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 email@example.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
DANIEL AND MWANNASHERIA EDWARDS
Married: June 13, 2015
Met: Fall 2012, at Daniel’s apartment on the southside. Mwannasheria and her best friend, Alexis, came up from Mobile for a Birmingham Southern College football game and decided to have dinner with Daniel and his best friend, Tristan at Jackson’s Bar & Bistro, in Homewood.
“It wasn’t a blind date, but I guess it was a kind of a blind friend date,” Mwannasheria said. “Alexis and Tristan were classmates at the University of South Alabama, and we met up with them to have dinner and hang out but Dan and I did not know each other. I had a good time. I thought he was a very cool guy, he was very inquisitive and asked me a lot of questions, but it wasn’t weird or pushy.”
“I thought she was beautiful, but I think we both thought we’d probably never see each other again because she lived in Mobile, and I was in Birmingham,” Daniel said, “but I was interested in her. The more I talked to her the more I became intrigued, and she wasn’t like the typical girls that I’d met.”
“We didn’t exchange numbers… I went back to Mobile, and [a few months later] I randomly wrote him on Facebook asking him if he was coming to Mobile for a concert that I knew his friend, Tristan, was coming down for. He said he wasn’t, but it lead to us having more conversations on Facebook, and we started sharing our life stories, and DM’ing [direct messaging] every day,” Mwannasheria said.
The two eventually exchanged numbers, became friends, and talked on the phone for six months before they had their first date.
“…I told her I was interested in her [as more than friends] at least three times, and asked her out a couple of times, but she kept saying no,” Daniel recalled. “After the last ‘no’, I was about to let it go, it was time for me to move on, but the next day she wrote me a long message on Facebook telling me that she liked me but [had reservations], but I convinced her to give us a try,” he said.
First date: The pair met in Greenville, Ala., the halfway point between Birmingham and Mobile, and went to Ruby Tuesday’s. “We were long distance in our friend-zone season, so by the time we met back up for our date, it was like there goes my best friend. It wasn’t awkward, it was really genuine, and that’s when we made it [exclusive],” Mwannasheria said.
“I was pretty excited… It felt like it did over the phone when we normally talked, except we were in person and I got to hug on her. But it was kinda weird meeting in a town that wasn’t either of ours,” Daniel said. “We stayed and talked in the restaurant for hours, and then talked in the car for a long time, we couldn’t pry ourselves away. We were both sad when we had to leave and get back on the road for the two-hour drive, and we talked to each other all the way home too.”
The turn: “We were both pretty serious by the time we started dating because that six-month period while we were just friends we had learned each other and gotten comfortable, it was serious after that first date,” Mwannasheria said.
“By the summertime, the long-distance became hard, we were both over it, but we did it for two years. We’re both Christian and our faith and values were the same. We didn’t want to live together until we got married. She would come up on weekends for our premarital counseling, but that two years helped our relationship because all we had was the phone, so we had to learn how to communicate well from the jump,” Daniel said.
The proposal: Dec. 7, 2014, at Turkey Creek Preserve in Pinson.
“I got the ring and told her to come up [to Birmingham] that weekend from Mobile and that we were going to do a photoshoot for her birthday because she likes taking pictures. We went to church that morning, and afterward, met the photographer out there. The photographer had us doing different poses, and I had told him that when we got to this [particular] area I wanted to propose. I lead her out to a ledge and got in position, I was down on one knee and I pulled out the ring and she started hollering ‘what are you doing?’, and I told her that she’s my best friend and that I want to spend the rest of my life with her. She said ‘yes’.“
“I love taking photos and Dan hates taking photos, so when he told me he hired a photographer for us to take couple-pictures and did all this stuff I thought ‘wow, this is going to be a great birthday present’…We’re doing the photos, and we got to this rock he started fiddling with his pocket, and pulls out the ring, and I was thinking ‘oh my gosh, he’s proposing’, if it was in front of a million people I would have been mortified. I appreciated my proposal so much because he catered it to what fits my personality,” Mwannasheria said.
The wedding: In Fairhope, Ala., officiated by Pastor Michael Jones of Harvest Community Church in Pinson. Their wedding colors were blush, gold, and cream.
Most memorable for the bride is losing control of her emotions before she walked down the aisle. “Before the wedding started all of the bridesmaids and everyone left the dressing room to give me a moment to myself to calm my nerves, pray, get centered, and get to a place of thankfulness. And I ended up getting so overwhelmed with emotion, joy, and gratefulness and I started doing the ugly cry. I kept trying to hold it back but it wasn’t working. I remember my dad saying ‘get it together, get it together’, and I just couldn’t,” she laughed. “When they opened the doors when it was time for me to come down the aisle, I absolutely could not hold my tears back.”
Most memorable for the groom was exiting the church after the nuptials. “Three months before the wedding I tore my knee playing basketball, so I was barely walking down the aisle… We got married at a church that had a ton of steps, and when we were walking out I could barely bend my knee to go down the stairs. They’re playing the music, and we’re holding hands and she’s walking down the steps in front of me smiling and waving and she was just dragging me along, I almost fell down the stairs and I don’t even think she noticed I was hanging on to her hand for dear life,” Daniel laughed.
The couple honeymooned in Destin, Florida. “We enjoyed going out dancing and eating good. We had a very chill honeymoon and had fun exploring and staying out crazy late” Mwannasheria said.
Words of wisdom: “Practice forgiving and repenting often. You’re going to have differences, you have to learn how to gel and become one, so you have to have grace for the other person. Remember that you’re on the same team, we had to remind each other of that often and to get back to the friend zone [which] allows us to take the weight off and be nicer to each other,” Mwannasheria said.
“The secret to being married is learning that your spouse can not meet all of your needs. No human being is designed to do that. When we take our needs to God and allow Him to meet them, we can then move towards our spouse from a place of emotional wealth and seek a way to give to them; not always looking to take or bargain with them for what we need. When both people do that, something magical happens,” Daniel said.
Happily ever after: The Edwards’ have two daughters, Aria, 4, and Amiyah, 2.
Mwannasheria, 30, is a Mobile native, Murphy High School grad, and studied business administration at USA University of South Alabama [Mobile]. She also attended Bishop State Community College [Mobile], where she earned a cosmetology license and runs an online luxury wig boutique Modern Beauty at www.modernbeautyco.com.
Daniel, 35, is a West End native and moved to Pensacola, FL at the age of 11, where he graduated from Pine Forest High School [Pensacola, FL]. He attended the University of West Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical lab science and is currently in pursuit of a master’s degree in divinity at Samford University’s Beason Divinity School. Daniel is a pastor at Harvest Community Church in Pinson.