COLLEGE STATION, Texas — For newlyweds, Ardi and Stefanie Kiani, who met more than ten years ago in College Station, the old domino tables at the Dixie Chicken tell a special love story.
Ardi is an Aggie alumnus, while Stefanie graduated from Sam Houston State University. But during the couple's first year of dating in 2012, seeing what A&M and traditional spots like the Chicken meant to Ardi, Stefani made a romantic gesture.
“We were in here one night, and obviously the tradition is to carve your name [into a table]," Ardi explained. "I’ve never had anything important to carve, so when I met her, well... we were playing dominoes one night, and she decided to go ahead and carve our names on the side of the table.”
As the couple’s wedding date approached years later, and the two were considering options for a groom’s cake, that carving came to mind.
“It was hard to tell our wedding guests and inform them that literally, the whole table is a cake," Ardi said. "Don’t touch anything, because even though it looks like a table, it’s a cake!"
That’s right – a life-sized table cake, with the couple's names carved in icing. Chocolate dominoes, an edible beer bottle, and fondant Tijuana fries, all were made life-sized and realistic by local baker Steffany Bowling, who runs Peace, Love, & Cakes out of her College Station home.
“I’ve done a lot of ring cakes for ring dunks, I do a lot of graduation stuff, and I actually got to make Reveille’s birthday cake," Bowling said. "... Aggies come to me for a lot of stuff.”
But even her miniature replica cake of Kyle Field was nothing like this. A life-sized edible table was challenging, but after more than 15 hours of work, the final result was all worth it.
“I get so excited," Bowling said. "When Ardi came to us with this and said they carved into [the table], I knew it was so special to them. To me, it’s more than just cake, because I get to be a small part of their big day.”
The cake has been eaten now, as the wedding took place on Monday, and the original table found a new home outside the chicken years ago. But the memories will never fade.
"Now that we have this big cake, and it’s perfect and it’s been immortalized, I think we’ll be together forever," Ardi said, smiling at his bride.
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