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 email@example.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
SAMUEL AND CRICKET SNYDER
Married: July 16, 2011
Met: At work at Southern Company division on U.S. Highway 280 during summer 2007. Cricket was an administrative assistant and Samuel was an engineering co-op [paid intern].
“As an admin assistant, I worked in document services, and my responsibility was to provide hard copies of the blueprints of the buildings for the engineer to review….,” Cricket said. “I first met him when he came down to the department to request some of those engineer records.”
Cricket said she started “feeling” Samuel. “For some odd reason I didn’t know he was a co-op I just knew I found him attractive,” she said.
“When I first saw her, I thought she was very attractive, she had a different style, she wore a ‘fro, and she dressed very well,” Samuel recalled.
“One of her coworkers overheard one of our conversations and said [to Cricket] “you got the right one,” Samuel laughed.
“After a few encounters . . . he asked me for my number. I remember he left me this crazy voicemail [saying] ‘I don’t usually do this (leave voicemails) but call me back when you get this’ And I [thought it] was lame, but I called him back…,” Cricket said.
First date: Fall 2007, at Patton Creek Movie Theater in Hoover. They saw a movie they can’t recall, and then drove over to the Summit [mall] on 280 and went for a walk after the movie.
“I only dated older men, never people my age [24 at the time] or younger because I didn’t think they knew how to treat folks… By the time that we went on the date, I was almost infatuated with him, but at the same time Sam is younger than me [21 at the time] and I didn’t feel like I could let him know how much I was feeling him,” Cricket said.
“Initially her age  was a big deal but at the same time I was trying to play it cool. I was trying to impress her, I wanted her to see my swag and genuinely feel my presence and my energy,” Samuel said. “What was interesting was that we had some fire and attraction during the movie, but when we went for our walk, that’s when we actually connected. We shared a kiss on that walk and had really good conversation flowing between the two of us.”
The turn: For Cricket, it was summer 2008. “…he actually asked me to be his girlfriend the next year while we were sitting down having lunch outside of the job and he said, ‘I’m about to go off to school [Auburn University] and I want you to be my girlfriend.’ And I looked to the heavens and thanked the Lord for sending me this engineer that was about to get his masters, and then Sam told me he was just finishing his undergrad…,” she laughed.
Despite the age gap, Cricket agreed to be his girlfriend and would travel down to Auburn frequently to visit.
For Samuel, the turn was fall 2009.
“We were dating and she would come down to see me, and one trip we had an argument, and I felt like she was about to leave me. I felt like I was about to throw away something really special in my life and I decided that I couldn’t allow that to happen because she had shown me so much love and passion. She was so diligent, she was always there, I knew she was down for me, and I felt like I had to do what I had to do to get her back in my life and to solidify what we had,” Samuel said.
The proposal: July 16, 2010 at ‘The 12’ hotel in in Atlanta. Samuel had graduated and gotten a job with Southern Nuclear in Waynesboro, Georgia, and Cricket was still living in Birmingham; he suggested they meet in Atlanta for their dating anniversary weekend.
“I surprised her, I told her that they needed me at work, and that I wasn’t [at the hotel] yet. I got there early, I had the people at the front desk in on it, I told them to just send her up and not tell her anything and they played along with it… I heard her come in the room mad, but [that changed when she saw] I had rose petals coming from the door to where I was waiting for her in a tux with the ring in my hand,” Samuel said.
“…and I was upset because he told me he wasn’t there yet… I remember walking into the room talking to myself, I was like as soon as he gets here it’s going down, but this room is really nice,” Cricket laughed. “I saw the rose petals, I thought that was cool, but then I was startled because he was actually there, in a tux and ready to propose. . . I went from frustrated and about to cuss him out to ‘Oh my Gosh, this is it, this is the moment it’s about to go down!’ … Afterwards, we went to Pappadeaux’s and had dinner… He better be glad he had that ring because it probably would’ve been the end,” Cricket laughed. “I was fuming mad that day.”
The wedding: At the Harbert Center [downtown Birmingham], officiated by Cricket’s uncle, Pastor Connie Blaylock, and the colors were red and zebra print.
Most memorable for the bride was how perfect her day was. “It was everything I had imagined it to be. At my reception, it was a sight to behold to see his family, my family, and all of our friends on that dance floor doing the slide dances enjoying themselves. That was important to us, one of the things we told the d.j. was that we wanted to make them sweat, so play the slide songs and get them out on the floor. Sam and I took a moment to stand there and look, and to see everyone happy and enjoying the day was a memorable moment,” Cricket said.
Most memorable for the groom was making his mother-in-law a promise during his speech at the reception.
“My wife is an only child and she’s always been the life of the party for her family and everybody that she’s around. And when I was giving my speech I was letting them know that yes, she’s marrying me and I’m about to take your baby girl away from you, but I promise you, one day we will get back to Birmingham,” Samuel said.
“That was so significant because I loved him, but I never wanted to leave my mom to be with him. And after a conversation I had with my mom, she relieved me of that and said that ‘it is not my will for you to stop your life to be with me. I know this is a good man, and if you love him you need to go and be with him…’,” Cricket said.
The couple honeymooned in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for five days. “We were able to party, relax from the wedding and enjoy ourselves,” Cricket said.
Words of wisdom: “Communication is the key, but you have to be an active listener to your partner,” Samuel said. “You have to let your partner talk and you listen, and not be formulating a response to rebut their answer in order to understand where they’re coming from in different issues that may arise. You have to learn how to communicate during arguments and disagreements,” Samuel said.
“A lot of people said that marriage was really hard when we were getting married, and that was a resounding theme. But because I feel like I married my life partner and the man I feel God made for me, it hasn’t been hard to be married to him. That’s not to say that we haven’t had our issues or struggles that we’ve had to overcome. But because I didn’t go into this marriage thinking it was going to be hard, but instead wanting marriage to be fun and that I was on this life journey with my best friend, it’s been just that.
Happily ever after: The Snyder’s have two daughters: Morgan, 5, Mya, 1.
Cricket, 37, is a Wylam native, and John Carroll Catholic High School grad. She attended Birmingham Southern College, and earned a bachelor’s degree in educational services, and Strayer University, where she obtained a MBA [Master’s in Business Administration]. Cricket works as a Chief Compliance Officer for Jefferson County Commission.
Samuel, 35, is a Brighton native, and Pleasant Grove High School grad. He attended Auburn University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Samuel works for Alabama Power as a team lead for condition-based monitoring.