Home Love Stories Black Love ‘There were flowers, candles, a table for two and a private chef’

‘There were flowers, candles, a table for two and a private chef’

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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 bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

TIMOTHY AND APRILL SIMMONS

Live: Pinson 

Married: June 19, 2021

Met: Through a mutual friend in early 2018 who came to The Vision Church of Bessemer which Timothy founded and pastors. “He [the mutual friend] was the guest speaker, and after he ministered and service was over he and his wife came up to me and he said ‘my brother, I have the perfect woman for you’, and he looked at his wife and said ‘wouldn’t they make a good couple?’, but he didn’t tell me who she was… I didn’t jump to it, I didn’t ask for her number, and to be honest, at the time I was dating somebody so I didn’t take it any further,” Timothy said. 

“But when the pandemic hit, she called me for prayer. It was actually Memorial Day [2020, Aprill had tuned in to one of my FB live broadcasts], and at the end of my sermons I always offer people an opportunity to reach out for prayer, and she did. It was very professional [on a spiritual level] because we had never had a conversation during those two years [following the mutual friend telling Timothy about Aprill]. After the prayer, I didn’t talk to her for a while, but a few months later I thought about her and reached out and asked her would she like to go to lunch.”

“I was shocked because our previous conversations were on a spiritual level, I didn’t expect it. But then as I thought about it, I was interested… After he offered lunch, I responded back a day or so later, and accepted the lunch invite,” Aprill recalled. “We had a conversation and he decided to plan all the details. He asked me what I liked, where I’d like to go, and based on that he came up with lunch at Village Tavern at The Summit.” 

First date: A lunch date, mid-July 2020, at Village Tavern at The Summit. Aprill and Timothy met at the restaurant. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into the date, I had no frame of reference, that’s why I felt like it was a blind date because I had no reference on the person, his personality or any of that, we had only spoken professionally…,” Aprill said.  “What I thought would be no longer than 30-45-minutes [ended up being] an hour and a half. He had great conversation, and we talked about a lot of different topics, and it became more and more interesting.” 

“Like her, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. [The mutual friend] who had previously tried to introduce me, I called him and told him that I’d asked her to lunch and he [hyped her up]. When I got there, I tried to get out of the car slowly so that when she got out I could look at her,” Timothy laughed. “And when I saw her she looked amazing, I was thoroughly pleased. I loved her hair, her style of dress, and I walked up to her said ‘hello’, and she’s been mesmerized ever since then.” 

Afterwards they went to Brookwood Mall where they walked around and talked …and when we were leaving, he walked me to the car and we said our ‘goodbyes’ and as he was walking ahead to his car, I could see him in plain sight, he did the happy kick,” Aprill laughed. “He jumped up and his feet clasped to the side, and it made me smile. I felt that the date had gone really well,” she said. 

The turn: Mid-October 2020. “We went on a lot of dates during COVID. We did our most authentic dating because everything was shut down so all we could do was talk. We met at parks, we did a lot of picnics, we laid out on blankets and had lunch, we talked on park benches,” Timothy said. “One day we were out on a date, and I was driving and she was riding with me and I asked her if she wanted to do the relationship thing. Aprill’s very detailed, and she said ‘by relationship, do you mean monogamous, just me and you? tell me what you mean’. And I said of course, monogamous, and she made me wait a whole day and a half for her answer. I was shocked, that had never happened to me before… that made me nervous, I was [thinking] she was going to tell me no.”

“I am very career driven, I’m just focused, and with being a single mom I had to think through things with my child in mind too. Being a mother and a professional, there are a lot of things that I have to take into consideration to know if I want to move to the next level of having a serious relationship because in anything that I’m involved in I commit myself fully,” said Aprill. “So I just wanted to take the time to think through and be sure that this was something that would be beneficial for my life at that point.” 

The proposal: Jan. 15, 2021, at their church, The Vision Church of Bessemer.

“Once again, it’s still COVID, and I was looking for a restaurant with a rooftop, or patio, but I didn’t want all the people around, I wanted the [whole space] to myself … and after looking around I said, ‘what better place to ask her to join me in life and ministry than the church?’ I surprised her, I told her I had reservations for Michael’s and I wanted her to dress up really nice… I had one of my deacons to help set up the church for me, and his job was to make sure the private chef, the soloist, and the decorator got in the church… the decorator had to come in and create an atmosphere,” Timothy said. “A week before the proposal I called all the people that I thought she would want to be present for it and [gave them a Zoom link] and I wrote out my lines for my proposal, and I got the people most important to her to create a video reading the lines to the first half of my proposal… 

“I pick her up and we headed to Michaels and [midway there] my deacon called and said ‘hey, pastor, the pipes burst at the church, you need to get here now, there’s water everywhere’. And when I told her the deacon called and said the pipes burst, we’re going to have to make a detour and go by the church . . . she said ‘that’s ok; when I decided to date you, I knew what I signed up for’ that got me,” Timothy said. 

Timothy left Aprill in the car while he went in to make sure everything and everyone was in place and went back for her. 

“When she walked in and she got choked up. There were flowers, and candles, there’s a table in the center of the floor and a private chef off to the side. And the crazy thing is we were fasting, so I told him I needed the best tasting vegetarian meal you can come up with, and we’re having water to drink,” Timothy laughed. “She sees everything, but I don’t know if she knows [I’m about to propose]. I sit her down and cut the TV on and said, ‘there are some things I want to say to you, and I brought a few people to help me say them’ and I hit play on the video, and sees her siblings, her father, and some of my [family/friends] reciting lines to my proposal. And when it got to the halfway point, I picked it up and said– ‘Aprill, you so fine, will you marry me?’ 

“He does very well at hiding his emotions. That said, he’s really good with pulling off surprises so I did not see this coming,” Aprill said.  “…soon as I opened the door, there was an ambiance. He had the lights dimmed, and perfect up-lighting, candles, the audio, there was a young lady serenading me, there was a table setting for two, and at that point, I did not know what was happening. I was shocked and excited, but I just thought it was a unique way of surprising me with a beautiful date night… 

“It wasn’t until he made the comment about there being one person who could not be there that night, and he gave me a vase of roses, and that brought me to tears because he was speaking of my mother. And it was at that point where I saw he was reaching for something in his pocket and then he began to kneel, and I was like oh my God he’s doing this, it’s happening. And at the end, I [realized] all these people were watching me live, and I was excited to know that our closest friends and family members had taken part in the occasion.”

The wedding:  Destin, Florida. Officiated by Timothy’s pastor, Pastor Victor Harkins, of Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Bessemer, Alabama. Their colors were spa and oasis blue.

“We had a beach wedding planned but a tropical storm hit the coast the morning of the wedding, and so we ended up doing it at The Palms of Destin, and the reception at the Emerald Grande Hotel and Resort,” Timothy said. 

“Tim got with our wedding planner and had come up with a contingent plan… We were supposed to get married at sunset, at 5 p.m., [and ended up] getting married at 1 p.m.,” Aprill said. 

Most memorable for the bride was a phone call from the groom. “He said no matter what this day brings, no matter what we have to change, or how this wedding turns out, I’m marrying you . . .He really expressed his love, willingness, and commitment to not only me but also my son, and he told me no matter what, this is about the three of us,” Aprill said. 

Most memorable for the groom were overcoming the obstacles to their wedding day. 

 “We didn’t buckle, we made it work. And when it was all said and done we got to look at each other and say hey, we made it, and we did it together. When he announced us husband and wife, that was the most memorable moment because we made it,” Timothy said.  

They honeymooned in Destin for two extra days, went home and repacked and headed to Cancun, Mexico, and stayed in Costa Mujeres.  

“It was seven days of complete rest, happiness, bliss, peace, and love,” Timothy said. 

Words of Wisdom: “Praying with your spouse, praying for your spouse and your family, and letting them know that you’re praying for them,” Timothy said. “Keeping God in the equation helps to guide the relationship because you can stay focused on the things that matter the most. Always be a student of your spouse, no matter how much you think you know, there’s plenty more to know, and as we grow we change so always remain a student.” 

“Marriage is not just about marrying the right person, it’s about being the right partner. As a woman, we are multi-faceted. I am a business professional, I’m a mother, a wife, a first lady, a sister, a daughter, a friend… And that said, I think it’s very important to pour into your spouse, honor and respect them, and get to learn who they are, what makes them tick, and what keeps them going. But at the same time balancing out my role, knowing who I am, keeping myself grounded enough to wear all of the different hats, and still finding balance.,” Aprill said.

Happily ever after: The Simmons have a 7-year-old son from Aprill’s previous marriage. 

Aprill, 40, is a Roebuck native, and Huffman High School grad. She attended Stillman College where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in pre-law and Birmingham School of Law, where she obtained a Juris Doctor. Aprill is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and is an HR compliance professional in the health insurance industry [Birmingham]. 

Timothy, 40, is a Riley native, and West End High School grad. He attended Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University, where he studied secondary education and biology. Timothy is the founding/senior pastor at The Vision Church of Bessemer, and a paraprofessional for Birmingham City Schools.  

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