A Co-Sign From Grandma Sealed the Deal


Before Felix Rameshad Allen III had even heard of Brandon Aaron Marshall, Mr. Allen’s grandmother, Bertha Mae Allen, was already a fan of Mr. Marshall. She had watched him on KWTX-TV News 10, an affiliate of CBS in Waco, Texas, where he was a reporter.

Mr. Allen and Mr. Marshall first connected in November 2015 on the dating app Grindr. They met on Dec. 2 at Cricket’s Draft House + Grill, where Mr. Marshall had invited Mr. Allen to join a small get together with his co-workers.

“It was amazing,” Mr. Allen, 37, said. “We talked and talked — I sort of stole him away for about an hour, and then he introduced me to his friends.” The two decided to meet for breakfast the next morning.

Mr. Allen had recently moved back to his hometown, Waco, from Dallas, and he was planning on moving to either New York City or Los Angeles for his career. When Mr. Marshall found out about Mr. Allen’s plans, he wondered if their first date might also be their last.

The next day, they met at Harold Waite Pancake and Steak House. “He brought up some of my news stories, which was cool,” Mr. Marshall, 33, said. Mr. Allen had done his homework.

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After a few dates, Mr. Allen wanted to see where things might go with Mr. Marshall, so he decided to stay in Waco. The gamble paid off. In March 2016, Mr. Marshall asked Mr. Allen, “Are we like boyfriends?”

Mr. Allen recalled that Mr. Marshall “was so careful about saying it.” He added, “I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. We’re together. We’re boyfriends.’”

In August 2016, Mr. Marshall received a job offer in Nashville to be reporter at WTVF NewsChannel 5, an affiliate of CBS. When he took the job, their relationship became long distance. By March 2017, Mr. Allen said, “it became challenging.”

Although Mr. Allen wasn’t really keen on Nashville, he said that he “was visiting and decided to apply for jobs.” The next day, his inbox was full of interview requests. He accepted a job at TomKats Hospitality, a local restaurant group, and moved to Nashville two weeks later.

As the couple began living together and talking about marriage, Mr. Marshall told Mr. Allen that he expected him to be the one to propose. So that’s exactly what Mr. Allen did on the morning of Feb. 22, 2022.

Mr. Marshall was rushing to get ready for work, when Mr. Allen asked him to come downstairs. When he did, Mr. Allen pulled out a small black box from behind their couch that held two rings, one for each of them. Mr. Allen asked: “Will you do life with me forever? Would you marry me?”

Mr. Marshall recalled saying: “Is this really happening? Are you serious?” Seconds later, he said yes.

Throughout their relationship, Mr. Allen’s grandmother would often ask about Mr. Marshall, saying, “How’s my boy doing?” When she found out about their wedding, “she made it her mission to attend,” Mr. Allen said. “She even flew from Texas to Tennessee, the second time she’s ever flown. The first time was in the mid-1990s to California.”

In March 2023, Mr. Marshall accepted his current job as the communications director for the office of Lina Hidalgo, the Harris County judge in Houston. The couple soon moved to the city.

Mr. Marshall, who is from Bloomfield, Conn., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Elon University in North Carolina and received a master’s degree in public administration from Tennessee State University.

Mr. Allen is a sommelier and the manager of Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in Cypresswood, Texas. He graduated from the University of North Texas in Denton with a bachelor’s in hotel and restaurant management.

The couple were wed on Sept. 23 before 170 guests at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. The ceremony was officiated by the Rev. Martin L. Espinosa, the senior pastor and a founder of Ray of Hope Community Church.

Ayshiaki Taylor, Mr. Allen’s first friend in Nashville, and Sonia Trim, whom Mr. Marshall has known since he was 8, served as “best women” in the wedding party. The couple’s mothers surprised them with songs for the mother-son dances: Mr. Allen’s mother chose “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, and Mr. Marshall’s mother chose “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men.

To honor Mr. Marshall’s Caribbean roots, the wedding party was given flags from Trinidad and Tobago, while soca music played throughout the celebration. “The best part of the wedding night was when Felix and I were on the dance floor, holding flags in our hands, and our wedding party and family walked around us dancing and waving flags as well,” Mr. Marshall said. “It was a special moment.”


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