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 Erica Wright firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
ROLANDA AND AARON JEFFERSON
Married: August 29, 2015
Met: Rolanda and Aaron met at a political event hosted by the late Anthony Barnes [founder of Barnes and Associates Real Estate] in June of 2012. She remembers the intensity of Aaron’s stare the whole night but also recalls staring at him.
“I kept looking at him because I felt like I knew him from somewhere but I couldn’t make it out,” Rolanda said. “Aaron saw me and he inquired about me with Anthony, and he introduced us . . . [Aaron] followed me out to my truck and asked me if I was going to the after party, and when I said ‘no’, he said ok ‘well I guess I’ll get back on the road to [Atlanta]’.”
First date: The two had a brief “business lunch” that same week at Muzi, a Japanese restaurant in Trussville but Rolanda had to cut it short because she got a call from a good friend – [Birmingham comedian] Rickey Smiley.
Later that week, Aaron picked Rolanda up for a romantic date in Mountain Brook. “He was the perfect gentleman,” she said. “He opens all my doors and told me not to put my hands on his doors. We sat outside on the balcony [at the restaurant] and had dinner.”
“It was good conversation,” Aaron said. “We had a good time, ate good food and we discovered we had a lot in common…[business, political views, and interest in real estate]”
However, Rolanda being twice divorced and an area elected official, said she was trying to set him up with some friends of hers and he finally said ‘I’m trying to talk to you’. “Then I finally figured out where I knew him from, I went to Tuskegee [University] and he went to State [Alabama State University]
The turn: While both were twice divorced, they decided to give love another try. Things got serious between the two when Aaron “gave me a surprise birthday dinner with some of my friends, my sister helped him…and he bought me my first Red Bottoms [Christian Louboutin shoes], and I said, ‘you know what, you might be alright’,” she laughed. “Before then, my mom met him and she said ‘that one ain’t going nowhere’, and at the time my father was in the hospital and he came by and was there when daddy woke up… he introduced himself to my father, and my daddy said ‘that’s one [Rolanda] that ain’t gonna play with you.’.
Rolanda’s father had been fighting a terminal illness.
“Before my daddy died [of pancreatic cancer on December 23, 2012], Aaron asked him for my hand in marriage,” Rolanda said.
Rolanda and Aaron bought their first house in Huffman and were perfectly happy, but their pastor Bishop Jim Lowe of Guiding Light Church told us we needed to stop living in sin,” Aaron said.
The proposal: December 20, 2014. The two were discussing Christmas gifts and Aaron decided to pop the question. He had gotten her a custom diamond ring.
“I let her pick the design out and the diamonds, of course, because we had talked about diamond shapes and everything, so I had to go do that and wait for it to be designed, and I brought it home and I proposed to her on two knees,”
“Third time is the charm,” Rolanda said.
The wedding: The two were married at Guiding Light Church in Birmingham. The colors were chocolate brown, pink, green and cream.
Most memorable for the bride was Aaron’s greeting when she got to the altar at the end of the aisle.
“Since my daddy had passed away, I was escorted by my two brothers and my son, and when I got down to the altar, he started kissing me and Bishop Lowe said ‘it ain’t time for all that.”
Most memorable for Aaron was a joke he played on the wedding planner. “He asked me where I was and I told him ‘right now I’m getting out the car at the airport…”.
The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii “but we missed our first flight, we had to get another flight, we were supposed to get in [at the island] at noon and didn’t end up getting there till after 5,” Aaron said.
Words of wisdom: Goals, open communication, God, mutual respect, and “a little space” are what make a marriage work.
“What we do every year is make sure that at the end of every year we sit down and talk about our goals and write them out and put them on the refrigerator and use it as a vision board,” Rolanda said. “And we look at what we accomplished from our goals of the prior year and make new goals for the upcoming year.
For Aaron, having an open door of communication and understanding for one another is critical.
“Making sure that our communication and companionship [are] on point between one another is important because I work out of town a lot and she works out of town a lot too, and that works in our relationship because on the weekends we’re glad to see each other,” Aaron said. “I’ll go to Montgomery for lunch and hang out with her. The main thing is helping each other to grow and have a good time and enjoy life.”
“And he still dates me,” Rolanda said, “we have date night every Friday night because I tell him ‘you still ain’t got me, yet,” she laughed.
Happily ever after: Rolanda is a Huffman native and graduated from Huffman High School. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting from Tuskegee University, and is an Alabama State Representative. Also part of her professional portfolio is her license as a Real Estate Broker.
Aaron is from North Smithfield Manor, and a Gardendale High School graduate. He earned his bachelor’s of science degree in business management from Alabama State University (ASU), and is president of a construction company in Atlanta, GA
The Jeffersons share two children from previous marriages: son Christian Copeland, 19, who attends ASU, and daughter Hyland Horton, 28. “We don’t use the word “step” in our family, they [their respective children] just have two mamas and two daddies, we love them both as though they’re our own,” Rolanda said.