Fall Weddings: Zero Tolerance

By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 23, 2014 at 1:00p
Oh that's just adorabTHE FUCKING GAME IS ON

Center of attention.


It began with some unfortunate news I received last week:

Their beginning was as undignified as their end. We'll skip over the humiliating separation details and instead focus on their abhorrent November wedding date.

The now freshly-single groom (still a friend of mine) also attended Ohio State. Their wedding was in Florida on Nov 20, 2004. I heard it was nice, via texts from attendees begging for Ohio State-Michigan updates while in disbelief over what the mediocre Buckeyes were doing to the Big Ten champions.

He had extended me an invitation. That exchange went like this:

I'd like you to come but it's the weekend of The Game. It's actually during The Game. I can't sugarcoat it. She's always wanted a fall wedding and the Buckeyes are going to be rebuilding this year so I figured it was worth a shot.

We were sitting at a bar in Chicago watching a Blackhawks game. I never gave him a verbal response. I just looked at him silently with a closed-lipped half-smile intended to communicate why would you do this. Why.

He bailed me out, we laughed and never spoke of it again. There was no guilt-tripping in either direction. The bachelor party was terrific.

I didn't bring it up last week when he informed me that lawyers had completed their billable work in making his disintegrated union official, because friends don't commit taunting penalties against friends when they're hurting.

Don't get married on Saturdays in fall. It's a simple social mandate with no what-ifs.

But almost immediately after I posted the tweet above my mentions began filling up with excuses to get married on a College Football Saturday. Evidently there are people who believe an Ohio State bye week is the same as baseball's All-Star break when the entire sport shuts down. That's...no. No.

Don't get married on Saturdays in fall. It's a simple social mandate with no what-ifs. This isn't the plea of a radical, selfish fan; it's practical advice that supports everyone's best interest in superior parts of America where college football matters more than it should.

Eleven Warriors has published numerous stories bemoaning football season weddings, as have slightly less-influential media outlets like CNN and the New York Times, all very recently.

Regardless of all this negative media coverage football season weddings have received, there still seems to be some confusion around what's appropriate. Therefore this refresher is warranted.


Football season does not contain an intermission. 

Every week while you watch the Buckeyes there are literally dozens of other games being played at the same time. Football doesn't abruptly stop when the Buckeyes have a week off. That's like holding your breath and being declared dead because you're temporarily not breathing.

Bye weeks are also unpredictable. Look at this wedding misery:

This could be you, Bye Week Wedding Enthusiasts. September 6 was an Ohio State bye week only a few months ago. Operative word: Was.

Then ESPN approached OSU and Virginia Tech about rescheduling their game from the 20th to accommodate a night game opening it had, and voila - the best non-conference home game in four years now coincides with countless previously scheduled bye week weddings.

Sure, that doesn't happen all the time - but it's happened before and it will happen again:

Don't play Battleship against an uncertain future schedule with your wedding date. You and your sweetie deserve better. Besides, Ohio State having a week off has zero impact on the dozens of other televised stadium celebrations happening across the country. Don't declare any Saturday dead just because the Buckeyes are briefly holding their breath.

This is what that narrow view of the world looks like through an empty scarlet and gray toilet paper roll:

It's just like a dream: Marrying the love of your life in front of your most favorite Buckeyes in the world - who aren't even looking at you because holy shit Appalachian State is beating Michigan in Ann Arbor. (I "watched" this unfold on my phone in 2007 with 200 other Buckeyes also distracted from the altar as the news spread like a virus). 

You just don't know what that Saturday will bring. College football is as exhilarating as it is unpredictable. You can mitigate that risk by avoiding it entirely.

Not quite as perfect as any of the previous 35 weekends, but who uses a 12-month calendar anymore.

Well, then it wouldn't be during football season. If it is, that means the happy couple is openly ridiculing your loyalty. 

Which brings me to this thing which actually happened:

They had wedding gifts for everyone too: Homemade CDs of their favorite songs about Ohio. The Buckeyes beat Michigan State 45-7 in East Lansing that afternoon as the bride danced with her father to Oh Hey Look the Game is on in the Other Ballroom Across the Hall.

I'm attending a Friday wedding this September in New Jersey where two Scarlet Knights are exchanging vows. Their Saturday plan is to celebrate with everyone in town by going to the Rutgers/Tulane game.

They're huge Rutgers homers and it's a charming idea, but now you know why I'll be late to this year's Eleven Dubgate. [Spoiler: Skipping Tulane game; hopping on earliest available flight to CMH]

Friday wedding dates may not bite immediately, but they'll catch up with you eventually. This is a feature built into the Gregorian calendar we all still use today:

Your anniversary will eventually fall on a crucial, important College Football Saturday - perhaps the following year, Leap-depending. And you'll envision decades of your spouse being cool with whatever whimsical football plans you have for those Saturdays, because this is the delusion to which all newly-married people subscribe. That's part of what makes newlyweds so damn adorable.

Fifty-two beautiful Saturdays every year: Set aside 15 and then choose from the remaining 37. Try not to overthink it.


Forget about the fact that Illinois has left Ohio Stadium as victors in three of its past six visits: You're asking fellow Buckeyes to alter their plans for something you could have done on dozens of other Saturdays. Oh you have game tickets? Eh, it's only Illinois. Hey, buy us a present from this list instead.

You know when your guests are guaranteed to not have football tickets? Of course you do. 

Guests forced to cancel plans due to game day weddings: If you want to win a medal for passive-aggressiveness, make your wasted tickets your gift to the happy couple. (But buy them something too - that's how you make it passive-aggressive instead of totally dickish).

This is what Indiana "hosting" Ohio State looks like:

Look at all that red

Those aren't Hoosiers. Mostly.

Conversely, this is what Indiana hosting not-Ohio State generally looks like:


Ohio State hasn't played a road game in Bloomington in over 40 years. Also: It doesn't matter who's playing that Saturday.

Many of you fall wedding people have made it this far into the column and are starting to feel hostile and defensive: Well, we got married the day of the Northwestern game and it turned out great and everyone loved it! 

It's hard to be objective about your own wedding day. Additionally, everyone told you how great it was because it was your wedding day and that's what people generally do. Also, your baby is adorable. Best-looking baby ever. Everyone's favorite baby.

Nope, nothing cool ever happens when Purdue plays at Ohio State.

That FAMU game date was originally supposed to be against Buffalo, which was moved to the beginning of the month to cover Vanderbilt pulling out, and then San Diego State was added. It very easily could have been this year's Virginia Tech situation all over again.

It sounds complicated - but it's not. Avoid football season. That's simple.


Your brain is working too fast. Slow it down. Actually sit down, take a deep breath and say this aloud to yourself: We planned our wedding around kickoff, because we knew interrupting a college football game - for one of the biggest days of our lives - would upset a lot of people.

Don't do that. It's your wedding day. You're going to have enough stress to deal with without having to also worry about delicately hopping around football land mines.

[old man voice]

Grandkids, my memory might be failing but I'll never forget the day I married your grandmother. Robert Reynolds choked Jim Sorgi on national television. Ohio State's 19-game winning streak ended at Wisconsin. What a wonderful and shitty day that was.

[/old man voice]

Sometimes bad things happen to your team. When you get married during those bad things, they get to share your anniversary with you forever.


Well well, Don Fouts. That was a bad call. Bad call. 

Regarding that 2004 Ohio State-Michigan game I attended in lieu of my celebrating my buddy's now-severed marriage in Florida:

That was a great day. It could have very easily also been Noon kick. Buckeyes lose to Michigan. 6pm wedding, everyone already drunk and somber. #losing


I missed both of Ohio State's games with Texas in 2005 and 2006 due to two of those weddings you just aren't allowed to skip. Selling those tickets was fun.

Don't get married during football season because untold dozens of people you care about will quietly resent you. Yes they will. 


The only bride who would ever agree to this flies around in Wonder Woman's plane, lactates bourbon and defecates solid gold coins.

Which makes this an impossible scenario, but kind of fun in theory: You may kiss the bride with 105,000 people cheering you on, and then you ride out through the North End Zone on his-and-her unicorns to live happily ever after. Buckeyes win.

Jane went to Michigan so she's very good with numbers: It's 365 minus a double-digit number. Plenty of lovely nuptial options within those hundreds of days.

These guys get it.

That's absolutely gorgeous and adorable and no one could ever suggest otherwise.

The People's Rabbi. God's on her side. Think about that.

Allison Wiley, everybody. Gentlemen, swipe right.

Hopefully this has been helpful. If you're getting married this season and you've paid non-refundable deposits already...well, don't let your kids repeat your mistake. You have made silent enemies for life. Like my now-single buddy told me all those years ago during that Blackhawks game: There's no good way to sugarcoat this.

But if there's still time to make changes...think about it. For you. For her. For him. For us.

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