MEMORABLE WEDDINGS – Kayla and Tim
Text by Melanie Saxton
Wedding Photos by Shelby Tsika, Shelby Tsika Photography
A damsel in distress and a chivalrous Texas A&M University Corpsman met by chance at Spence Park in College Station. Little did they know this encounter would become a prelude to matrimony, complete with a romantic spring proposal under the Century Tree!
Kayla McDaniel attended Cinco Ranch High School and will graduate this year from Texas A&M with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology, specializing in motor behavior. She is employed as a physical therapy technician at Peak Performance in Motion and plans to attend graduate school to become a doctor of physical therapy. Timothy Wilcox attended Otto-Hahn Gymnasium in Landau, Germany and earned a bachelor of science degree in geology at Texas A&M. He is an ensign with the U.S. Navy.
First Date And Courtship
On April Fool’s Day in 2015, Kayla went running at Spence Park wearing an armband filled with cash that her friend had just repaid for a spring break trip. Unfortunately, the cash was lost when Kayla pulled out her cell phone. Worse, it was raining! Fortunately, a gallant group of “Corps guys” were working out nearby and were only too happy to help Kayla and her roommate search for the scattered bills.
One Corpsman in particular, Tim, became smitten with Kayla’s beauty. Fortunately, he was able to locate $20 of the missing money. “You can only have it if you go on a date with me,” said the hopeful suitor-to-be. Kayla noticed that the bill he presented was dry, while other bills were wet from the rain. Hesitantly, she swapped phone numbers and agreed to join “Twenty Dollar Tim” for an Italian dinner the next evening. The date went better than she imagined. To this day, Tim insists he really did find the money despite what anyone might think!
For the rest of the semester, throughout summer, and into the following fall, Kayla and Tim stayed in contact and dated. In October, just before attending the Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball, they became an exclusive couple. Soon Tim began thinking about how to pop the question Aggie style.
On March 30, 2016, Tim invited Kayla to dinner at Rudder Tower on the Texas A&M campus. But instead of entering the restaurant, he ushered her into a new season of life. A school tradition dating back to the 1890s states that a proposal under the Century Tree ensures a marriage will last forever, and that’s precisely where Tim proposed. He orchestrated the event beautifully, complete with friends and family as witnesses. The support from their loved ones made the next step in their relationship even more meaningful.
During the next four months, the couple adopted a German Shepherd puppy, Ava, from the Aggieland Humane Society. One week later, Tim left for his final geology field training in Montana. Upon his return a month later, the couple enjoyed weekend getaways at South Padre Island, floated the Guadalupe River, and went to Schlitterbahn… all with Ava, of course.
Kayla was treated to a “Miss to Mrs.” bridal shower. The couple posed for both formal and athletically themed engagement photos taken at the Texas A&M obstacle and endurance course, a venue chosen by the groom. Kayla took 16 semester hours while working full time over the summer. The week of her summer school final exams was also the week that Tim graduated from Texas A&M and was commissioned into the Navy as a officer. Less than a week later, they were walking down the aisle.
The couple exchanged vows on Aug. 18, 2016 amidst majestic stone, polished wood and a scenic landscape at the castle-inspired Stonecreek Hall at The Springs in Katy.
Floral and Décor: Sconce lighting created a soft ambiance against limestone walls, brightened by hues of navy and yellow, which symbolized the groom’s career path serving in the U.S. Navy, while also reflecting the warmth of a summer wedding. A wedding timeline chalkboard sign greeted guests as they made their way to the ceremony.
The bride’s nosegay was filled with sunflowers, yellow Alstroemeria, white roses, baby’s breath, and variegated pittosporum. Stems were wrapped in white ribbon adorned with small pearl buttons. Bridesmaids bouquets contained baby’s breath, yellow Alstroemeria, yellow button poms, and variegated pittosporum with yellow ribbon wraps. The groom’s boutonniere included yellow button poms, baby’s breath and variegated pittosporum.
Bridal Party: Pastor (and fellow Aggie) Jeffery H. Smith served as officiant. In attendance were father and mother of the bride, Kenneth McDaniel and Dr. Hale McDaniel, as well as father of the groom, Lieutenant Commander Dan Wilcox and stepmother Alli Wilcox, and mother of the groom Tiffany Grimm and stepfather Marc Grimm.
Lauren McDaniel stood as maid of honor with bridesmaids Erin McDaniel, Hannah Wilcox, Julie Hess, Meredith Ewing and Lindsay Davies. Best man Andrew Rogers stood with groomsmen Niklas Grimm, Connor Vokey, Brandon Young, Nicholas Janssen, Austin Jeter and Travis Beck.
Wedding Attire: The bride’s white form-fitting trumpet-shaped gown had a beaded torso and ribbon tied into a beautiful bow below the low-cut back. Buttons adorned the skirt down to the end of the long train. The veil had a scalloped, beaded edge and covered her face. Gianni Bini royal blue peep-toe ankle strap shoes, a U.S. Navy themed garter and pearl earrings gifted by the groom’s mother completed the ensemble. Bridesmaids wore navy blue knee-length lace dresses with semi-open backs and nude heels of their own choosing.
The groom wore U.S. Navy officer dress blues. Groomsmen wore black slacks, black belts, Calvin Klein steel micro-striped dress shirts and navy Bar III Riga dot-print ties.
Top Wedding Moments: During their “first look,” the couple stood back-to-back and read handwritten letters, and were amazed when a butterfly landed on the bride’s hand and then fluttered onto her bouquet despite the drizzly morning weather. Later, the bride and her father exchanged a special “pre-race” good luck handshake invented years before during the bride’s competitive swim meets. The ceremony began at 7 o’clock amid light mist as Pastor Smith shared the story of how the couple met on a rainy day in Spence Park. The drizzle stopped the second he finished the story.
Guests were greeted at the reception entrance with a chalkboard light-up sign and enjoyed “Watch our love brew” burlap bag favors filled with coffee beans. A personalized Navy cutting board and a decorative “Wilcox est. 2016” tile added custom touches to the décor. A dessert bar decorated with twine displayed childhood photos of the newlyweds. In lieu of a guest book, loved ones participated in games, which included a wish jar filled with notes and letters for the newlyweds to open on the designated anniversary. Baby’s breath centerpieces were displayed at tables decorated with beige napkins and navy linens.
The Cakes: The bridesmaids placed their six bouquets around the four-tiered, nearly naked wedding cake filled with raspberry preserves, lemon curd, chocolate with chocolate ganache, and chocolate butter cream. A double barrel focal tier was accented with a hand-painted panel gold bridal monogram. Fresh berries were accented with edible gold paint. The “Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox” sparkly gold cake topper was ordered from Greece. A large black and white canvas of the proposal under the Century Tree stood on an easel stood nearby. The groom’s unique cake was designed as a Navy PT workout log.
Dancing: The couple danced to True by George Strait, which segued into Just The Girl by the Click 5. Father and daughter danced to I Loved Her First by Tim McGraw. Mother and son danced to Close to You by the Carpenters. Guests hit the dance floor to upbeat music and enjoyed an Aggie specialty — line dancing!
The Exit: The couple’s top reception moment was the Aggie War Hymn send-off, followed by the realization that the marriage certificate had been left in the bridal suite. The bride called her father as the car turned around and passed lines of guests who were leaving.
The couple spent their wedding night at the Hyatt Regency-The Woodlands and planned to depart for the Majestic Colonial-Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic the following evening. But the bride had a severe allergic reaction and woke up itching from head to toe! Her husband rushed her to a 24-hour emergency clinic, where she received a steroid injection as well as a medical bracelet that displayed her new married name for the very first time. Finally, they arrived at their honeymoon destination and returned home just one day before the bride began her final spring semester at A&M.