Jennifer Wilmes and Lloyd McGuire met as students at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. They started out as friends but began dating when Jennifer was a junior and Lloyd was a senior. After graduating Lloyd, 28, headed to South Carolina for law school and Jennifer, 27, went to Boston for a graduate degree in nutrition. There were a few breakups and makeups, but the pair got back together for good in the spring of 2006. “We love to envision and talk about our future,” says Jennifer, a dietitian. “And whenever we do, we’re always married.”
They’d gone ring shopping together this spring, so needless to say, Jennifer was ready for the big surprise from Lloyd. “I’d been getting my nails done every week just in case, ” she says. But the week before Memorial Day weekend, she skipped the manicure. Jennifer and Lloyd were heading to Texas to see both of their families and to go to a friend’s wedding. “Surely not the time or place for a proposal,” Jennifer thought. What she didn’t know was that Lloyd had designed a ring, and it was en route to his parents’ ranch in time for the long weekend.
“It was the absolute soonest date I could propose after the ring had been constructed,” says Lloyd, a Marine officer and lawyer. “I had the ring sent overnight to my sister, who then hand-delivered it to me in Texas only hours before I proposed. After dating for roughly six years, I wanted to wait no longer.” His parents, sister, and a few family friends were all in on the plans. “All of them fully knew what was in store,” Jennifer says. “I had positively no inkling.”
On Saturday, he spent most of the day fishing with his dad while she hung out with his mom and sister. Just before dinner, Jennifer suggested they take a walk and spend some time together. “Jackpot!” Lloyd thought. Says Jennifer: “Completely oblivious, I followed him to the bridge that overlooks a beautiful lake and rolling grass pastures.” Little did she know he had the ring in his pocket and his family was stationed outside with binoculars, trying to catch a glimpse of what was to come.
They had talked in the past about a possible ranch wedding, so when they were on the bridge, Jennifer asked Lloyd if he was sure he didn’t want to get married there. He jumped on the opportunity. He told her he didn’t want to get married there but then asked her how she felt about getting engaged there. And then he got down on one knee.
“I said variations of ‘No, you’re not’ repeatedly in between fits of laughter,” she says. “I was completely thrown off and couldn’t believe he was serious. Once the disbelief wore off, I was thrilled and blissful. After a flurry of shock and celebration, we went back to the house where his family had Champagne waiting.”
When: Saturday, January 3, 2009.
Where: Ceremony at Foundry United Methodist Church, reception at Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Colors: Dark blue, white, and gold.
Music: Latin guitar band for the cocktail hour and DJ for the reception.
Dessert: Cake flavors are still being decided, but they’ll definitely serve fresh berries with whipped cream, Jennifer’s favorite.
Honeymoon: Lloyd’s planning it—and it’s a surprise for Jennifer.
First date: At Mother’s Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant in Austin. Says Jennifer: “Even back in his college fraternity days, Lloyd always loved sharing healthy food with me.”
First impression: “He was quiet and liked video games,” Jennifer says. Lloyd says, “I thought she was a little young and immature the first time I saw her. It was probably because she had braces.”
Most romantic thing Jennifer’s done for Lloyd: “She’s supported my dreams and made me a better person.”
Most romantic thing Lloyd’s done for Jennifer: “Once, when we were traveling, Lloyd got upgraded to first class and arranged it so I could have his first-class seat while he sat in coach.”
Favorite date spot: Their kitchen, Jennifer says. “Cooking dinner together at home and sharing a bottle of wine.”
Silliest fight: Over the remote control, Lloyd says. “Unfortunately, I am the standard loser as I have watched more food, decorating, and clothing-design shows than I care to admit.” Over clothing, Jennifer says: “Once I got enraged with Lloyd because he picked a suit and tie for a wedding that clashed with the dress I wanted to wear.”
When Lloyd knew they were meant to be: “When I realized I almost lost my chance of being with her.”
When Jennifer knew they were meant to be: “When I realized that even though Lloyd and I butt heads sometimes, we never get sick of each other.”
The sweetest nickname: Jennifer is Peep; Lloyd is Baby Eagle.
One thing others would be surprised to know about Jennifer: “There is nothing she cannot do if she sets her mind to it,” Lloyd says.
One thing others would be surprised to know about Lloyd: “He loves musicals and the correlating soundtracks.”
What guests will see as the couple’s personal stamp on the wedding: For Lloyd, it’ll be the Marine arch of swords as they leave the church. For Jennifer, it’s seafood at the reception. “I’m a seafood-specific dietitian and have a seafood blog.”
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