After a First Date at Popeyes, Marriage Was on the Menu

The parking lot of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston is not a particularly romantic spot for a first date. Nevertheless, when Stevenson Ricardo Boyce asked Sharhea Octavia Wade if she would meet him there one afternoon in May 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, she didn’t say no.

The two had initially connected a few weeks earlier on the dating app Hinge. Ms. Wade, 34, said that Mr. Boyce, 44, was the first person she encountered online whom she wanted to meet in person. But when he called that afternoon, she suspected that he was about to blow off their first date for a third time. Before he could get to the point, she made an announcement of her own.

“I just cut him short and said, If you are calling to cancel again, then don’t ever call again,” she said.

He countered with an offer to meet her in five minutes in the lot of the fast-food chain, which was near where she then lived. In that lot, they talked so long that he had a meal (bought at the KFC across the street, as the line at Popeyes was daunting). 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 felt “really awesome, like I’d almost known her a long time.”

When the two met, Mr. Boyce, whose previous marriage of six years ended in divorce in 2011, was juggling a whole handful of potential romantic prospects. But after a few dates with Ms. Wade, “those other five started to become very obsolete very fast,” he said.

Both have roots in the West Indies and learned that they share a commitment to family, community and building generational wealth through real estate, hard work and planning. Within the first couple weeks of their relationship, Ms. Wade recalls telling Mr. Boyce that they were going to get married. “He looked at me like I was crazy,” she said.

“One of the things that got me was he was describing his future, what he wants out of his life, and it sounded like he was picking my dream,” Ms. Wade added. “It was surreal. Everything he was saying that he wanted about his future was exactly what I wanted.”

Ms. Wade, who graduated from Bryn Mawr College and holds an M.B.A. from Boston University, is a vice president for global inclusion, diversity and equity at the Boston financial services company State Street Corporation, as well as the president of the Boston chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

Mr. Boyce, who received an associate degree in computer technology from Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, is an information technology systems cybersecurity engineer at Destination XL Group, a clothing retailer in Canton, Mass.

About a month after their first date, in late June 2020, he asked her to be his girlfriend. She agreed, but not before asking him to make it known that he was, as she put it, “off the market.” Soon afterward, she laid out 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. Six months later, I was moved in.”

By then, the two were also engaged. Mr. Boyce proposed that December, while they were visiting Barbados for the holidays. His friend and colleague, Wayne Austin, thought that the trip would be the perfect moment for a proposal, so much so that, on his own, he bought an engagement ring for the couple. (Mr. Boyce quickly paid Mr. Austin back.)

In April, Mr. Boyce and Ms. Wade moved into a home that they built together in Randolph, Mass., completing the first step of the shared vision through which they first connected.

On July 23, they were wed before 117 guests in Stowe, Vt., 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 beaches on their families’ home islands into a glass jar. Hers, which was black, came from Montserrat, and his, which was white, from Barbados.


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