Fall Weddings: Updated Guidance For Unprecedented Times

By Ramzy Nasrallah on August 11, 2021 at 1:15 pm
Sep 29, 2018; Lubbock, TX, USA; Kelsey Hohnstein and the Texas Tech Red Raiders pom squad celebrate during her wedding to Andrew Reinhart at half time of a game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
©Michael C. Johnson | USAT Sports

Are College Football Saturday weddings a bad idea?

This has always been a question that requires significant qualifying in the wild. After all, college football is a niche sport in most states; it barely exists in others. Game day conflicts aren't a variable in most wedding plans.

But Eleven Warriors isn't the wild, as you can tell by the question framing. It's a virtual community that coalesces around Ohio's ordained religion of tackle football, where the holiest sect gathers in country's third-largest cathedral. It accommodates just short of 103,000 parishioners. Services are only held a precious dozen or so times a year.

In places like this - where college football matters more than it should - holding a wedding that is scheduled around our holy seasonal landmines can be as distracting as it is disruptive.

It's weird to me too, Courtney. And I think the animus toward game day weddings is perceived as obnoxious meddling, which...slightly? It's less about football. It's more about the wedding.

So qualifying our Fall Weddings question is a short exercise in these parts. Scheduling a wedding that conflicts with an Ohio State football game is not a great idea. Yes, the churches have way more availability when the Buckeyes are playing - that's not mysterious - and playing hopscotch in a minefield is exactly as safe as it sounds.

Some people refuse to care about the world around them and will bulldoze a College Football Saturday with their special day - which is fine. Celebrating their sweet, undying love story which will last who are we kidding, eight years tops forever cedes importance to nothing, let alone a silly football game.

That's never been the argument for planning around football season in places where football is religion. No one has argued that college football is more important. Especially me.

Seven years ago I published what I thought would be a standard-issue offseason #content piece about fall weddings to briefly distract our readers from the utter lack of football happening during the summer. Since then, I have lost track of how many radio shows I've appeared on as a guest to discuss that article.

Every year new people find it and I get tapped on the shoulder to discuss it. I still get tagged on Twitter to officiate arguments about the merits of strangers' fall wedding plans.

Yesterday morning I was tapped on the shoulder again, but not because of that old column. It was because Nicole Auerbach published a new one in The Athletic with an ominous headline.

As college football and weddings return in full force, an age-old fall Saturday conflict takes on a new tone

Let's acknowledge the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is spreading at an alarming pace throughout the country, threatening healthcare delivery in what is roughly the Southeastern Conference's footprint where vaccination rates are among the lowest. Auerbach's age-old fall Saturday conflict takes on a new tone language sort of steps around that unfortunate development, so let's step with it.

We were all locked down for a year. Many of us were frozen with panic and sadness, missing graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and countless treasured events. On top of all of that, B1G football was canceled before eventually being uNcAnCeLeD. We were frustrated enough, and still manufactured dumb new ways to be even more frustrated.

Pent-up anxiety? Friends, the line forms to the left and extends across the country.

Wedding shaming - or shaming large crowds gathering anywhere - hit a 100-year peak in 2020. But now that vaccines are available, crowds are returning in full force and this began prior to Delta's emergence. Suppressed emotions and the kind of energy no current living American has ever experienced are all swirling.

Bulldozing a College Football Saturday has never felt less conflicting. The world looks different.

All of those patient lovebirds earned the right to a special weekend of their choosing. And that's why those lovebirds should study that age-old fall Saturday conflict more than ever to understand why the day they've waited too long for just might deserve better timing.

Here is some simplified, updated wedding guidance for couples who operate within college football blast radius geographies to consider, for These Unprecedented Times™. It's not for me or for you.

It's for them. The patient lovebirds.

If You Both Love College Football, And So Do Your Friends

  • You'll share your special day with a football game(s) which people will be diverting attention to.
  • Friends' faces glued to phones; cheers and odd grunts unrelated to the expensive festivities.
  • Dance floor participation significantly impacted, especially if the game matters or escalates.
  • If your team loses the game, you get to relive that L with every anniversary.

VERDICT: If that ^ doesn't sound like what you want...maybe reconsider?

If Only One of You Loves College Football - But So Do Your Friends

Lucie is talking about soccer as you can tell by her casual usage of rumours and whilst. Every country has its own version of our college football weddings conflict. No one is special - except the adorable couple.

  • This is a volatile situation where the non-enthusiast is positioned to carry an unending grudge.
  • Friends' faces glued to phones; cheers and odd grunts unrelated to the expensive festivities.
  • Dance floor participation significantly impacted, especially if the game matters or escalates.

Auerbach includes a fascinating anecdote about a Michigan couple getting married opening weekend that is suffering from Michigan football fatigue, which contributed to their fall wedding date (off-topic sidebar: they haven't suffered enough).

(Natalie) Wengroff said she hasn’t heard any complaints about scheduling a wedding on a Michigan game day from her side of the family, though (fiancé Paul) Wiley suggested that could be because “everybody’s too scared of Natalie to do that.”

No one's scared of Natalie, Paul. It's called decorum. There's a group chat neither of you are part of because friendships demand radical preservation measures once coupling takes place. Let's continue:

At the reception, they plan to play “The Good Old Song “and “(Hail to) The Victors.” There will be some flags and banners for family and friends to take photos with.

I've been to these weddings, where they get married during the game and then play the fight songs you couldn't hear live because you were in the wrong church. That's definitely a choice.

VERDICT: From the outside looking in it feels like a marriage counselor will learn about this quaint bit of history at some point in the relationship. Compromise is tricky throughout a marriage, let alone before it begins.

Wedding planning is a test of wills. You never want to win the big game in a marriage. You want to tie. It's better for longevity. You win and lose scrimmages. Tie the big games. This is one of those.

If Only One of You Loves College Football - And Neither Do Your Friends

If you're the college football enthusiast in this scenario, congratulations.

The ancient Greeks wrote about the kind of love you've unearthed. As long as you're unbothered, you're all unbothered. You're going to be too distracted by Eurydice's aura to care about the score, and all of the phones in attendance will be used to capture your precious moments.

If Neither of You Love College Football, and Neither Do Your Friends

Welcome to Eleven Warriors! First time here? Just kidding, of course it is.

Over the past seven years I've been approached by numerous web sites and show producers who make content that has absolutely nothing to do with sports at all, intent on debating the premise of what you're reading here.

This topic is a galaxy you were never supposed to discover. I apologize that you were directed to this web site. But hey while you're here you should buy something.

If Neither of You Love College Football, But All Your Friends Do

Five years ago I was looped into a discussion around a New Year's Eve wedding in Ohio that had been planned in relative oblivion to the College Football Playoff, which for some dumb reason was held on Dec 31.

A significant number of friends had gotten vocal about the Clemson-Ohio State semifinal that would be taking place during the reception. Screen caps of the bride ALL CAPSing her friends and family on Facebook to put the dumb football game aside circulated.

I don't know how it resolved, but the Buckeyes scored less that evening than the bride and groom did that night. Who knows, maybe they tied. Either way, a pall was cast over what had been intended to be a double-joyous celebration - and this was not technically a fall wedding.

The isn't an article about New Years Eve weddings. It's about how disruptive sports can be in sports-crazed bubbles, like Ohio for example. You cannot control that which refuses to be controlled, which on that evening included Carlos Watkins and Ben Boulware.

Twenty-three years ago I was invited to 12 weddings over a three-month span. I was that age where my contemporaries were all tapping out of the single life, intent on exploiting the fertility window. Today, I hold one wedding invitation for that stretch of the calendar.

The number will bump up again over the next 15 years as my contemporaries' children tap out to further the species. You care more about some things with age; you care less about others.

One thing that's unchanged for me: Your wedding deserves better than half the congregation screaming about Appalachian State beating Michigan (unless you're the couple in Auerbach's column, in which case it's a shame that's not possible again this year).

So when it comes to fall weddings, it's like any other hazard you traverse in life - it's all about awareness and preparation. There's so little you can truly control during your brief time above ground. This is one of those gifts where you can significantly reduce the distractions that could soil an otherwise perfect day.

It's not about prioritizing football season. It's about preserving the sweetest day of your life.

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