Meet Mr. and Mrs. Babcock
Tommy Babcock and Morgan Walz first met each other at the wedding of her cousin Nicole and his best friend Joe. The two connected on the dance floor where Morgan persistently asked Tommy to dance with her.
“I won him over with my awesome robot dance moves,” Morgan said with a laugh! “And I loved his contagious smile.”
Tommy added, “Morgan’s blue eyes and sense of humor, along with her determination to dance with me was what initially attracted me to her.”
Much of their relationship took place long distance and over time. Morgan was working to complete her nursing degree in Rapid City, SD, while Tommy was in school in the Twin Cities.
“We talked every single day; you could say that distance made our hearts grow fonder,” Morgan shared.
She made frequent trips to Minnesota with Tommy and his family, while Tommy came to Iowa when Morgan was home with her family.
Without Morgan knowing, Tommy planned an extravagant engagement celebration on their upcoming ski trip to Colorado. Morgan’s parents had been engaged in Keystone, CO, so Tommy wanted to create something similar. He planned to have their families watching at the bottom of the ski hill, while he asked her to marry him at the top.
However, plans fell through!
When Tommy and Morgan arrived in Colorado, they had only been there three hours before discovering all the ski resorts were closing due to COVID-19 concerns. With plans turned upside down, the couple decided to drive all the way back to Forest Lake, MN to be around family. The next day, on March 16, 2020, Tommy asked Morgan to go for a hike to Taylor’s Fall.
“I have to say I was a bit weirded out when Tommy called it a date but also invited his younger brother Charlie to go along on the hike,” Morgan remembered.
They brought their dogs Lola (Morgan’s dog) and Lana (Tommy’s dog) and set out on a hike through fresh snow on the ground. As they reached a beautiful lookout, Tommy asked Morgan to take a picture.
“I instantly thought, that’s weird. Tommy hates pictures!” she said.
As Morgan posed for the picture, Tommy got down on one knee, and his brother got it all on video.
“It turned out better than anything that I had previously planned,” Tommy said.
Planning for the Special Day
One of the first things Morgan did was begin looking for the perfect wedding gown. Her aunts, cousins, grandma, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law went with her, and they visited Our Shop Bridal in Woodbury, MN.
“The dress I picked was because of the texture and floral lace pattern,” Morgan shared. “I hadn’t seen one quite like it before, but it’s exactly what I had pictured myself wearing on my wedding day!”
The couple’s theme was a mixture of rustic elegance, and the colors for the special day were navy blue, gold, and desert rose. Tommy and his groomsmen and ushers wore JF J Ferrar sport suits in navy blue with gold ties purchased from JcPenney’s.
Morgan really appreciated advice from Tommy’s older sister, Ari, who had gotten married two years prior. She also received help from her mother-in-law Lori, her dad’s significant other Stephanie Wheatley and her aunts.
“I was so blessed by all my help. I also learned throughout the planning process that many different things are going to go wrong on the big day, but NOBODY notices,” she shared. “Hang on to each and every moment and soak it all in with the one you love!”
The Wedding Day
While much of the special day was focused on the couple, they found special ways to also remember Morgan’s mother Joy, who passed away from cancer on February 16, 2015. On the morning of August 7, 2021, Morgan arrived at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milford, IA. Waiting for her was Stephanie, her father John’s significant other, who had a special tribute from her mother waiting for her.
“My mom loved Dr. Pepper, so she had a Dr. Pepper waiting for me with a floral charm of my mom, as well as daises and my parent’s wedding picture,” Morgan said. “Steph had a tough role of not overstepping but still being supportive, and she did it so awesome. It meant the world to me!”
The church itself was also special, as this was where Morgan’s parents John and Joy were married. “As well as my grandparents John and Tuttie Willison, great grandparents Cliff and Alvena Willison and other aunts and uncles,” Morgan shared.
Before Tommy came to the church that morning, he made a special trip to the cemetery to visit with Joy before marrying Morgan. “It meant the world to me,” Morgan said.
The bridal party’s hair was done by the Zen Hair team of Alyssa and Courtney, while Okoboji Skin Care: Caitlyn Berger, Dallas Dotson, and Kelsey Caldwell did the group’s make-up.
Hy-Vee Floral created the wedding parties' bouquets and provided flowers for the elegant arrangements. One creation included a blue handkerchief from Morgan’s Great Grandma Florence Sander. Danette Tolan created the beautiful cake.
“Everyone took our vision and made it a reality,” Morgan said. “They gave us exactly what we had dreamed and more for our day! It’s a day we will never forget!”
At 11 a.m., Tommy saw Morgan for the first time!
“I was speechless! I couldn’t form any words when I turned around and saw Morgan,” he said.
Wedding party and family pictures were taken by talented local photographer Courtney Bolluyt and videographer was Cole Jackson.
The ceremony began at 2 p.m., with Father Brian Hughes officiating. The musicians were Cane Junkman as pianist and Johnny Sandy as Cantor.
The ring portion of the ceremony was extra special because of the rings themselves. Morgan’s ring was a gift given to her by her mom before she passed, while Tommy’s wedding ring was his grandfather Miller's on his mom’s side.
“My grandpa is still living but wanted me to have it,” Tommy shared. “It is really special.”
After the ceremony, some of the Babcock guests enjoyed a ride on the Queen II on West Lake Okoboji.
The reception was held under a vaulted tent at Morgan’s grandparents farm near Milford, which is one of her favorite places on earth. “I have so many special memories at the farm with my cousins,” she said.
Morgan heard about a wrinkle in the venue after the wedding. The night before, on Aug. 6, the area experienced a storm and received a lot of rain. The excess began collecting on top of the tent.
“My grandpa had to go out at 3 a.m. with a broom and push all of the rain off and release the tension from the rain pooling,” Morgan said.
Her aunt and cousins from Louisiana were also there, who then helped rake in new gravel so the ground under the tent wouldn’t be a huge mud pit.
“It was crazy! They worked on it almost until the start of the wedding, and nobody told us beforehand because they didn’t want to stress us out,” she added.
The dinner was catered by Hy-Vee, and the wedding party used Morgan’s parent’s fine China as their dinnerware. The first dance started at 6:45 p.m., with another memorable moment included. Tommy’s parents, Marv and Lori Babcock lined up butterflies to be released during the couple’s first dance.
“My mom and I always had special memories raising Monarch Butterflies together. Ever since she passed in 2015, I have had a strong presence of butterflies surrounding me,” Morgan shared.
Morgan’s father John and her grandparents helped release the butterflies during the dance. “It was so special and a beautiful tribute to my mom at our wedding,” she added.
The wedding guests completed the celebration with pizza and fireworks once dark hit.
“Watching all of the people you love interact with other family and friends on both sides of the parties, who would have otherwise never met, is a special occasion,” Tommy and Morgan both said. “Having every person, we love all in one place is a once in a lifetime experience.”
Beginning Life Together
Now creating a home together in Minnesota, Tommy is working as a pilot and Morgan is a nurse. They are planning their honeymoon this January in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Advice they’d give to other couples is to schedule a time and day weekly or monthly to both sit down and plan together.
“Continue to go above and beyond for your partner,” Tommy said.
Morgan added, “Stay true to lots of date nights! Keep dating each other! And men, just say ‘YES HONEY!’”
Groom: Thomas Babcock
Bride: Morgan Walz
Groom's Family: Lori and Marvin Babcock, Charlie Babcock, Ariana Miron, Glen Miron
Bride's Family: John Walz, Joy Walz (Passed away 2-16-2015), Stephanie Wheatley, JP Walz, Wesley Walz
Bridesmaids: Ariana Miron, Nicole Jackson, Kari Kramer, Kelli Kramer, Caitlin Wonnenberg
Flower Girls: Isabel Ramirez, Vivian DeCourcy
Groomsmen: Charlie Babcock, Glendon Miron, Joe Jackson, Noah Driscoll, Brandon Nelson
Personal Attendants: Jill Kramer, Jenna Ramirez
Officiant: Father Brian Hughes
Photographer: Courtney Bolluyt
Videographer: Cole Jackson
Florist: Hy-Vee Floral, Erika
Cake: Danette Tolan
Hair: Zen Salon, Alyssa and Courtney
Reception Location: Willison Family Farm. Where Morgan’s Grandma and Grandpa Willison live.
Wedding Location: St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Milford, IA
Musicians: Cane Junkman, Pianist and Johnny Sandy, Cantar
Caterer: Hy-Vee Catering, Toni
Make-up: Okoboji Skin Care, Caitlyn Berger, Dallas Dotson, and Kelsey Caldwell
Wedding theme/colors: Navy Blue, Gold, and Desert Rose
Bridal Gown: Our Shop Bridal, Woodbury, MN
Groom Suit: JcPenney
Same Day Coordinator:
Bartender: Tony Untiedt