After a first date at Popeyes, marriage was on the menu
The Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen parking lot in Roslindale, Mass., isn’t a particularly romantic place for a first date. Nonetheless, when Stevenson Ricardo Boyce asked Sharhea Octavia Wade if she would meet him there one afternoon in May 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, she didn’t say no.
The two had originally hooked up a few weeks earlier on the dating app Hinge. Ms Wade, 34, said Mr Boyce, 44, was the first person she met online and wanted to meet in person. But when he called that afternoon, she suspected he was about to call off their first date for the third time. Before he could get to the point, she made her own announcement.
“I just cut it short and said, ‘If you’re calling again to cancel, then never call again,'” she said.
He retaliated by offering to meet her in five minutes at the fast food chain’s lot, which was close to where she was then living. In this batch they talked so long that he had a meal (bought at KFC across the street as the queue at Popeyes was intimidating). They also shared a sunset and a first kiss.
“We definitely couldn’t stop talking to each other,” Ms Wade said. Mr Boyce added that their connection was ‘really great, like I’ve known her almost for a long time’.
When the two met, Mr Boyce, whose previous marriage of six years ended in divorce in 2011, was juggling a handful of potential romantic prospects. But after a few meetings with Ms Wade, “those other five started to get stale very quickly,” he said.
Both have roots in the West Indies and have learned that they share a commitment to family, community and building generational wealth through real estate, hard work and planning. During the first two weeks of their relationship, Ms Wade recalls telling Mr Boyce that they were getting married. “He looked at me like I was crazy,” she said.
“One of the things that appealed to me was that he was describing his future, what he wanted from his life, and it sounded like he was choosing my dream,” Ms Wade added. “It was surreal. Everything he said he wanted about his future was exactly what I wanted.
Ms. Wade, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and an MBA from Boston University, is Vice President for Global Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at the financial services firm of Boston State Street Corporation, as well as as president of the Boston chapter of the National Association of Black MBAs.
Mr. Boyce, who earned an associate’s degree in computer technology from Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, is an information technology systems cybersecurity engineer with Destination XL Group, a clothing retailer in Canton, Mass.
About a month after their first date, at the end of June 2020, he asked her to be his girlfriend. She agreed, but not before asking him to let it be known that he was, as she put it, “off the market.” Soon after, she hatched a plan for their future together.
“She said, I’m going to need you to move in in six months,” Mr Boyce said. “I was like, what are you talking about? I barely know you guys. Six months later, I moved in.
At that time, the two were also engaged. Mr Boyce proposed this December when they were visiting Barbados for the holidays. His friend and colleague, Wayne Austin, thought the trip would be the perfect time for a marriage proposal, so much so that, on his own accord, he bought an engagement ring for the couple. (Mr. Boyce promptly repaid Mr. Austin.)
In April, Mr. Boyce and Ms. Wade moved into a home they built together in Randolph, Mass., completing the first stage of the shared vision through which they first connected.
On July 23, they tied the knot in front of 117 guests in Stowe, Vermont, at the vacation home of Ms. Wade’s friends Max H. Bazerman and Marla Felcher. Mr. Bazerman, after receiving permission from Vermont, officiated at the outdoor ceremony.
As part of the wedding, the bride, who will be known as Mrs. Wade Boyce, and the groom each poured sand from the beaches on their families’ home islands into a glass jar. His, who was black, came from Montserrat, and his, who was white, from Barbados.