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.
TIFFANY AND MARCELO HENRY
Married: May 15, 2019
Met: March 2010, at Applebee’s in Five Point’s West. Tiffany’s mom, Krystal, and Marcelo frequented the restaurant and had become good friends, and her mother thought the two would make a good match.
“My mom was already at Applebee’s and told me to come by and get something to eat because she wanted me to meet somebody. When I came in she introduced me to Marcelo, and she was bragging on him, telling me he was a police officer and that he loved the Lord…,” Tiffany recalled. “I was actually in a hurry because I had to go somewhere… we met, but it didn’t go anywhere from there.”
“When I saw her, I said ‘Man, she’s beautiful’ but I wasn’t surprised because her mom is beautiful as well,” Marcelo said.
After the introduction, Marcelo went back to his lunch at the bar, and Tiffany said she had a gut feeling that she would see him again. However, that wouldn’t come for eight more years. Tiffany had moved to Atlanta and when she returned to Birmingham in October of 2018, she and Marcelo crossed paths again. This time at a Birmingham area hair salon that doubled as a barbershop.
“I was getting my hair washed and I saw some man walking up to me, and it was Celo. He said ‘Is your mom’s name Krystal?’, and I’m looking at him crazy wondering why he is asking me about my mama,” Tiffany laughed. “I [reluctantly] said ‘yeah,’ and he said ‘I know your mom, tell her Marcelo said hi’, and by that point, I recognized him and knew he who he was but I played it cool.”
Two weeks later on Tiffany’s and Marcelo’s bi-weekly salon visit, they ran into each other again and began a conversation about relationships and dating during a Facebook Live broadcast. Afterwards neither could deny the chemistry.
“…once we got off of the [Facebook live broadcast] we continued talking and I told her she was very interesting and that we should get to know each other a little more…,” Marcelo said. “…I didn’t think I had a chance because she’s so gorgeous. She had been in ATL, so I thought rappers and athletes had been trying to date her and I thought [she was out of my league].” To Marcelo’s surprise, Tiffany agreed and gave him her phone number.
First date: Nov. 3, 2018, at Marcelo’s church, New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in East Lake. Afterward, they went out to eat at Top of The River, in Gadsden.
“I don’t drink, I don’t party, at that time church was my club, so I was like ‘hey, come to church with me’. …I love my church and we have a good worship atmosphere so I invited her so she could get a good feel. She came and she had a great time,” Marcelo remembered.
“I thought wow, a church date. I had never had a man invite me to church before so I was really impressed,” Tiffany said. “For him to invite me to come to worship the same God that I worship is a good time to me… I grew up in the church so that hit home for me and made me want to continue to get to know him…”
“My pastor, [Dr. Thomas Beavers] is also my best friend, he’s like a brother to me, we grew up together so that was important to me for [him to meet her]. After that, we went to Top of River and had a good old-fashioned homestyle meal. I purposely didn’t take her to one of the fancy restaurants in Birmingham,” Marcelo said.
“I had a good time because one thing about me is I love some good food and the food was good,” Tiffany laughed. [She had shrimp scampi with cornbread and fried pickles, and Marcelo had chicken fingers and fries.] “It was simple and it showed me who he was, he showed me what was in his world, and I felt like I could just be myself around him.”
The turn: After a series of dates, they made it official right before Christmas 2018. “We were planning to spend Christmas together and I said, ‘If we’re spending Christmas together and we’re going on all these dates, I’m your woman and you’re my man’. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have time to be dating just to be dating. I wanted to be friends, but I had caught feelings and I said, ‘either we’re going to be exclusive or we’re not going to do this,’” Tiffany said.
“I got an ultimatum, a girlfriend, and some death threats for Christmas,“ Marcelo laughed, “but the ultimatum was the best thing that ever happened to me. It took a strong woman to come at me like she did, and she was the blueprint of what I wanted. I told her I had everything that I needed in a female companion with her, so let’s give this thing a try, and it was a whirlwind after that,” he said.
The proposal: March 23, 2019, in Alabaster at the former home of K&J Pasties. “They have this red velvet cupcake that Tiffany loves, and I got the cupcake and put the ring on top of the icing and I said, ‘Before you ingest this cupcake, look down’. “That’s when I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me and she accepted,” Marcelo said.
“I should’ve known it was coming because he had been asking me a whole bunch of questions about what kind of ring I wanted, and my ring size…. I was very happy, I wasn’t shocked because I felt in my spirit that he was going to ask me based on the way he was acting, but I had butterflies. I thanked God because He had already told me Marcelo was going to be my husband years ago after we first met,” Tiffany said.
The wedding: At their church, New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in East Lake, in the pastor’s study after Bible class [May 15, 2019], officiated by Dr. Thomas Beavers. One month later, they had their ceremony on Crystal Beach in Destin, Florida.
Most memorable for the bride was a moment during their vow exchange in their pastor’s study because “it was very intimate. And before we said, ‘I do’ we had a very thorough conversation with the pastor, and we prayed together and had that intimate moment with the Lord,” Tiffany said.
Most memorable for the groom was watching his wife walk down the beach in Destin during their beach ceremony. “I knew then that my life was never going to be the same. I saw a reflection of God walking behind her and I said to myself, ‘This is my saving grace’. I get to be a husband and a father to these beautiful ladies [their daughter London, who was 8 at the time]. I looked to my side and my parents, and my brothers and sisters were happy, it was a blessed day,” said Marcelo.
They honeymooned in Destin, Florida. “We had a private yacht and sailed off for two days. We had a chef, it was very romantic. I love boats and he knows that, so it was awesome,” Tiffany said.
Words of wisdom: “Show each other love. One spouse may be tired one day, so you pick up the slack. Compromise, help your partner out, be their support system. You have to give to receive in a marriage. Get to know your partner so that you can grow together. Keep God first. Have an open line of communication with your spouse, and don’t put others in your relationship. Keep the drama and negativity away,” Tiffany said. “I’m big on privacy, and the sanctity of marriage.”
“Marriage is not going to be perfect, but in marriage, you always have to put your ego to the side and say I’m sorry even if you weren’t wrong,” Marcelo said. “When you put your ego to the side your marriage goes a lot smoother, it helps create homeostasis [balance] in your home, and everything is stable.”
Happily ever after: The Henrys have one daughter, London 12, and their dog Chico.
Tiffany, 35, is a Detroit, Michigan native, by way of Gulf Shores, Ala. She received her high school diploma via home school and attended Shaw University [online] where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Tiffany relocated to Birmingham in 2006, and is a realtor at Forever Homes Realty, based in Moody, Ala., and she and Marcelo own a home remodeling and interior design company called Beautiful Distractions, based out of Birmingham.
Marcelo, 42, is a Miami, Florida native, by way of Ensley [moved here in 1992], a Minor High School grad, and attended Samford University on a football scholarship, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and has served on the police force for the City of Birmingham for the last 16 years.