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‘He Was in Front of Our Fireplace on One Knee and Said, ‘I Love You’

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BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY | Special to the Birmingham Times

WHITNEY AND MICHAEL NALLS

Live: Fairfield

Married: Aug. 19, 2019

Met: Feb. 10, 2016, at the 3000 Bar on the Southside. Whitney was out for a drink with some friends when she noticed Micheal and his friend occupying her favorite spot at the bar. Michael said he was trying to light his cigar when Whitney approached.

“I used to sit there all the time with my line sisters so I was a little agitated and I can be a little rude,” she laughed. “I was just trying to get to the bar to get a drink and [I saw he was having trouble with the cigar] and I said, ‘You don’t even know what you’re doing, you haven’t even cut the cigar. Can I order a drink while you figure that out?’ Michael thought I was trying to flirt but I wasn’t,” Whitney said.

“…that made me laugh and I asked her name, and we went into a conversation. She says she wasn’t trying to flirt but she gave me her number,” Michael recalled.

A few days later, Michael called Whitney to wish her a happy Valentine’s Day and asked her to dinner that weekend.

First date: Feb. 17, 2016, at Applebee’s in Fultondale. Whitney recalled Michael sitting too close for her comfort.

“I thought he was weird because he sat next to me and not across from me at the restaurant, and I remember I did not like his jacket,” she laughed. “He had on an army green jacket, and I was like ‘why does he have that on?’ But it was a nice little dinner,” said Whitney.

“I’m gonna have to bring that jacket back out,” Michael laughed. “But we just talked and got to know each other better, it was a cool first date.”

Whitney and Michael Nalls met in 2016 at a bar on the Southside. They married in 2019. (PROVIDED PHOTOS)

The turn: April 2016, during a weekend rendezvous in Atlanta. Whitney does not recall a discussion declaring their exclusivity but said the direction they were headed was evident.

“That was our first time going out of town together and I feel like we became exclusive then… that’s when we stopped acknowledging other people [because] people would call our phones and we wouldn’t answer,” Whitney said.

Michael said he could tell Whitney had become more attached to him that weekend, but that a conversation about their status as a couple followed.

“A couple of weeks later she asked me what are we doing? and it was a weird conversation for me, but I was like I guess we were together,” said Michael.

The proposal: Labor Day weekend 2018. The couple had purchased their first house together and planned what Whitney thought was their housewarming party. That wasn’t part of Micheal’s plans.

“I had the ring, I had her dad’s permission, all her [friends and family] knew that I was going to propose to her except for her mom because I knew she would tell her,” Michael laughed. “And her friends started [pushing her to go upstairs] to fix her hair, and when she came back down the stairs, we went into blessing the house and I went into the proposal from there. I got down on my knee and said, “Whitney will you marry me?’”

Whitney said she was confused. She was still trying to set up and decorate the house for the party when her friends made her stop to get her makeup done and change her clothes.

“I was comfortable in my Nike shorts; I didn’t understand why I needed to get my makeup done for a Luau [themed] housewarming party. They forced me to put the dress on that I had bought for the party, and they rushed me down telling me I was about to miss the blessing and I thought the party hadn’t even started yet and when I got downstairs I was confused because so many people [had arrived].

“It was a packed house, and I was looking around at all my [AKA] line sisters being there, family and friends driving in from other cities, and I was confused until it clicked.  Michael was in front of our fireplace on one knee and said, ‘I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?’ and I was so busy looking around I forgot to respond and said, ‘what you gonna say?’,” Whitney laughed. “Then I said ‘yes’, and after the proposal [the housewarming] literally turned into a house party.”

The wedding: The couple took their vows at the downtown Birmingham Courthouse and went to Urban Cookhouse for lunch afterwards and on Nov. 2, 2019, they held a ceremony at the Marriott Hotel on 280. It was officiated by Reverend I. S. Patterson, of First Baptist Adamsville, and their colors were champagne, navy, and blush. Most memorable for the bride was having her ailing grandmother in attendance.

“She had been diagnosed with dementia and had started living in a nursing home and we went through a lot to get her to the wedding. She had to have an attendant from the nursing home with her the whole time, and I was just glad that she was able to witness it,” Whitney said.

Most memorable for the groom was watching his bride walk down the aisle.

“Being up there in front of everybody and watching her walk down to me brought a couple of tears to my eyes,” Michael said. The newlyweds honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico.

Words of wisdom: “One day at a time,” Whitney said, “and don’t go to bed angry. And always remember that your spouse is your person. Even on the bad days, he’s still my person.

“I pray a lot and ask the Lord for strength. It’s patience and prayer. If you can get on one accord everything can work out much smoother,” Michael said.

Happily ever after: The Nalls are a blended family and attend First Baptist Adamsville. They have one son, Champ, 2, from their union, and daughters Mariah, 12, and Maleyah, 11.

Whitney, 33, is an Adamsville native, and Minor High School grad. She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB], where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and works as a disability examiner for the Social Security Administration.

Michael, 36, is a Midfield native and Midfield High School grad. He attended Alabama State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Michael works as a federal corrections officer for the Department of Justice.

“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.

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