Kimberli & Sam
Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by DC Stanley Photography
Kimberli Eve Bowman and Samuel Jack Bishop’s union proves that true love can sneak up on a couple when they least expect it! The Katy couple were married on June 13, 2015 by Houston attorney and spiritual scholar Mark Lanier at The Stone Chapel, followed by a joyous celebration at Northgate Country Club.
Kimberli is a New York native and graduated from Greenville (Illinois) High School and University at Buffalo in Amherst, New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is a business development consultant.
Sam graduated from Victoria (Texas) High School and earned a journeyman electrician certification as well as several other certifications. He is chief operating officer of LJ, LLC, a property management firm.
Introduction and First Date
Kimberli and Sam met in 2012 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. They were introduced by mutual acquaintances as “the friend from New York” and “the alligator wrestler.” Of course, Kim asked Sam how he became an alligator wrestler, to which he responded, “Well, really because the race car driving was beginning to take up too much of my time.” She laughed and said, “Okay, I’ll bite… so you’re a race car driver?” Sam replied, “Yes, because the bull riding was getting to be too hard on my body.”
Kimberli thought this was either the best pick up line she’d ever heard or Sam was the coolest guy she knew. They went out the following night and enjoyed music at clubs on the rodeo grounds, followed by a seemingly never-ending conversation at the Armadillo Palace. Kimberli learned that Sam really was a cowboy, race car driver and alligator wrestler…and a generous tipper. Suffice it to say, she was smitten – and so was he.
For three years the pair timed their relationship around weekends, but talked on the phone for at least an hour every evening. They spent time at Sam’s ranch in south Texas and on his grandfather’s boat on the Atlantic Ocean off the Maine coast. They also traveled frequently to New York and went to Las Vegas for Kimberli’s birthday, among other adventures.
October 31, 2014 was a lovely fall day along the Texas coast. Sam prepared to teach Kimberly how to fish off the pier and went back for some fishing gear. Kimberli stood on the dock watching the sun sink below the water line. She heard him return, but was mesmerized by the view. He said nothing and just waited on his knee for her to turn around. When she did, he had a ring in hand and asked her to marry him. Sam recalls “the longest recorded response time” before Kimberli collected herself and said yes!
The couple faced seven-and-a-half months of crazy and joyous wedding planning, and during this time they settled in Katy. The bride’s parents, who live in Spring, as well as the bride’s aunt, Jen Evans, helped make the dream wedding a reality. Two of the bride’s best friends, who would each be in her wedding, got engaged about the same time. They threw parties for each other and also shared a bachelorette weekend in New Orleans.
Kimberly envisioned an elegant, traditional and glamorous ceremony. She fell in love with Stone Chapel, an ethereal replica of a sixth century Byzantine chapel built by Mark Lanier.
Attire: The bride’s “something old” was her mother’s cathedral length Spanish Mantilla veil purchased in Niagara Falls, New York in 1969. It complimented her “something new” — a classic V-neck, sleeveless, ivory matte satin Pronovias gown with pockets that made her feel like Grace Kelly! A cinched, ruched waist and Swarovski crystal belt accented the full pleated skirt and perfect bow with long tails in back. A cathedral train later transitioned into a French bustle for the reception, creating an illusion of a blushing bride simply floating across the dance floor. Her “something borrowed” was a $20 bill tucked into her bouquet by a family friend just as she entered the church. Her “something blue” was a pair of navy blue satin peep toe shoes by Caparros with a gorgeous brioche accent. The matron of honor placed “I Do” sparkly stickers on the arch of the soles.
Bridesmaids wore navy blue silky taffeta strapless floor length gowns with ruched waistlines, and jewelry and gold shoes of their own choosing.
The groom wore a black Calvin Klein tuxedo with a notched lapel and satin trim on the jacket, with a white shirt, navy blue paisley vest and tie, black patent leather shoes and red socks completing the ensemble. Groomsmen wore black Calvin Klein tuxes with notched lapel and satin trim, with navy blue vests and ties, white shirts, black socks and black patent leather shoes.
Bridal Party: Mark Lanier officiated the wedding in front of 220 guests. In attendance were the bride’s parents, Beverly and Max Bowman; the mother of the groom, Marjorie Bishop, who resides in Texas; and father of the groom, Timothy Bishop, who resides in Maine.
Matron of honor Catherine Kelsey Novosad served with bridesmaids Amy Ellis, Laura Schaub, Meta Marin and Kimberly Rawson. The bride’s niece Hannah Grace Bowman served as flower girl.
Best man Ricky Zack served with groomsmen Samuel S. Bishop, Timothy Bishop, George Bishop and Bryce Bowman. Ushers included Cole Evans, Dylan Hamel, Adam Hatfield and Michael Hatfield.
Floral and Décor: Lanterns, candles and tall candelabras adorned the chapel, which, true to its name, is built entirely of stone with giant arched windows leading up to hand-painted ceiling cupolas brilliantly depicting stories from the Bible.
Top Wedding Moments: The bride’s mother helped her into her dress, and her father spent a special 30 minutes with her prior to the ceremony. A string quartet played a mix of traditional and pop music as guests arrived. The groom and groomsmen walked in to the strings playing “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. Soloist Clark Robison sang “One Hand, One Heart” from West Side Story to complete the prelude and begin the processional.
The groom was emphatic that he did not want to see his bride until the giant wooden doors of the chapel opened and her father walked her down the aisle. When the doors opened, the bride’s eyes adjusted to the
sunlight, and she saw her groom’s face and smiles from her wedding party, as well as guests.
The bride’s aunt and uncle read scripture and poetry during the ceremony. Her mother and Clark Robison sang a duet of the “Wedding Prayer” while the couple lit a unity candle. Mark Lanier read a list of five things the couple had written about the other, which caused laughter, gasps and a precious moment when each spouse reacted to what their beloved said.
The celebration at Northgate Country Club was themed in hues of navy and gold accents. Navy was a choice in honor of Sam’s blue eyes. The gold emphasized the country club’s old world elegance.
Floral and Décor: The venue was filled with magnificent flower arrangements of blue and white hydrangeas and white roses. Gold charger plates and navy napkins on champagne linens were set against a backdrop of floor to ceiling windows, green trees and gorgeous gold chandeliers.
Coordinating centerpieces and large mirrors adorned tabletops, and the head table seating 25 boasted five unique floral arrangements. The menu was printed on shimmery blue paper and placed at the head of each place setting. It included a special note to guests letting them know that they were among the most valuable people walking the face of the earth. A silver platter served as the guest book and is now displayed in the couple’s home.
The Cake: The bottom of the two-tier round cake was iced in blue with diamond quilted butter cream and gold sugar pearls. The top tier was decorated in gold and white striped butter cream icing with a very thin navy blue ribbon tied around the middle. The feathered rose cake topper was created by a family friend.
Top Reception Moments: DJ Johnny J packed the dance floor. The addition of lounge seating in the middle of the room was a hit with guests who needed to catch their breath! Props were placed around the venue for anyone wanting to take fun selfies and post them to #finallybishop.
The couple danced to Maroon 5’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Father and daughter danced to Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl.” Mother and son danced to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” which finished with both engaged in a energized air guitar exchange! The whole room watched as the bride’s parents danced to “Honkey Tonk BaDonka Donk.”
The Exit: The newlyweds ran down the winding staircase as guests waved glow sticks. They hopped into a waiting car chauffeured by dear friends, forgetting to bring a bottle of champagne. Thankfully, a valet rounded up a bottle and two glasses!
Mr. and Mrs. Bishop spent one week at the resort Riviera Maya. But first, the bride forgot to pack two items for the trip to Mexico. So the chauffeur stopped at an H-E-B in The Woodlands, and the couple, still in their wedding finery, joined other midnight shoppers for 15 minutes of hilarity before finally making it to the hotel!