By Anita Debro
Special to the Birmingham 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 who would, please send nominations to Ariel Worthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
LINDSAY AND WILLIAM HARDEN JR.
Live: Echo Highlands neighborhood in Birmingham
Married: February 22, 2014
Met: Lindsay, of Gadsden and William, of Pollard, Al., were dinner club members who would meet monthly to try different restaurants. In February 2010, William met Lindsay during the group’s outing to Rojo on Birmingham’s Southside. “We started talking and he found out I went to college (at Alabama State University) with his cousin and that was pretty much the end of the conversation,” Lindsay recalled. William said he wasn’t rude, but he felt with Lindsay already knowing a family member that was “too close for comfort.” They remained friendly at the monthly dinner club meetings, but it wasn’t until a barbecue a few months later that the two got to know one another. “He was trying to direct us on how to grill,” Lindsay joked. William said the relaxed atmosphere helped. “It was a more casual environment than the dinner club where you were seated around other people,” he said. “And at the barbecue we could talk longer.”
First date: Lindsay asked William if he would like to attend an art gallery show in the Lakeview District in Birmingham. “She was testing me,” William joked. Lindsay said she wanted to see if he would enjoy doing something different on a date. “We meshed well,” she said.
“I’m pretty adaptable,” William said. After the art gallery event, the two went for drinks at a restaurant on U.S. 280. Lindsay said she knew then that she was interested in William. “I liked him more each time we saw each other,” she said. “I knew I wanted to spend more time together.”
Making it official: A few months later William picked up Lindsay for a date but did not tell her where they were going. “I wanted to surprise her,” he recalled. Lindsay said when they started driving down U.S. 280, she assumed he was taking her to Auburn University— his alma mater— for a football game. But she was surprised when the car stopped at Morgan Creek Vineyard and they were to attend a grape stomp, something Lindsay had wanted to try. After that date, William said he was serious about Lindsay and he told her as much. Lindsay said she wasn’t sure she wanted a boyfriend, but she knew she wanted to be with William.
The proposal: By January 2013, William knew he wanted to get married. He went to her parents and grandparents in Gadsden to ask for her hand. Then the two went on a ski trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn. They rented a cabin and spent some time on the slopes. On the last night of the trip, Lindsay said she remembered
watching the end credits of a movie and talking to William. When she turned around to him, he was on one knee. She was stunned. And she said, ‘yes’.
The wedding: One year following the proposal, the couple married in front of around 200 guests at the Gadsden Center for Cultural Arts. William said his clearest memory is that of his bride-to-be walking down the aisle. “It was almost like she wasn’t walking, like she was floating,” he said. Lindsay remembered crying during the ceremony. “We were holding hands and I was just crying knowing that this was real.” Following the wedding, the couple honeymooned in Greece, a place that Lindsay had mentioned early in their relationship.
Words of Wisdom: The most important thing she has learned has been to compromise, Lindsay said. “We both have passions — he loves playing sports— and I am very involved in my alumni association (she is president of the Alabama State University Jefferson-Shelby County Metro Area Alumni Chapter) so we have to be very understanding of that and how much time we each spend doing those things. So we don’t fight about how much time we spend on those things, but we find ways to spend time together.”
William said he has learned to keep an open mind. “I know sometimes I can be set in my ways, but it helps to be more open and try new things.”
Happily ever after: The couple have a son, William III, who is one. The family enjoys trying new things and going to new places. William, an ECM system administrator at Blue Cross Blue Shield, likes outdoor activities such as canoeing and zip lining. Lindsay, a home maker, said they hope to buy land for a vacation home where the family can enjoy the outdoors. “We want to have something that we can pass down from one generation to another.” she said. “And we just look forward to watching our boy grow up, growing together as a couple and a family,” William said.