Anita Alexander and Walter Davis III
June 25, 2017, in Claymont, Del.
Whenever Anita punched in the portion of her Social Security number that clocked her in to work at the Springfield, Delaware County, Chick-fil-A, the name Walter Davis popped up. Their digits were a perfect match.
It was September 2007 and Anita, whose family had recently immigrated to Darby from Trinidad and Tobago, found herself wondering who this Walter was. "I asked my manager about him, and she said he had left the company, so we probably wouldn't see him again."
But in 2008, Walter returned from Red Lobster.
Anita joked about their surprise connection. "You stole my last four digits! You stole my identity!" Walter, who lived in his hometown of Lansdowne, smiled. "Aren't you from Trinidad, and didn't you just move here?" he teased back. "You stole my identity!"
Each liked the other's sense of humor, and as their friendship grew, they talked about more serious things, too: Their families, their faith, her criminal-justice studies at Pennsylvania State University's Brandywine campus and aspiration to practice law, his finance classes at Delaware County Community College and dream of managing a hotel. They and their coworkers frequently socialized, taking in movies or heading to an amusement park on trips that Walter always planned, impressing Anita with his organizational skills. What impressed her more: When the weather was miserable, Walter — the only one with a car — would often wait long past the end of his shift to drive other people home.
"He really likes you," Anita's sister Asha observed one day. Asha was right.
"It was definitely her personality and her beauty," he said. " And I liked how she was career-driven, an educated woman who was ambitious about going to school to become a lawyer."
Walter doesn't play. He told Anita he cared for her, that he wanted to be in a relationship with her, and asked whether she was willing to try.
"I told him I had to think about it," she said. She wasn't quite over a breakup with a guy from Trinidad and Tobago. But two weeks later, she agreed they should be more than friends. Their first official date was dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, for which both dressed up fine. "People commented on how well we were dressed while we were waiting in line," Walter chuckled. They waited for three hours and had fun the whole time.
Love followed quickly.
In 2009, Anita needed to transfer to Penn State's main campus to finish her degree at that university. "We faced some unwanted time away from each other, and rather than do that, we thought we'd both go to the same school in another state." His father, also named Walter, recommended Kennesaw State University near Atlanta. They were far apart for eight months when Walter interned at Disney and then weekend-visit distance as Anita earned her law degree at Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., and Walter earned his tourism and hospitality management degree at Temple University.
Walter, now 29, is assistant general manager of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Phoenixville. Anita, now 27, is an associate attorney at Lowey Dannenberg Cohen & Hart in West Conshohocken.
Anita came home for Thanksgiving break in November 2013. She was getting tired, and she told Walter and her sister it was time for the drive back to Carlisle. "Let's all go into the city and get something to eat before you go," Walter suggested. Anita said no at first, but her sister and boyfriend persuaded her to extend her stay just a little while longer.
Once in Center City, Walter had another suggestion: "Let's go take some pictures at LOVE Park." He asked Asha to snap a few shots of him and Anita.
With the huge red letters behind them, Walter knelt and took her hand. Nervous, excited, and emotional, he kept his words simple: "Anita Alexander, will you marry me?"
They drove to Walter's mom Wanda's house in Lansdowne to share the good news. She called her parents and three siblings. Within minutes, about 15 people arrived to toast the couple with champagne.
Famished, they ordered takeout cheesesteaks and stromboli from Acropolis Pizza.
The couple wed in the garden at the Waterfall in a Christian ceremony performed by Elder Donald Fraser, a pastor at Christ Haven Church Ministries, Anita's family church. Walter walked down the aisle, then came the couple's 14 attendants, four flower girls, ring bearer, and Anita, escorted by her parents, Wendy and Elliott, and followed by the junior bridesmaid holding her train.
Flowers lined the aisles. They knelt for a prayer, read their own vows, and symbolized their new life together by pouring sand into a shadow box engraved with their names and dates — coral sand for her, white for him.
As the newlyweds walked back up the aisle, Anita's aunts stood and threw rice at them, just as it's always done in Trinidad and Tobago.
Evidence of the couple's love of Disney was everywhere, from Anita's Mickey Mouse-inspired nail art to their Minnie and Mickey cake topper. The flags of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago were displayed, and a mix of American and Caribbean tunes was provided by Trinidadian D.J. Master Rich. Copious amounts of food accompanied cocktail hour, and continued through a sit-down dinner for their 145 guests.
The couple surprised Walter's grandparents Nathaniel and Mary by playing the song that couple danced to at their wedding more than 50 years before, "Your Precious Love." The bride also surprised the groom by performing a dance to a mix of artists with her maid of honor and bridesmaids in supporting roles. Best friend Evie choreographed.
After the maid of honor and best man made their toasts, the couple's family made surprise speeches that were more like roasts, peppered with embarrassing stories, including the time the couple had a huge fight over rice. Walter is a good cook, but one day early on, Anita was less than impressed with his microwavable rice pouch. "I'm not eating that," she said matter-of-factly. Walter felt judged. Anita insisted her comments were only about the rice. She took the bus home. He finished cooking the meal, and drove it from Lansdowne to Darby, where they ate it together and made up.
She still thinks rice in a bag is weird. He still thinks it's delicious and efficient but now happily eats parboiled rice at their home in East Norriton.
Walking down the aisle, Walter saw all of his family and friends, and all of Anita's family and friends. "I thought, 'Wow! Everyone has come together on the same day, same time, same location to watch the marriage of Anita and I,' and it hit me – this is really about to happen." He was wowed all over again when Anita began walking toward him.
The couple's first dance at the reception was their first dance in public, ever, because dancing is not Walter's thing. "He was spinning me around, and we had just gotten married, and I felt in complete awe," Anita said. "As he spun me, I could see all of our friends and family around us, watching us dance. It was an amazing moment."
A bargain: The bride found her perfect dress online. It was made in China, cost $117, and frankly seemed too good to be true. After an exhaustive local search for something similar proved fruitless, Anita decided to take a chance, since the wedding was still a year away. The dress arrived almost perfect.
The splurge: The couple booked a 60-passenger coach bus, plenty big enough for all. Then they treated themselves and the bridal party to a limo: a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
A five-day cruise to the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, plus two days in Fort Lauderdale.
Officiant: Elder Donald Fraser, Christ Haven Church Ministries Inc., Philadelphia.
Ceremony and reception venue, and food: The Waterfall, Catering & Special Events, Claymont, Del.
Cake: Desserts by Dana, Newark, Del.
Music: DJ Master Rich.
Photography: Sheronda Seawright Photography, Philadelphia.
Videography: Desiree Sampson, cousin of the bride.
Flowers: Bang Trinh.
Hair: Nicky Merrill, Royal Mane Boutique, Philadelphia.
Makeup: Ericka Areh.