Celebrations/Weddings | Local | Weddings

When THA first graders reconnect after years apart, it’s love at first sight

Newlyweds Grace Kolack and Daniel Louchheim (Steven Palm)
Marcia and Rabbi Thomas Louchheim with the groom, Daniel Louchheim (Steven Palm)

Grace Kolack, daughter of Marque Kolack of Naples, Florida, and Janice Wilson of  Tucson, and Daniel Louchheim, son of Thomas and Marcia Louchheim of Tucson, were married April 29, 2018, at La Mariposa Resort with Rabbi Thomas Louchheim and Cantor Janece Cohen officiating. The maid of honor was Bailey Decker, and Lucinda Hubbs and Katie Louchheim, the groom’s sister, were bridesmaids. The best man was Scott Boling, with the groom’s brothers, Jacob and Benjamin Louchheim, serving as groomsmen.

The couple honeymooned in June, taking a three-week cruise called “Rhine and Viking Shores and Fjords,” beginning on a river cruise ship in Basel, Switzerland. They traveled north on the Rhine, ending in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, they boarded an ocean cruise liner, and went out on the North Sea to various places in Norway, ending in Bergen. “From Bergen we flew to Iceland, and spent four days on land, touring the highlights of the country. It was an incredible trip,” says the bride.

They are currently living in Grenada, West Indies, where Grace is studying medicine at St. George’s University School of Medicine. Daniel plans to continue online courses until they return to the United States.   

Ages: We are both 25.

How they met: Daniel and I began our story at Tucson Hebrew Academy in the first grade, but my family relocated to Florida only a few years later. The most I remembered of him from those days was the extremely large Bucharian kippah that he wore, and he recalled that I had long hair and absolutely refused to wear shoes (not much has changed). We reconnected briefly on social media during high school, but soon moved on to college and continued with our separate lives. I ultimately decided to move back to Tucson to pursue my undergraduate degree, but our true reunion did not come until my mom and I coincidentally became members of Daniel’s father’s congregation, Or Chadash. When Daniel moved back to Tucson two summers ago from college in New York, we met in person for the first time since elementary school at an annual congregational event, “Jews at the Zoo.” We oohed and awed at the baby elephant, shooed the peacocks away, and exchanged numbers before the night was over.

The proposal: Daniel’s proposal to me was not only a huge surprise, but a beautifully planned, romantic, and wonderful evening. Daniel proposed to me atop the Eiffel Tower —that is, the one in Las Vegas overlooking the Bellagio fountains and all the city lights. We were in Las Vegas for his younger brother’s 21st birthday, but arrived with his parents one day before everyone else. They reserved a fabulous dinner for us at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, and afterward bought tickets for us to take the elevator to the top of the tower. When we reached the top, we were with a large group of people, and it was difficult to get to the edge railing to see the view. Finally, most of the group decided to head down, and as I heard the boom of the Bellagio fountains, I was able to reach the railing for a beautiful light and water show. After watching only a couple of minutes, I felt a small tap on my back, and turned around to find no one standing behind me. Then I realized someone was kneeling in front of me; “How strange,” I thought, “Daniel wasn’t wearing lace-up shoes, what on earth is he doing down there?” And then it all struck me at once: his kind face beaming up at me, asking me to spend the rest of my life with him, and his parents weeping and filming from our side. The remaining people on the top of the tower with us broke into hushed whispers of “Look, he’s proposing!” and I felt as though my entire world suddenly made sense — I had found the one true person who made me complete, and he loved me as much as I love him. He was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him, and I could not imagine spending it any other way. So naturally, I said, or more like sobbed, yes. YES YES YES. I was presented with a gorgeous ring that Daniel designed himself, and we spent the rest of the evening and weekend on cloud nine, amazed that we had found each other (again), and that we could share the beauty of this life together, forever.

Wedding planning triumph (or challenge): When we began planning our wedding, we anticipated that the biggest challenge would be finding a venue that would be accommodating in terms of customizing the space and menu in the way that we wanted and needed. I have many severe allergies, and we needed a special menu and cake. I also had many ideas of personal things I wanted to incorporate into the decoration of the reception space, and many venues did not allow for such customization, or even for basic changes to the catering menu. We looked at many venues in Tucson and nothing seemed quite right until we visited La Mariposa Resort. As soon as we got there and saw the beautiful outdoor ceremony space and large, indoor reception room, we fell in love with the venue. Mariposa had a feeling like being “at home,” and we could easily see ourselves and our guests enjoying our big day there. After speaking with the manager about the accommodations we were looking for, it became clear that Mariposa was absolutely our venue. We ended up booking our date the same day, and had an amazing experience working with them. After finding the venue, the little details (although sometimes stressful), ultimately fell into place, and having a venue that was so dedicated to making the day what we wanted made everything so much easier. 

Special memories of the day: The most vivid and special memory I have of our wedding day was part of my journey up to the chuppah where we would say our vows. Our wedding venue supplied a carriage for weddings, for use by the bride and her parents, to transport us up to the beginning of the aisle. The carriage took a long route around the outskirts of the wedding party area, on the other side of a fence covered with greenery, and entered through a back path that could not be seen by the guests. As my parents and I clopped around the fence in the carriage and were mostly obscured by the trees and vines, I caught a glimpse of my groom and my soon-to-be father-in-law (our rabbi) standing under the chuppah, with huge smiles on their faces and so much warmth and love in their eyes. That moment melted every jitter and fear I had, and I forgot all about the stress of planning the wedding. Every worry that had seemed so important leading up to this big day just faded into the wind that ruffled the trees around my waiting groom. In that moment, I could see more than ever the beautiful family I was entering, and I could hardly wait for the carriage to reach the aisle so that I could be with him. As I found out after the wedding, this moment was also one of the most special and vivid moments of the day for my husband, and for much of our wedding party.

During the reception, Daniel told me that since our guests did not know about our use of the carriage for my entrance, the last thing they saw was me on the carriage, heading outside the venue, seemingly leaving! Although his family knew that was not the case, they all shared a funny moment when one of our front-row relatives stated (all in jest, of course), “I don’t think she’s coming.” The rest of wedding party had quite a good laugh, and much of the fear my husband had been feeling was lost as well (he knew that the carriage was going the right way). It was this moment of laughter that I had glimpsed through the trees — so, it seems that the carriage went a long way toward preparing both of us for our wedding ceremony, just in rather different ways!

Wedding attire:

Bride’s dress — Maya Palace, Tucson

Groom’s tuxedo ­­— custom made by Klein Epstein & Parker, Los Angeles, California

Florist: Posh Petals

Photographer: Steven Palm Photography

Caterer: La Mariposa Resort

Wedding cake:  Cakes by Genevieve 

Music: Eduardo Costa for ceremony and cocktail hour; Millennium Music Service for reception music