Finding Mr. Wright

Kayla Collins married Stuart Wright at the country club in Bethesda where they had their first date



THE COUPLE: Kayla Collins, 30, grew up in Germantown and graduated from Watkins Mill High School. She teaches Head Start for a county school in Gaithersburg. Stuart Wright, 32, grew up in Bethesda and graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. He’s a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch in Reston, Virginia. The couple had a daughter, Collins Wright, in April, and moved from Bethesda to Urbana in May.

HOW THEY MET: The couple met once in high school but didn’t connect until January 2009, when Kayla was a college senior and Stuart had already graduated. They were out at Tommy Joe’s in Bethesda with friends; one of Stuart’s friends also knew Kayla. “I went up and tried to talk to her because I was attracted to her, and it was very difficult to get anything out of her,” Stuart says. Kayla remembers wanting to spend time with her girlfriends, but as the night went on she and Stuart got to talking. “We went back to her friend’s apartment and then she kissed me,” he says.

THE FIRST DATE: Kayla and Stuart had dinner at Bethesda’s Congressional Country Club, where Stuart’s parents are members. Kayla was so nervous she could barely eat. “I had the cheeseburger and it was really messy and I was scarfing it down, and she just had like three bites of her salad,” Stuart says with a laugh. After dinner, they saw the Jim Carrey movie Yes Man.

THE PROPOSAL: In December 2014, Stuart surprised Kayla with a weekend trip to New York City. He’d considered proposing by the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, but one of his sisters warned him that it would be too crowded. Then he decided he’d propose over room-service breakfast, but when his alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., he realized that Kayla was already in the shower. That morning they went to Rockefeller Center, which was empty except for two security guards. Stuart decided he didn’t want to propose in front of strangers, so the couple headed to see a Today show taping, went to the Top of the Rock and had brunch at the Waldorf Astoria. “I was scared because I had the ring in my pocket in my jacket the whole day, so all I was thinking about was not losing it,” Stuart says. That afternoon, back at their hotel room, he got down on one knee. “He said a bunch of beautiful things that neither of us could remember even later that evening,” Kayla says. 

THE WEDDING: Kayla and Stuart were married on June 18, 2016, at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Bethesda. A reception followed at Congressional Country Club. Stuart is a triplet—both of his sisters’ weddings were featured on BethesdaMagazine.com in 2014—and one of his sisters had been married at Congressional. He and Kayla had always talked about having their wedding there. “We would go to the pool on Saturdays, and the dining room has a big patio area that looks over the pool so we would always go up and peek in on weddings going on,” Stuart says.
number of guests: 215

THE PLANNING: Kayla’s mom, who plans events for the company she works for, took on the role of wedding planner. “She was so excited that I was her only girl and she got to do this with me,” Kayla says. “Our routine was, I would call on my way into work and we would talk wedding for a half-hour, and then whatever we found during the day—if I was on Pinterest or something—I’d send her pictures or we’d talk about it.” The only thing the two disagreed on was the color of the ribbon to tie around the hotel welcome boxes. Kayla wanted pink; her mom wanted white. “I won,” Kayla says, laughing.

SOMETHING BLUE: Before the first of Kayla’s college girlfriend’s got married in 2010, friends gave the bride a robe to wear while getting ready for the wedding. The robe, which had the bride’s name and wedding date on it, has been passed to the next friend getting married, who wears it before her own wedding and adds her name and date (which are embroidered in blue lettering). Kayla was the seventh of the nine friends to wear the robe.

FAMILY PHOTOS: The couple wanted Kayla’s walk down the aisle to be the first time they saw each other, but Kayla planned a “first look” with her father and four brothers before the ceremony. “They closed their eyes and then they opened them and I was in front of them,” she says. “They gave me a hard time about [the idea] at first, but the pictures are great and I know it meant a lot to them.”

TRAFFIC, SCHMAFFIC: On the way to the ceremony from their hotel in North Bethesda, Kayla and her bridesmaids got stuck in Beltway traffic. Kayla was having so much fun on the small party bus that she didn’t even realize she was a half-hour late to her wedding.

THE GOWN: Kayla wore a white strapless ball gown-style dress by Maggie Sottero with gold threading and beads on top and a tulle bottom. She purchased it at Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection in Pikesville, Maryland.

THE DÉCOR: The couple chose pink and gold with lots of glitter and sparkles for their theme. They also had signs with script lettering, including one with their names as a cake topper.

PHOTO FUN: During the cocktail hour selfie sticks were on each table with a card that included the couple’s wedding hashtag—#KaylafoundMrWright—for guests to use when posting on Instagram and Facebook. They also had a customized Snapchat filter for guests to share photos during the event.

OOPS: “We had trouble cutting the cake,” Kayla says. “There was cardboard holding the tiers up and we cut too deep into it so it wouldn’t cut all the way through, but we figured it out and cut a piece to share.”

THE SEND-OFF: Kayla planned for guests to line up and wave ribbons as the newlyweds left the reception. “My idea was the two of us [would] go through together,” she says. But when Stuart got outside and saw the tunnel of guests, he took off without her. “He was all excited,” Kayla says. They left the reception in a 1952 Bentley. 

THE HONEYMOON: The couple spent a week at a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Their daughter, Collins, was “not quite a honeymoon baby, but close to a honeymoon baby,” Kayla says.

VENDORS: Catering and cake, Congressional Country Club; Flowers, Karen Kallmyer of Kallmyer’s Custom Florals; Hair and Makeup, JKW Beauty; Music, Millennium from Washington Talent Agency; Photography, Shandi Wallace; Stationery, Sincerely Yours 

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