BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY
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, please send nominations to Barnett Wright firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
HENRY AND NINA HARVEY
Married: July 14, 2007
Met: July 2005, on social media site, Black Planet. “I read her profile and saw she was in (Tuskegee) and said it was close enough to Birmingham so I liked her page, DM’d [direct message] her, and said let’s see what can come of it, and she responded…” Henry said.
“It was interesting to be on Black Planet, it was the internet and back then you never expected to meet people. And I said ‘ok, he’s handsome, I’ll talk to him, I’m never going to see this person and it’s nice to have friends [on the site]’ …and something about what he said to me in my DM’s was really different from everybody else. He said ‘your page is really nice, and you seem like a cool person. Maybe we can read the Bible sometime’, and that was a pickup line I had never heard before in all my years on this earth,” Nina laughed.
“I meant it [reading the Bible] because you always hear that you need to go to church to meet a good woman, and [internet dating] was kinda different at the time, and I thought maybe I need to try and meet someone in a different space…I felt like I needed to step outside of where I went to church but still [look for someone] that had that spiritual vibe.,” Henry said. “I could tell she was a spiritual person like I was, and she was someone with the same mentality…”
“To answer the question, we actually did read the Bible together,” Nina laughed.
First date: August 2005, at The Galleria Mall, in Hoover. They ate Chinese food in the food court.
“I drove through Birmingham on my way to Tuskegee [from Cincinnati, Ohio], and typically I would drive through Georgia because it was an easier drive, but to meet him, I took a whole different route. I told my girlfriends I was meeting a guy off the internet and I showed them the picture of him… We actually met at his house and he had a friend with him to make sure I wasn’t an ugly serial killer and then we followed each other to the mall to [have the date in the open],” Nina said.
Nina said Henry didn’t look like his photo on Black Planet. “He posted a picture of himself with a head full of hair, and he was completely bald when I met him, but it was alright because his picture didn’t do him justice and I thought he was very handsome,” Nina said. “But, even if he had abducted me, I would have stayed abducted because he looked nothing like the picture I gave my girlfriends,” she laughed.
“I didn’t realize I should’ve updated my picture,” Henry laughed. “But I felt like she was really genuine and sweet, and was a person I could get to know and be with. When we were [direct messaging] and talking on the phone it felt really genuine, and like she was someone I wanted to grow with and I felt like she really liked me.”
“He decided he wanted to marry me on the first date,” Nina laughed.
The turn: For Nina, it was June 2006.
“For both of us, it was always exclusive… But I did not really feel like he was my person until I graduated from Tuskegee University and my whole family met him. My dad took us on vacation to Destin, FL, and Henry went with us and my dad fell in love with him. That sealed the deal for me because my dad never liked anybody I brought home, we never agreed on much, God rest his soul, but we agreed on that. My dad saw something in Henry, and that solidified it for me,” Nina recalled.
For Henry, “I knew she was the one from the first time I met her, I didn’t care If I had to drive two and a half hours every weekend. I did that for a whole year, and she told me that she was not moving to Birmingham for a boyfriend, and I said I guess I got to get more serious than being a boyfriend and started [taking steps towards the proposal],” Henry said.
“I took my boards to become a licensed nurse] on July 6, 2006, and the day I took it I told him if I pass, I’m not staying here for just a boyfriend. If I pass I’m staying here for [something more], or I’m going home to Cincinnati and getting a job,” Nina said.
The proposal: July 14, 2006, at The Carlton Inn & Suites in Homewood.
“We were celebrating our anniversary of meeting online and she had also passed her nursing test, so we were celebrating [both occasions]. I wanted to be more serious, I didn’t want her to leave, and to further our relationship I needed to propose to her. I was in love with her, we had been together for a year, and I needed her to understand that I was as serious about our relationship as she was,” Henry said. “When we walked into the hotel room, I told her I had something important to tell her, and I got down on one knee and pulled the ring out and said, ‘I love you, would you please marry me?’ And I was nervous that she was going to say ‘no’ because [we had only been] dating a year, and that can be a short amount of time to know if you want to marry someone, but she said ‘yes.’”
“Then we went to TGI Fridays, which was my favorite restaurant, and celebrated. The proposal superseded everything, forget passing the nursing boards, forget the [Black Planet] anniversary, I was happy to have found my person. Everybody looks to find that one, and I had found him,” Nina said. “We did everything on July 14th, we met online on July 14th, we got engaged on July 14, 2006, and got married on July 14, 2007.”
The wedding: At Henry’s home church, Chapel In The Pines Presbyterian Church, in Hoover. It was officiated by Pastor Pat Raburn, and their colors were pink and black.
Most memorable for the bride was “walking down the aisle with my father excited to see my groom for the first time, and I looked up and saw a guy I had never seen before in my life waiting at the end of the aisle for me; he had shaved off all of his facial hair,” Nina laughed. “He has always been the most beautiful man to me, but it was like ‘why of all days would you try a new look on your wedding day? Turns out the barber had made a mistake and he just had to shave it all the way off.”
Most memorable for the groom was the candle lighting ceremony. “We had a candle lighting ceremony for the mothers to light the unity candle to signify [uniting] the families. And my mother went up and lit her candle and stood to the side, and then my mother-in-law came up and knocked the candle that she had just lit down and left it on the floor. Then [instead of picking her burning candle up off of the floor, my mother-in-law] picked up my mothers’ lit candle and lit the unity candle (which they were supposed to light together), and then walked off like it wasn’t a big deal!” Henry laughed.
“Yeah, we never did get to unify the families with those candles,” Nina said. Thankfully our families blended well even without the unity candle.”
They honeymooned in Las Vegas. “Don’t stay more than four days,” Henry said. “We wanted to kill each other by the 5th day, and it was a seven-day honeymoon,” Nina said, “it was hot, and you can only do so much gambling, Nina laughed.
Words of wisdom: “Find the humor in everything, even your darkest moments,” Nina said.
“I agree with that because we always find something to laugh about, even when we are upset with each other, 10 minutes later we’re laughing, and it calms us down and makes us feel better.
Patience and perseverance through hard times, those are the things that keep a marriage going as long as we have,” Henry said.
Happily ever after: The Harveys attend Chapel In The Pines Presbyterian Church, in Hoover, and have three sons, twins Nick and Nate, 13, and Noah, 8.
Nina, 40, is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native and Walnut Hills High School grad [Cincinnati, Ohio]. She attended Tuskegee University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in science and nursing, Samford University where she obtained a master’s degree in nursing and the University of Alabama [UA], where she obtained her doctorate in nursing. Nina is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and works as a clinical supervisor at the Jefferson County Department of Health.
Henry, 41, is a West End native, and a Wenonah High School grad. He attended the University of Cincinnati [Cincinnati, OH], where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management, and works as a physical education teacher at Edgewood Elementary, in Homewood.