Neighbors surprise Hoover couple on wedding day

HOOVER – Though the official guest list was small, a Hoover couple’s neighbors made sure they felt loved on their wedding day.

Keri McLendon and Charles Hyde were married Saturday, April 4, at their residence in Kirkman Preserve, a subdivision near Spain Park High School.

They held a ceremony with only their closest friends and relatives because of concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but afterward a surprise parade thrown by neighbors made the event more festive.

McLendon Hyde is a nurse practitioner in hematology oncology at UAB, so she had an idea maybe before most others of what the spread of the novel coronavirus would mean.

She specifically remembers a meeting at work the day of the first confirmed case in Alabama.

“That was a clue to me that this was not going to work out in a couple of weeks,” McLendon Hyde said about the wedding. “It was rough, and [planning] was compounded by the fact that it was changing on a daily basis.

“My uncle was our minister, and at one point we thought we may have to call him and do it over the phone, with us on the back patio. We had that conversation.”

The wedding was always scheduled for April 4, but that was one of the few similarities between the planned event and the one that actually took place.

Other than the bride and groom, attendees included the minister, McLendon Hyde’s parents, a matron of honor who also performed music and a neighborhood friend who broadcast the ceremony via Facebook Live.

The groom’s parents were unable to attend because they were under shelter-in-place and travel ban orders.

“If they could have made it, it would have been perfect,” McLendon Hyde said. “We talked about whether or not we still wanted to go through with it. We talked about postponing, but we were both just ready to be officially married. And if we had tried to push it back, lots of other people were probably going to do the same thing.

“We both just felt like it wasn’t going to go the way we wanted it to no matter what. So we figured we would go ahead and get married and then have a big party one day in the future.”

Though McLendon Hyde and her new husband attended Oak Mountain High School together, and were even acquaintances, they did not date until about a year ago.

McLendon Hyde said she was on a date that was not going well, when Hyde, with a couple of friends she knew from high school, happened to arrive and sit at an adjacent table.

After the date concluded, McLendon Hyde said she joined the other group and got to know her eventual husband.

There was no crowd of people watching, at least not in person, but McLendon Hyde said she still felt anxious and excited—and then the butterflies really began.

“Oh my gosh, this is really happening now,” she recalls.

With few guests, there was no need for a full wedding cake, but the couple asked a bakery for the equivalent of the top of a wedding cake for the special day, and shared champagne bought in Paris.

Then they entered a classic Rolls Royce for what was supposed to be a ride around Oak Mountain State Park. But first the vehicle drove the couple through the neighborhood for a wedding surprise: the homeowners association had encouraged residents to decorate their mailboxes, make signs and stand outside to greet them following the wedding ceremony.

“There were people standing outside, and I thought, ‘What is this?’” McLendon Hyde said. “People were hooting and hollering, blowing bubbles, throwing rice. People were even running up to the car to give us gifts. One family gave us a bottle of champagne with a couple rolls of toilet paper.”