A rehearsal dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s gave the wedding party a chance to sample some of the best fajitas and enchiladas in town. The following day, friends and family witnessed the Texas Christian University graduates exchanged rings at one of Fort Worth’s most iconic sanctuaries — the majestic University Christian Church adjacent to the couple’s alma mater. After the ceremony, the gathering traveled down the hill to dine and dance at another local favorite, the classically elegant Colonial Country Club.
“We just love the city — everything about Fort Worth,” gushed Carter, a Colleyville native. “Andrew fell in love with it too.”
Her new husband, a transplant from Henderson, Texas, moved here to attend TCU and never left. Many of the 220 guests attending the couple’s August 20, 2016 nuptials lodged at the Worthington Hotel near another celebrated spot--Sundance Square.
“We gave them gift bags with information about all the essential Fort Worth places like The Stockyards and the Reata,” the bride added. “They enjoyed exploring our city.”
Three years before tying the knot, Carter and Andrew met on a blind date at a popular Cowtown burger joint—Rodeo Goat.
“I thought she was pretty,” Andrew says remembering the moment he set eyes on the petite blonde. “I enjoyed talking with her and we were both huge fans of TCU — especially football.”
Two years later, the pair got engaged over dinner at Grace restaurant in downtown Fort Worth, “because it’s one of the first places we went on a real date,” he continues.
Andrew told his father and future father-in-law about his plans but the proposal was a surprise to everyone else — including the restaurant staff.
“I was afraid someone would blurt out something by mistake,” the 29-year-old says revealing the need for secrecy.
He had the princess cut, solitaire diamond ring in his pocket and waited for the right moment.
“But I got nervous and just popped the question,” Andrew admits. “I think I caught her totally off guard.”
The waiter presented his newly engaged customers with a bottle of champagne.
“When we were done with it, they gave us back the empty bottle. All the employees used silver and gold Sharpies to write comments of congratulations to us,” the future groom remembers. “It was a great souvenir of the evening.”
What happened to the special memento seemed to forecast the string of hiccups and difficulties that would plague the wedding.
“After dinner, we went out to celebrate and left it at the Flying Saucer in a bag with some food,” Carter explains. “I called the next day but it had been thrown out.”
Their long, 18-month engagement gave Andrew time to finish graduate school and allowed Carter to iron out the details involved in hosting a large wedding.
Venues were selected and the color scheme decided when the first snag threatened to unravel the couple’s dream wedding. Twelve months before the event, a Colonial manager called to say the club could not honor its contract because of remodeling plans.
Carter’s disappointment changed to relief a few weeks later when she discovered the refurbishing project was put on hold.
“We called and our date was still open,” she recalls. “We got very lucky.”
Hoping to create a look that was both timeless and formal, the bride-to-be chose the striking contrast of black and white for her wedding colors. The gown, purchased at Brides and Beaux in Colleyville, was a strapless, ivory over nude fit and flare by Maggie Sottero. It featured exquisite lace with dazzling Swarovski crystals and a sweetheart neckline. The skirt swept into a chapel length train and was matched in length by a simple veil, trimmed with beading. The future heirloom was borrowed from her sister-in- law.
Carrying on a family tradition, the bride wore a necklace and earrings worn by Andrew’s grandmother on her wedding day. The all-white bridal bouquet was a hand-tied arrangement of hydrangeas and roses.
For her six attendants, the bride selected strapless, full-length dresses fashioned in black lace. They carried smaller, white bouquets.
Tatum Wallach, the bride’s niece and flower girl, walked down the aisle of the church holding the family Bible. Her black and white striped frock was custom-made. The bride’s nephew, Knox Wallach, served as ring bearer.
Black tuxedos and ties were worn by the groomsmen. The groom sported the same black tux with a white vest and bowtie. White boutonnieres accessorized their lapels.
Reverend Gilbert Davis officiated the ceremony. The retired pastor of University Christian Church is the grandfather of a close friend.
“The church is beautiful but Rev. Davis is the main reason why we wanted to get married there,” Andrew explains.
A buffet dinner was served at the reception. Entrees included roast turkey, chicken friend steak, and smoked salmon with assorted vegetables and salads. Offering a delicious twist on everyone’s favorite comfort food, a macaroni and cheese bar catered to different palates.
“One of the reasons we picked the Colonial was the full service it provides,” the groom points out. “Instead of hiring different vendors, they took care of everything from the catering to the silverware on the table.”
To impress the crowd watching their first dance, Carter and Andrew took dancing lessons. They chose the song, “Mean to Me” by Brett Eldredge for their first whirl on the dance floor because they liked the lyrics.
Friends and family danced until midnight to a mix of rock, top 40 and country tunes played by the band, Chinatown. Musicians were chosen over a disc jockey because, “we wanted a band that would get the party going,” Andrew says.
A highlight of the evening was the appearance of Super Frog, the TCU mascot, who danced and posed for pictures at the reception dressed in a familiar purple sports jersey.
There were plenty of other nods to duo’s beloved alma mater. Guests received a customized pair of TCU purple sunglasses inscribed with the wedding date and hashtag #kickofftokangerga. The school’s distinct emblem also decorated the bride’s five-tier, white on white wedding cake.
A real conversation starter was the groom’s table where a Texas-shaped cake, covered with the Lone Star flag made from icing, featured a small replica of TCU’s Frog Tower — complete with blue gel to resemble pooling water.
After walking through a flurry of bubbles, generated by guests at the end of the evening, the new Mr. and Mrs. Kangerga left the reception for a honeymoon at the Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia.
A year later, Carter and Andrew look back on the day and only remember the joy of celebrating with loved ones. Mishaps that almost marred the occasion are now a distant memory.
“Were there any problems? Only if you call the bus getting into two minor accidents on the way to the church with the groom onboard a problem!” Carter says with a laugh.
When the wedding party emerged at the end of the ceremony, there was no bus waiting to take them to the reception.
“We were about to call for an Uber ride when we found a different bus parked around the corner with a new driver,” she adds.
And there were other near disasters.
As they dressed for the wedding, the groomsmen were locked outside their room requiring hotel management to saw off the latch on the door. Then the band played the wrong music for the father/daughter and mother/son dances—a mistake made by the newlyweds in the rush of last minute details.
But all that paled in comparison to the worst fate that could befall a bride on her wedding day. At the start of the reception, someone spilled red wine on Carter’s stunning designer gown.
Thanks to the wedding coordinator’s quick thinking and a bottle of club soda, the stain came out.
The bride found humor in the situation.
“I wasn’t a bridezilla and don’t stress easily. They got the wine out and I thought everything else that happened was pretty funny.”
Her advice to others: Enjoy every part of your wedding, even if something goes wrong.
“Find the humor in a situation and you’ll have some really good stories to tell when it’s all over,” she says. “We do.”