“I was impressed when he accepted our weekly Bible classes over the phone”
By JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY
Special for 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 if you know someone, please send your applications to Barnett Wright at [email protected] Include the couple’s name, contact number (s) and what makes their love story unique.
TORY AND NATASHA SHUMPERT
Married: Sep 10, 2011
Meet: Spring 2005, in Tuscaloosa at the 15th St. Diner. “My cousin Stéphanie, who is friends with [Natasha] was visiting the campus [University of Alabama] with a group of friends to see if they would go to graduate school there, and I offered to take my cousin to lunch and she said, “I would love to, but I have three other women with me. “. And I said, ‘the place I’m going to take you is pretty cheap, I can afford to take all four of you.’ … I ended up sitting in front of [Natasha]”Tory recalls.” I wasn’t trying to date anyone. Although I noticed that [Natasha] was very pretty.
Natasha wasn’t looking to date anyone either. “I was 100% on school and my studies at the time, I was just convinced to get into a good graduate school,” she said. “… but I noticed Tory was a good looking guy and very funny.”
Natasha ended up choosing UA for her graduate studies and graduated in the summer of 2008, never crossing paths with Tory.
At the time of graduation, “my family was looking for hotels to stay, and they were full… I was talking to Stéphanie [Tory’s cousin], and she suggested that I call her because he worked in the hospitality industry and could probably help me.
Tory saved the day. “I contacted friends who were still general managers (general managers) in a few hotels and found rooms … A month later she called to say thank you … I was finally able to congratulate her and ask her how was life, and if she was married, ”Tory said. Natasha was single, so Tory asked her on a date, which she agreed to months later.
First date: Spring 2009, in Columbus, Mississippi, at Applebee’s, halfway between Tuscaloosa and Tupelo, where Natasha returned after completing her graduate studies.
“I walked in and saw that she [had gotten] really cute. In 2005 she was cute, but in 2009 she was cute-cute, she had improved her cute game, ”Tory said with a laugh. “She had her contacts and her Janet Jackson braids. We sat there laughing and talking like we were old friends from our youth, and it turns out that growing up I knew her family, I just didn’t know them… We had a good date you and we decided to talk [on the phone] all the way back home … “
“I was very impressed with his gentlemanly demeanor. I really liked how respectful he was during the date. He was a very nice and handsome guy. I wanted to see if there was any substance there and it didn’t fail in any area. But I had this thing in my head that since he was older than me [Natasha was 27 and Tory was 35], I didn’t know how things were going to turn out. But it was a very impressive first date, ”said Natasha.
Round: For Tory and Natasha, it was in the fall of 2009. She said to herself “we’re going to try the old fashioned way. You’re gonna get to know me, and I’m gonna get to know you, we’re gonna learn each other like the back of your hand. We’re going to be friends in every sense of the word before we get there and that intrigued me, ”Tory said.
Natasha said: “When we decided to move our relationship forward from dating to exclusivity, we were still in two different states. I thought he might be tired of driving to come and see me, and I might be tired. to go see him, then we’ll just see how it goes. So for me, it was consistency in his pursuit of me. I didn’t make it easy for him, but it didn’t deter him in any way. .
“One of the things that impressed me the most about him was [his agreeing to] our weekly Bible classes over the phone, and there weren’t a lot of guys my age doing that… ”Natasha said.
Proposal: April 2010, at the Kobe Japanese Steakhouse in Tuscaloosa. Tory had arranged for their dinner to take place in a private hibachi room and for the chef to literally tell him that.
“I set it up with the chef that he would actually suggest to her. He did a series of tricks, tossing stuff, then he made a heart out of the rice and wrote “Will you marry me?” and I put flames around, it was literally a flaming heart… and when she finally realized what he was saying, she covered her face and started screaming, and I knelt with the ring Tory said.
“The ring was really beautiful. I was amazed. I was really glad it happened. I loved him and I totally saw myself spending the rest of my life with him. I knew he would be an amazing husband and an amazing father, and I knew we were going to do great things together because we were really friends first… ”
The wedding: Tupelo MS. at the inspiring community baptist church [Natasha’s home church]. They had two officiants – Dr Cordell Phillips and Greg Bently, [Tory’s Alpha Phi Alpha brother]. Their colors were various shades of eggplant, lavender, and teal.
Most memorable for the bride was “to exchange our vows and to relive [surviving the 2011 tornadoes]. I was in Tuscaloosa at the time and was so scared I couldn’t say a prayer to come out of my mouth… ”Natasha said. “It was one of my most vulnerable points in our [relationship] that he had seen me before and he stepped in and filled this gap… Our marriage was a reflection of [what we survived] for us and our family… We saw it as God giving us a chance to create this great life and this family we want, ”Natasha said.
Most memorable for the groom was their two receptions. “Our wedding was off the chain. I had been in the hospitality business for years so I knew how to organize an event… We had an outdoor reception which was so big people didn’t even know we had an indoor reception too. The indoor reception was formal and by invitation only for 120 guests… We had a DJ, an open bar, a candy and treat bar. We had food from 50 different cultures, whether you are vegan, vegetarian…. Upstairs [indoor] the reception was reserved for adults, zone without children. We had celebrated the love and our accomplishments. We thanked God for keeping us here because we had survived a tornado, and although it looked like a torn cannonball, our house was one of the only houses still standing [after the April 2011 tornadoes]. We created it. God wanted us to go to our wedding, ”Tory said.
The couple spent an eight-day honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.
“The honeymoon was an extension of our love and our marriage. We continued to celebrate and appreciate the blessings that God has bestowed on us, ”said Natasha.
Words of wisdom: Make sure your spouse is your true friend “because after some of the superficial things [youth/beauty] disappear, you have to be comfortable with that person, their flaws and everything, ”Natasha said. “At our wedding, we talked about a three-strand cord and making sure God is your third strand. It adds to the basis of our marriage and ensures that we are a strong couple, ”Natasha said.
“Operate with a measure of grace and allow grace, forgiveness and forgetfulness,” Tory said. “Realize that every time your spouse cuts you off or lashes out at you, it’s not always about you or something you’ve done. At first I was wondering “what have I done?” and it can be about anything and it has nothing to do with me. . But if you operate with a measure of grace, you can understand that everyone is human and has moments of the flesh. “
Happy forever: The Shumperts have two children, Aria, 6, Emri, 3.
Natasha, 39, is from Tupelo, Mississippi and graduated from Tupelo High School. She attended the University of Mississippi, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social work. Natasha also obtained a Masters of Social Work from the University of Alabama, currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration. [MBA] graduate and works as a Human Services Coordinator for the Jefferson County Department of Health.
Tory, 47, is a Tupelo [Plantersville] Originally from Mississippi and Shannon High School [Shannon, MS] diploma. He attended Stillman College where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Tory also earned an MBA from Strayer University and works as a sales manager at University Printing on the University of Alabama campus.