Mike Elkins and Montie Smith’s Wedding


“Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can’t help Falling in Love with you!”

Marriage License - Bride and Groom - Weddings by Tirzah - Belton Texas

Typically, it is the Couple’s Wedding Vision that comes together into a magical day; however, this was a Surprise Wedding!! The Couple set the date, chose the officiants, and selected the venue, but it was the Bride’s best friends or rather sisters by heart that planned the wedding for Mike Elkins and Montie Smith; the rest of the details were a complete surprise until the Bride and Groom walked through the doors of the venue on their Wedding Day!

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Tirzah Belton Texas - Walking through the Venue Doors

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Bride and the Father of the Groom
Bride with the Father of the Groom which was one of their Officiants

Mike and Montie were married in our vintage venue, Tirzah, located in the Heart of Texas in the Downtown Belton Historic District. It was a beautiful autumn day in October that was filled with with love, laughter, pumpkins, and hay bales. ?

Entrance Wedding Tirzah Belton Texas

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Friends Decorating
Allison Finney and Kathy Fritsche, the friends that planned the Surprise Wedding

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Grand Room1

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Courtyard Seating for the Wedding Ceremony1

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Courtyard Seating for the Wedding Ceremony

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Floral Decorations

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Decorations Lantern Pumpkin

The Couple held with Tradition and elected to not see each other on their Wedding Day. This Tradition often builds excitement and anticipation for the Wedding Ceremony.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Wedding Dress

One of my favorite parts of the Wedding is when the Groom sees his Bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle towards him in her Wedding Dress. The Couple did not see one another until Montie walked down the aisle with her mother.

Montie Smith Bride Wedding Tirzah
Montie Smith, the beautiful Bride
Mike Elkins Groom Wedding Tirzah
Mike Elkins, the dashing Groom

Another Wedding Tradition that the Bride included was based on an old English rhyme … “Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue, a sixpence in your shoe!” Brides have been following this custom for centuries. Montie’s dad placed a penny in Montie’s shoe to bring prosperity to their marriage.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Pick a Seat not a Side

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Love Decoration

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Grand Romm Table Decorations

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Bouquet and Boutonnieres

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Mr and Mrs

The Maid of Honor was Montie’s daughter, Mary, and the Best Man was Mike’s brother, Albert. Mike’s son, Alex, played a song on a guitar as the Wedding Party was walking in.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Maid of Honor1
Mary, the Maid of Honor

There were two officiants, and the two were each of the Bride and Groom’s dads. The Wedding Ceremony was very beautiful and witnessed by their closest family and friends. The Couple wrote their own vows which told the story of their love.

Mike and Montie's Wedding in the Courtyard at Tirzah

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Wedding Ceremony at the Alter with Father of the Bride

“I now pronounce you Husband and Wife.
You may now kiss your Bride!”

Mike and Montie's Wedding - First Kiss
First Kiss! ♥️

“May we present Mr. and Mrs. Mike Elkins!”

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Courtyard - Couple at the Alter

The Couple’s Guestbook was a Wedding Tree where people added their fingerprint and signed their name.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Guestbook - Wedding Tree

A Loving Memory display was included to remember their loved ones … “We know you would be here today if Heaven wasn’t so far away.” For as long as there is a memory, they live on in our heart.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - In Loving Memory Display

Montie’s daughter, Mary, and Mary’s friends assembled all of the Party Favors to thank the family and friends for attending the nuptials.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Party Favors

Coronas De Oro served a delicious meal at the Reception. Wine was served to toast with; the wine bottles were personalized with the Couple’s picture on them, and their children were given a bottle of wine to take home as a gift.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Bottle of Wine

Another best friend of Montie’s, Allison Allen, made their Wedding Cake.

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Cutting of the Cake

For their final farewell, the guests were blowing bubbles of wedding wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs.

Final Farewell - Bubbles

On their way to a happily ever after, the Newlyweds honeymooned in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While they were there, they went to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hiked the Appalachian Trail, and saw a black bear. They also explored Elvis Presley’s home, the Graceland Mansion, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Honeymoon - Smoky Mountains

Honeymoon - Appalachian Trail

The couple traveled on to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina and went on a tour and carriage ride at the Biltmore House. The timeless beauty of the Biltmore was built in 1895. This historic landmark is America’s largest home with 250-rooms and 8,000 acres of grounds and gardens.

Honeymoon - Biltmore House

A very special Wedding memory for me was when the Bride thanked me for “making their day so special.”  Those sweet words were a treasure and warmed my heart!

After the Newlyweds returned from their Honeymoon, I gave them a small gift which was an ornament replica of the Biltmore House, and I asked the Bride if she had to do it all over again with the Wedding, would she still have a “Surprise Wedding?” She said, “Yes, I wouldn’t change a thing!!”

Mike and Montie's Wedding - Honeymoon - Biltmore House

We are so happy for this sweet Couple. We wish them many years of love, happiness, exciting adventures, and cherished memories!! ?

Diana with Bride and Groom Wedding Tirzah Belton Texas

Weddings by Tirzah ღ

If you would like additional information about event coordination, planning a romantic adventure, or about the other services that we offer, please contact us at info@tirzah.biz.

Copyright 2018. Tirzah. All rights reserved.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting and Open House


It was a cold winter morning.  In fact, it was the coldest day of the year!  As I was driving to our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Tirzah, the temperature in my truck displayed 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  I was thinking that we would have to resort to Plan B and have the Ribbon Cutting inside the building; however, around 10:00 a.m., the temperature warmed up enough so that it was bearable, not comfortable, but bearable so we had the Ribbon Cutting outside.

Tirzah is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Downtown Belton Historic District in Belton, Texas.  We are not sure when the building was built, but through our research, we found documentation supporting the building’s existence in the 1880’s.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - National Register of Historic Places - Preservation Efforts

This building had been abandoned for over 20 years and had been marked as condemned by the City of Belton, Texas.  The Ribbon Cutting was held in celebration of the restoration of this grand iconic structure, and our guests will be the first to see the preservation efforts. I tend to refer to the preservation efforts of the historic building as ‘Saving Yesterday for Tomorrow!’

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Facade

We had the honor of Adam Lozoya, the traveling pianist, performing beautiful prelude music before the Ribbon Cutting as guests were arriving.  The music started the event with a festive spirit.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Piano

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Piano
Adam Lozoya, the traveling pianist

The event was opened with a prayer by Reverend John Heckmann from St. Paul Lutheran Church, in The Grove, Texas. Pastor Heckmann also gave a blessing for Tirzah as we dedicated our business to His glory.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Pastor Heckmann Invocation
Reverend John Heckmann from St. Paul Lutheran Church, in The Grove, Texas

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Pastor Heckmann Dedication

The prayer was followed by the Presentation of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop 118.  Cory Roberts was the Color Guard Commander.  I was so proud seeing the flags as they were walking down N. East Street with the Courthouse in the background, hearing Cory give the commands, seeing the Scouts salute the flag, and everyone saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Boy Scouts in front of Courthouse Belton Texas

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Boy Scouts Flag - N East Street Belton Texas

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting - Boy Scouts Flag - N East Street Belton Texas
Boy Scout Troop 118

Dean Winkler, a General Contractor with CRW Construction was introduced, and he said a few words about their experience.  It was a daunting task to renovate this building, but this trusted crew gave our condemned building a productive life; a building that was once abandoned will now thrive for future generations to enjoy.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Dean Winkler General Contractor

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Dean Winkler General Contractor2
Dean Winkler, a General Contractor with CRW Construction with his family and crew

Our vintage venue is steeped with history.  Frederick Gillmeister owned the building in the 1880’s and used the building as a restaurant.  Around 1889, Mr. Gillmeister sold the building to William Froderman.  Interestingly, both families, were born in Germany and found themselves living in Belton, Texas.  Mr. Froderman used the building for a bakery and boarding house.  Over the years, they made numerous wedding cakes.  He also used the building as a venue for weddings and banquets.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Gillmeister Family
The Gillmeister Family

Both families, the Gillmeister’s and the Froderman’s, ran the business downstairs, and they lived upstairs.   Fred and Julia Gillmeister lived in this building along with their only child, Louis Gillmeister.  And the Froderman’s raised six children here.  Imagine what it would have been like to live here growing up as a child.  To give you a glimpse, Louis Gillmeister was quite athletic, and he would entertain the restaurant guests by walking up and down the staircase on his hands.

Louis was an only child; however, he went on to have six boys of his own.  His son, Leonard Gillmeister and several family members of the Gillmeister family were present with us at the Ribbon Cutting.  Leonard is 91 years old and remembers going into the building once as a little boy and seeing a display of cookies and donuts.

I feel like our families have a special connection with each other, and they even showed up early and helped us get ready for the celebration.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Leonard Gillmeister
Leonard Gillmeister

Interestingly in 1914, Belton’s Downtown “Historic District” was called the “Paved District.”  The Temple Daily Telegram had an article titled “Splendid Sidewalk Work” which stated “the grade of the walk is being raised and new concrete walks laid in front of the building owned by William Froderman and other surrounding buildings.”  Since this building existed numerous years before the pavement was ever added, our guests were cautioned as they enter the building to notice that they will need to step down.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Chalkboard Sign

Several people have asked what we are going to do with the building.  Our business is founded on Christian principles.  Our name, Tirzah, was inspired by Song of Solomon 6:4, “Thou art beautiful, oh my love, as Tirzah.”  The focus of our business revolves around Love and Romance.  We strive to transform Dreams into Cherished Memories.   Our primary repertoire encompasses the following, but we offer so much more!  We are romance travel specialists, and we assist with wedding design including traditional and destination.  Additionally, we will be carrying on the tradition of hosting memorable events in this unique, nostalgic, and intimate setting.  The very first couple under our ownership, Jake Roehl and Whitney Joeckel, will be celebrating their dream day, their wedding, in this beautiful historic venue.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Jake and Whitney Roehl
Jake and Whitney Roehl

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - First Wedding - Belton Journal

As we took a few more photographs to record a little more history for this building, the City of Belton council member, Jerri Gauntt, was present for the Ribbon Cutting.  Belton’s Director of Finance, Brandon Bozon, and Temple’s Director of Planning, Brian Chandler, were also present.  The members of Belton’s City Council are Visionaries in Preservation, and they have been very supportive in our endeavor.  We were awarded the Facade Improvement Grant by the City of Belton, and in addition, the Belton City Council approved a five-year 100 percent Tax Abatement.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Belton City Council
City of Belton council member, Jerri Gauntt

The Downtown Belton Merchants have been very welcoming.  A community that supports one another maximizes everyone’s chances for success.  My supportive new neighbors include Leila Valchar with My Giving Tree, Robert Potts with Cochran, Blair, and Potts, Melitza Rivera with Southern Comforts, Maria Aida Riddle with Aida’s Outlet, Michael Cox with East Street Barber Shop, Laura McWha with McWha Bookstore, David Tuma with The Belton Journal, and many more.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Downtown Belton Merchants
Downtown Belton Merchants

My family is my Circle of Strength.  We are founded on faith, joined by love, and kept by God.  I could not have made it this far without their help, guidance, encouragement, and prayers.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Circle of Strength Family

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Sunday Dinner Family
My Circle of Strength

A friend is what the heart needs.  Friends divide our sorrow and double our joy. Our joy was definitely doubled at our Ribbon Cutting.  Many friends joined us in our celebration even with the cold temperature.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Friends

I prayed about the decision to purchase the building.  Was it the path that I should take?  The Sunday before the auction, I noticed a bulletin board at church that said, “If you are walking with God, you will always be going in the right direction.” So as we are walking by Faith, we keep taking the next step.  At the tax auction, we became the blessed owners.  We then took the step in the restoration, and we are celebrating today with the Ribbon Cutting.  My children, Cory and Candice, my greatest blessings did the honors of cutting the ribbon.  We saved the ribbon in between the two cuts, and the rose-gold scissors have been engraved with Tirzah and the date of 1/7/17.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Diana Cory Candice - The ActualCutting of the Ribbon

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Diana Cory Candice - Holding up the Ribbon

These two pictures touch my heart. I love how Candice and I are so proudly smiling as we watch Cory make the final cut to the ribbon. This is a memory that we will always cherish.

Cory then turned the “Sorry We’re Closed” sign to “Come In, We’re Open” and said, “We’re Open!”

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Cory We Are Open

We thanked everyone for coming on this cold winter day and spending part of their day with us. We were excited to have them see the wonderful preservation efforts.  We asked Leonard Gillmeister to do us the honor of being the first guest to enter the building followed by the remaining Gillmeister family.

During the Open House, refreshments were served. Tidbits of history were on display with historical articles, vintage photographs, and various artifacts such as a giant baker’s mixer.

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Refreshments and MinglingTirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - ArtifactsTirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Artifacts Giant Baker's Mixer

Our Ribbon Cutting was a very memorable moment as we reached a milestone. Thank you and welcome!  To God be the Glory!! ?

Tirzah Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Invitation


If you would like additional information about event coordination, planning a romantic adventure, or about the other services that we offer, please contact us at info@tirzah.biz.

Tirzah - Belton Journal Ad
Copyright 2019. Tirzah. All rights reserved.

Texas-size Family Fun in the Belton Historical District


Belton, Texas, Parks and Recreation hosted a Free Tubing and Movie in the Park event on Saturday, June 10, 2017, behind The Gin.

Floating on Nolan Creek was a fun way to beat the heat of the afternoon. All of the children were having a blast, but I had just as much fun as the kids riding the small rapids. People typically bring their own tubes at this event, but tubes were available for people to use.

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Tubing on Nolan Creek - Family Fun

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Taylor Tubing

We enjoyed a live music performance on the banks of Nolan Creek by a band known as Touch Of Class. As they performed on the Main Stage, they played great dance hits from the 1950’s to today as the crowd was dancing to the awesome tunes. For more information on the band and their schedule, see http://touchofclass.webs.com.

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Band Touch of Class

After tubing, we walked to Scores Sports Bar on S. East Street to get some pizza to eat while we were waiting for the movie to start when the sun went down.

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Scores Sports Bar

The movie, Sing, was played on the big screen. The story-line was about a dapper Koala named Buster Moon that presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. He took one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, there were five contestants that emerged … a mouse, a timid elephant, a pig, a gorilla and a punk-rock porcupine.

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Movies Under the Stars - Sing

The community event was successful in achieving many measures such as making fun affordable for everyone with the various social activities in the Downtown Belton Historical District; people were enjoying the beauty of nature and getting some exercise while having fun; connecting with others in the community helps to form lasting friendships; and the fun family-time creates wonderful memories that last a lifetime.  All of these quality metrics strengthen the community for a wonderful place to live.

Tirzah Travels - Belton Texas - Movies Under the Stars - Family Fun

The picturesque setting, tubing on the creek, dancing in the park, pizza, laughter, and movies under the stars made the perfect combination for building memories! ?


Photography:  Sing - Belton Parks & Recreation

Copyright 2017. Tirzah. All rights reserved.

Nevis … The Undiscovered Paradise


With the Nevis Tourism Authority, I had a wonderful opportunity of becoming one of the first certified Nevis Romance Specialists. In this unparalleled experience, I discovered an unspoiled natural beauty of the Caribbean!

8-Nevis Mountain Peak2 - Resized

In the center of the tropical island resides the majestic Nevis Peak which is a dormant volcano that rises 3,232 feet above the island, and the tip of the peak seems to always be shrouded by a cloud.  There is one main road that circles around the island, and there are not any traffic lights.  The island is only 36 square miles; it will take about 45 minutes to drive it.  The island is shaped like a ball; whereas, its sister island St. Kitts is a little larger and shaped like a bat.  St. Kitts is more commercialized, and it is a stop with the major cruise ships.  The islands at their closest point are two miles apart; the strait that separates the Caribbean islands at its narrowest is called “The Narrows.”  The Caribbean Sea is west of the two islands, and the Atlantic Ocean is on the eastern coast. The two islands make up a country; two islands, one paradise!

Since Nevis is a small island, they must focus on sustainable tourism, and tourism is their major source of income.  They are very “green” in the manner in which they live. From the air, you mainly just see the green landscape and not concrete.  Many of the buildings are made from volcanic stone, and no building is taller than a palm tree.

The people are genuinely nice, and you are always greeted with a warm smile. Since the island is small and the population is few, the locals already know each other so they enjoy seeing new people; it is part of their social life to meet and talk with visitors. You are only a stranger in Nevis once; they know you by name and not as a number. The people on the island take pride in their history.  The primary language is English, and the predominant religion is Christianity.  They are conservative and very educated; they have a 98% literacy rate.

5-Nevis Tourism Authority - Resized

It is a relatively safe place to travel; however, you would want to be as cautious as you are at home.  Interestingly, it is against the law to use profanity and to wear camouflage.

If there are two people having a conversation in the middle of the road, then the next person coming along down the road is not honking wanting them to hurry and move because what is most important is the conversation.

There are not any fast food restaurants on the island.  It is fine dining at its best. Wherever you dine, they are not rushing you in and out to serve the next person. It is a leisurely meal.  It is a time to enjoy your pleasant surroundings, the engaging company, the delicious food, and the conversation.

1-Nevis Roasted Pig - Resized

There is great diversity in the hotels that the island offers; the island is not commercialized with cookie-cutter resorts.  I had the great fortune of getting to stay at the Montpelier Plantation. The hotel was a former sugar plantation which dates back to 1747, and the hotel opened in 1966.  The hotel is situated on 60 acres amidst lush tropical hills at the base of the majestic Nevis Peak and 750 feet above the vibrant Caribbean Sea.

4-Nevis Caribbean Sea

A welcoming weeping fig at the entrance of the inn makes you feel as though you are entering the land of enchantment.

3-Nevis Montpelier Fig Tree

At this boutique hideaway, you can reserve private dining in a 300 year old sugar mill and get a stellar 6-course meal; this romantic and memorable dining experience is something that you would not get anywhere else in the world.

6-Nevis Sugar Mill

As I walked to my room, I felt like I was in a rain-forest with the lush greenery. Princess Diana also stayed here in 1993 to escape the media; she came with her two sons one month after her separation from Prince Charles was announced. We did many site inspections of various hotels including Montpelier, and the room she stayed in was the room that we toured.  When I had time to enjoy our lodging, I went and sat on the porch of Princess Diana’s room.  I wanted to sit where she sat and see the view that she saw.  The view was very beautiful, but it was also very peaceful as was the view from my room.  She picked a room next to a tennis court.  I stayed in Cottage #1, and she stayed in Cottage #16 so our rooms were relatively close.

7-Nevis Montpelier Rain Forest

Nevis has a large population of wild African Green Vervet Monkeys.  The monkeys outnumber the residents with a resident population of 12,000.  The monkeys live on the mountain, and then come down for food during the day.  The monkeys would be at the back entrance of my room which had a view of the mountain and Caribbean Sea.  I did not actually see a monkey there, but my neighbor next to me saw them all of the time and showed me pictures to prove it.  I saw the monkeys elsewhere though.  One was scampering on the golf course, and the others were playing in the rain-forest.  The wild monkeys shy away from people if you try to get close.  Fascinatingly, there are even Monkey Crossing signs on the road.

2-Nevis Monkey

The island also has goats and donkeys that wander and graze during the day; they were not fenced in, but they go home to their owners in the evening.  I was surprised that the island had so many flowers with the goats.

1-Nevis Tirzah

Sometimes people go on vacation, and when you return, you need a vacation from your vacation.  This beautiful island is different to me; everything about it is relaxing; you truly embrace island time, revel in the lush tropical beauty, and appreciate the importance of conversation and relationships. There are so many interesting tidbits about the island.  I highly recommend a visit to the enchanting island of Nevis, a very charming, intimate, and pampering secret escape!


The featured image was taken by my friend and fellow specialist, Norman Williams.

#Tirzah #LegacyofLove #NevisRomance #MontpelierPlantation #TravelCaribbean #RomanticEscape #Honeymoon #DestinationWedding

Copyright 2015. Tirzah. All rights reserved.