A Chapel story: Where love and
dreams come true for all brides
The Chapel at Caliber Oak is a dream that began somewhere in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s. We were married in 1986 at Perkins Chapel at SMU in Dallas, with a tremendous reception at the Belo Mansion on Ross Avenue. After moving to Salado, we purchased the property where the chapel is located in 1994.
As our 25th anniversary got closer and closer, we knew in our hearts that we wanted to have a chapel of our own to celebrate that milestone in our married lives. After several considerations and discussions, we were blessed with a team that started the framing of the chapel in January 2008. Just as the framing was beginning, we left for our tour of Israel with our beloved Fr. Charles Davis. Construction continued throughout 2008, 2009 and 2010.
On October 1, 2010, the chapel was officially finished…just in time for a major Scott and White Children’s Hospital fundraiser that netted $35,000 for the charity that year. To date, over $140,000 in charitable contributions has been raised at the chapel through various concerts, performances, fundraisers, events and celebrations. We couldn’t be happier with what God is doing every day at our very special place.
In July 2011, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a full, Catholic Mass celebrated by Fr. Larry Covington. Our renewal of vows was attended by 92 special guests, and Denise wore the same beautiful wedding gown she first wore to our 1986 wedding. Can you believe she looked even MORE beautiful … if that’s even possible?!?!
Rick & Denise ushered in nearly 100 brides & grooms in the Chapel at Caliber Oak from 2010 to 2015.
The path to Rustic Elegance
Construction of our blessed chapel was anything but conventional.
From the initial floorplan drawing on a piece of paper and the antique print of a chapel we modeled the building from (that still hangs in the main chapel bathroom), the facility grew beautifully – day by day in what was once a prickly pear cactus patch.
Our framing team’s truck GPS/compass was the tool used to place the ‘cross wall’ at the front of the chapel under the main stained glass window at ‘due East’ as is Christian tradition. The carpentry was beautifully crafted by Tim Wilson. Throughout the careful assembly of the chapel, our loving God provided amazing artifacts, materials, talent, patience and inspiration that all came together to create the magical blessing we enjoy today.
We would like to highlight some of our favorite features of the Chapel at Caliber Oak:
CHANDELIERED BRIDAL COURTYARD
The chandeliers adorning our bridal courtyard are special. The most special fixture, however, is the center light that was a generous 25th anniversary gift from Deputy Constable Wyatt Wetzel in 2011. This fixture is reported to be the original entry chandelier from the very first ballroom at Fort Hood in 1946. The solid brass and curved glass pendant – circa 1919 – it is thought to have been re-wired in 1946 for use as the entry chandelier to the newest and fanciest facility at Fort Hood. As a result, it’s likely that all the major military leaders of our time have walked beneath it. General George Patton and President Dwight Eisenhower are likely among them. Also probable pedestrians under its shadow include President and Mrs. J.F. Kennedy and even Elvis Presley, who performed in the ballroom four times during his tour of duty at Fort Hood.
All of the elements described in our chapel reflect our desire to preserve the past, create new memories and to make the gifts we have received from God available to thousands of other folks just like us. The happy faces, joyful tears and genuine laughter that have already graced so very many weddings, parties and events are a gift to us both, and a constant reminder that
He is with us and providing every step of the way!
THE FRONT DOORS of our chapel are from one of the original grocery stores in Granger, Texas. The doors are circa 1896, and have been repainted a warm shade of metallic pink, called ‘Taylor Pink’. The stained glass window at the top of the building over the front doors is a flea market find originally crafted in England. The date of this piece is approximately 1920.
THE HALL OF MIRRORS This cool design was inspired by a trip to Houston on our 23rd wedding anniversary. We stopped in an antique store on the way down, and saw a display of a variety of mirrors on a single wall. The idea appealed to us, and the count in our hall is well over 200 to date!
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
The pinnacle of the great room at the chapel is crowned with a very special stained glass window. This window, a gift from Mary Helen Schreiner, is reported to be a late 1800’s antique, which probably originated in New England. Thank you, Mary Helen!
ANTIQUE WOOD The chapel is resplendent with antique woods from all over Central Texas. A great example of this recycled history is in the green bathroom. Boards from Granger, Troy and Cameron line the walls, with floorboards from a reclaimed church in Davilla, Texas were used as facing for the closet doors!
KITCHEN CABINETS Our ‘South of France’ feel in the kitchen is one of our favorite elements at the chapel. The cabinets in this fun room dedicated to food are the store cabinets from the original Potts Hardware Store on the square in Belton, Texas that date from the late 1800’s.
PINK POWDER ROOM
Realizing that our charity and wedding events would need a little more bathroom capacity, our former wine tasting room became a powder room! Definitely unique in character, design and execution, this room reflects some pretty eclectic character. 7,440 wine corks on the wall, a vanity created from a steamer trunk that crossed the Atlantic sometime in the 1920’s, and a 1957 pink commode from a house in Waco all combine to create a bathroom experience like no other!
WAINSCOTING IN THE
Never being ones to waste anything, the wainscoting in the great room is actually the siding off of a post-WWII house in Holland, Texas, generously provided by Dr. Wally Dyke. The boards were removed one-by-one, turned vertically, re-measured, cut and installed to create a very warm and special look.
Welcome home, Brides & Grooms!
Once a year, we host a blessed gathering for our brides and grooms filled with wedding day stories, door prizes and a catered dinner. We have so much fun at our weddings that it gives us a chance to relive the experiences and spread the joy around. The photos above are from our 2015 celebration. We're adding so many couples that next year's homecoming will feature more flair
for our growing Caliber Oak family.
Come celebrate your 'Happily Ever After' at our Wedding Homecoming
Every year, we welcome back our brides and grooms for a Wedding Homecoming Night to celebrate the new additions to our Caliber Oak family. The video at left is a recap of one of our Wedding Homecomings. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more details on this fun annual event at the Chapel.
Slideshow by Jennifer Simmons. Find more of her work at www.myphotogal.com