Williams attend 45th Street Baptist Church in East Lake, and have three children: Hailey, 9, Carter, 7, and Hope, 3.

Heather, 34, is a Fountain Heights native, and Ramsay High School grad. She is a graduate of attended Tuskegee University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she earned a BS and master’s in science and nursing, respectively. Heather is a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. member and a nurse practitioner who works as the vice president of student health services for an educational institution.

Chris, 34, is a Mobile, Ala. native, and a John L. Leflore High School grad. He attended Tuskegee University, earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy, became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and works as an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist in Birmingham.

“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.

Updated at 11:29 on 7/3/2024 to correct a name in the post.

Source:

“When I Saw [My Wife Walking Down the Aisle] I Couldn’t Stop Crying Until it Was Over’

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