By Je’Don Holloway-Talley, Special to The Times
“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 Erica Wright at email@example.com Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
CYNTHIA AND ALVIN FRAZIER
Married: June 8, 1996
Met: The Frazier’s remember the exact date: May 5, 1994. They were introduced at a local Hardee’s in their hometown [Mobile], by a mutual friend. Alvin can still remember what Cynthia was wearing, “she had on an orange sleeveless top, and a skirt… I thought she was very pretty and looked real nice,” he said.
“I thought he was skinny,” Cynthia said. She may have noticed his physique, but she noticed something else as well, “he was a real gentleman,” she said. “When we sat down and started talking, I realized that I would want a second [meeting] with him. I was attracted to his intellect.”
First date: The following Saturday at a seafood restaurant called ‘Cock of the Walk’ they had “the catfish, and the pot of greens.” There was no pressure because “neither of us were looking for a companion,” Alvin said. “At that time we were building a friendship, nothing was expected. That’s what made the conversations so meaningful because neither of us looked at each other in that way. We found out we had a lot of stuff in common family wise. . . there was definitely an attraction, but not the base of it,” he said.
“Alvin is a very good listener and it’s very interesting talking to him. I call him Google, because he knows a little bit about everything,” Cynthia said.
The proposal: New Year’s Eve, 1995, at Houston’s Restaurant in Atlanta. Alvin and Cynthia went out of town to bring in the New Year with good friends. Although a romantic, Alvin admits to not being a “down on one knee type of guy . . . We were in the restaurant early evening, and our friends kind of helped me set everything up . . . I already had the ring in my pocket, so I slid it out under the table, told her I loved her and asked her to marry me.”
What Cynthia didn’t know was that everyone, even her mother, was in on her New Year’s Eve surprise. “Prior to that [their engagement], I’d always had a good relationship with her mother, and I actually talked to her mother before I proposed to Cynthia,” Alvin said. “I would go by there and have lunch with her, and, so, I got her blessing . . . she wished us well,” he said.
Cynthia says she was enjoying her food so much, she didn’t suspect anything.
“I was very surprised. I was too busy thinking about how good those ribs were, I didn’t see it coming,” she said. “I was happy, I was in awe…of course I said ‘yes’, immediately. It was really a magical weekend, being there in Atlanta with friends and getting proposed to on New Year’s Eve, starting the new year off with a confession of our love for one another and moving forward with becoming husband and wife,” Cynthia said.
The wedding: The couple had a poolside wedding at Alvin’s brother’s house in Mobile. The colors were lavender and white.
“It was quaint and very small, we sent out 75 invitations. We purposely wanted a small wedding, not a big shindig. It was simple and elegant,” Cynthia said. “We were just hoping none of the kids dove into the pool during the ceremony . . . they got in there after the fact,” she laughed.
Most memorable for Cynthia was the night before the wedding.
“The night before the wedding, Alvin called me and said that he loved me, and that divorce was not an option,” Cynthia said. “It meant we weren’t getting married with one foot in and one foot out, and we’ve been sticking to that.”
Alvin said, “I didn’t see her before the wedding, and I was amazed at how she looked coming down the aisle. I didn’t know that she was going to look that radiant,” he said.
“Also, her mother had been real sick, and we didn’t know if she was going to be able to attend . . . we didn’t think she was going to, but she pushed it on out and made it,” Alvin said, “my family came from out of town [Niagra Falls, NY; Alpharetta, GA; VIginia Beach, Viginia and Pensacola, FL.] Everybody was genuinely happy for us.”
The couple flew to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and honeymooned for seven days.
“Hanging out with the locals, and getting to walk down to the waterfall and hang out all day was a blast,” Cynthia said. “I gained six pounds,” Alvin said.
Words of wisdom: Conflict resolution skills are a must in a marriage, Alvin said.
“When we were younger, we were kind of feeling our way through conflict resolution,” he said. “But as you get older, you learn a person, their habits, and their ways. The key is communication,” Alvin said. “Being able to listen to the other person’s point of view and not try to force your own on them . . . The bottom line is, you have to be on the same page when you’re married. Especially with children,” he said.
Friendship before building a romance is key, Cynthia said.
“I would tell any couple to develop a friendship first,” she said. “I think that the reason we have a great marriage is because of our friendship. If you ask me who my best friend is, I’m not going to name a female, I would say Alvin. And sometimes when we are in a disagreement, I can say, ‘Can I get my friend, can I have Alvin, not my husband?’ and that helps get us through.”
“Also, don’t try to control your spouse,” Cynthia said. “Allow your spouse to be who he or she is. That’s another thing that allows us to have such a great relationship, because Alvin doesn’t try to
control me. He just accepts me for who I am, and I’m grateful for that.”
Happily ever after: The Frazier’s live in Hoover, and have three children, Alvin Jr., 19; Caitlin, 17; and Cameron, 15. Cynthia, 50, is an executive Cadillac Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay cosmetics, and Alvin, 52, is a former Marketing Analyst for State Farm Insurance. “I support her [Cynthia] when needed, her business is huge, she leads over 200 women in building and developing successful Mary Kay business. And, now, I have more time for my family,” Alvin said. “I have taken over the house I get to spend more time with my kids, and am enjoying life and travel more.”
The best part of being married is “never having to look for a date,” Cynthia said. “It is such a joy to always have someone to talk to, travel with and sleep next to at night,” she said.
This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.