Love Needs Time

In many famous and iconic love stories, timing often gets in the way of the fairytale ending. For example, in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” if Romeo had only waited a few more minutes for the messenger, he would have known to wait for the priest to bring Juliet. If only Deborah Kerr’s character was a few seconds earlier or later, she would not have missed her meeting with the dashing Cary Grant in “An Affair to Remember.” Luckily, for all of the hopeless romantics out there, there is a hometown love story based on timing that worked out exactly the way it was supposed to.

Cody Cunningham and Hollie Caras’ wedding, set for October 10, will be a culmination of 10 years of slightly “off” timing. Fate finally realized that the paths of these two individuals needed to intertwine. The timing of their love story made for the happiest of endings … or beginnings, depending how you look at it.

Ms. Caras, a Frisco High School graduate from the class of 2005, is a kindergarten and special needs teacher at Fisher Elementary. Being a teacher has been her dream since she started babysitting at 11 years old. She said, “I love helping children grow and I believe in them all. It is the most rewarding job, in my eyes, to watch my kids grow up and take with them what they learned in kindergarten.”

Mr. Cunningham, a former Marine, is now working in insurance sales with United Health Care. He is also a member of the Frisco High School graduating class of 2005. His family’s history is closely tied to Frisco. His great aunt, Dorothy Rolater, is who Rolater Road is named after. Mr. Cunningham said, “Aunt Dot was the first woman to ever open a real estate office in Frisco, and she served for two years as the first female president and director of real estate.”

Ms. Caras and Mr. Cunningham were not high school sweethearts, but mutual friends, athletics and similar social circles brought them together some. Mr. Cunningham played football and ran track while Ms. Caras played basketball and tennis. After high school, they both graduated and went their separate ways. She went to college in Kansas to continue playing tennis and he moved to Abilene for football.

During college, Mr. Cunningham transferred to the University of North Texas. Then, just as he put college on hold to enlist in the Marines, Ms. Caras realized she wanted to be closer to home to teach in Texas. This prompted her to enroll at none other than the University of North Texas. Mr. Cunningham said, “I felt like I needed to go into the military at that specific time in my life. It was a mix of emotions because I knew I was about to get into something where I would be risking my life, but defending my country.” The two missed each other once again, but they stayed in touch through social media while Mr. Cunningham served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ms. Caras graduated from college in the spring of 2010 and started teaching at Fisher Elementary that fall. Mr. Cunningham completed his time with the Marines and went back to school. One summer, his father (who works for the Frisco ISD) got him a maintenance job before going back to school.

The week before school started, Ms. Caras was preparing for her students to start the new semester and was going to in-service meetings. Out of all of the schools in Frisco, Mr. Cunningham walked into Fisher Elementary to do some work.

Immediately, her co-workers set out to play Cupid. Mr. Cunningham recalled that he was just minding his own business, painting the walls, and Ms. Caras’ friends started asking him if he was single. Ms. Caras walked in, recognized him and they hugged. She said, “My mind was not even thinking that I might run into my soul mate if I walked down to the office. It was the week before school was about to start and I was so stressed about getting my room put together for the first day of school.”

It was brief, but Ms. Caras thought she would make the best of an awkward situation. “She put me to work,” Mr. Cunningham laughed. Ms. Caras had some marks on the walls of her classroom, so she asked if he could paint them. They chatted as he worked, then again parted ways.

Later that night, Ms. Caras called a friend who urged her to date Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham said, “I knew this was something I needed to explore. Her beautiful personality and passion for kids immediately caught my attention!”

The couple’s first date was at Dodie’s. They spent the evening dancing and before they knew it, the spark had ignited. While they were dating, they enjoyed being active together, participating in various sports and doing almost anything outdoors.

In September of 2014, Mr. Cunningham finally popped the question. He planned every detail and even rehearsed with Ms. Caras’ parents. He said the plan fit perfectly with her passion for teaching. He orchestrated things so both of their families could join in on the celebration. Ms. Caras’ father, Dave, took the job of hiding so he could take pictures and video the occasion. Ms. Caras’ father said, “It was one of the most stressful days of my life. Nothing could go wrong and a few things did. Everything worked out great. There were lots of emotions, tears and happy feelings. I am so happy for my baby girl.” Mr. Cunningham said, “I was a nervous wreck.”

To pop the question, Mr. Cunningham had asked Ms. Caras to meet him early. He was dressed and ready to go the moment she arrived, determined to keep everything on schedule. Ms. Caras said he was usually more laid back, but he tried to explain it away with reservation times and not wanting to be late.

After a few bumps in the plan from the beginning of the night, they arrived in McKinney and went inside a hotel downtown to have drinks. Not long after they arrived, Mr. Cunningham insisted that they needed to get to dinner. “Why are we in such a rush?” Ms. Caras wondered.

A horse-drawn carriage offered to take them for a ride to the restaurant. Little did Ms. Caras know, but Mr. Cunningham had arranged everything in advance. The driver was alerted to ask specific questions, prompting Ms. Caras to talk about her teaching career. Then, the driver suggested that they visit the historic McKinney school grounds. In spite of the amount of planning that had taken place, the driver took the wrong route. Thankfully, everyone scrambled and still managed to surprise Ms. Caras!

When they arrived at the school grounds, Ms. Caras found a basket waiting for her on the porch of the school. In the basket was a champagne glass and a yellow rose with her engagement ring on it. Mr. Cunningham got down on one knee and Ms. Caras excitedly agreed to marry him. Family members came out from their hiding places and everyone celebrated together.

Today, the couple is busy working out last minute details for their wedding, which will be at Chapel Ana Villa in The Colony. They are excited about having the wedding close to home and look forward to the convenience of having the ceremony and reception at the same location.

Once they come back from their honeymoon, it will be time to establish their new routine as husband and wife. They said they are looking forward to traveling as a couple, spending time with their families and starting a family of their own, complete with three kids … give or take.

When asked if they had any advice about wedding planning, Ms. Caras said to “start early.” Mr. Cunningham added, “The process can be stressful, but you stand by your significant other, so it is all worth it.”

The couple has been warned that weddings never go according to plan, but they know it is about their love for each other, so they can let the little problems go. “It is not about the party, even though that will be fun. It is about our love,” Ms. Caras said.

Now that the couple’s paths have officially intertwined and their timing has worked out perfectly, they are ready for everything that is to come. They are excited to see what fate and timing has in store for their future, in Frisco and beyond.

Christi Redfearn is a wife, mom and Aggie in search of that perfect lap time in her weekend race car.