It began with some unfortunate news I received last week:
Back in 2004 I declined to be in a wedding because it was on Ohio State-Michigan. Found out tonight they just divorced. Of course they did.— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) July 16, 2014
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.
THERE ARE NO BYE WEEKS
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:
@ramzy we sched ours for the bye week this yr. Then ol Gene switched the bye weeks on me. I should've known better, and I'm sick about it.— Tony Corder (@TonyCorder) July 16, 2014
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:
@ramzy Had a cousin who thought she could get away w a bye wk wedding in 2007. Game got switched. The bye wk will not save you.— Austin Rubel (@AustinRubel) July 16, 2014
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:
@ramzy I'm getting married in Oct but was smart enough to pick a bye week for OSU. Sure I miss some other games but nothing I'm worried bout— Shawn Brake (@SBrake34) July 16, 2014
@ramzy very deliberately chose my date for tOSU bye week. Acceptable?— Jay Gallwitz (@JDGallwitz) July 16, 2014
@ramzy Getting married oct 11th. Fiancée picked day bc no Osu football that day!— Robert A. Williams (@N7RobBob) July 16, 2014
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.
@ramzy perfect fall date this year-August 31. Were getting married w Buckeyes game Saturday, Browns preseason Thursday, & Tribe out of town— Kertesz (@BIGMAK216) July 16, 2014
Not quite as perfect as any of the previous 35 weekends, but who uses a 12-month calendar anymore.
@ramzy What if the wedding was football-centric?— Lazy-Assed Swami (@319E17th) July 16, 2014
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:
Was just reminded of a wedding reception where the couple walked out to Buckeye Battle Cry. Football centerpieces. No TVs. During a game.— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) July 16, 2014
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.
@ramzy i got married in september on a friday evening. there are options if you want a fall wedding that doesn't interfere w/ football!— callie (@callienicolef) July 16, 2014
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.
OHIO STATE WASN'T PLAYING A GOOD TEAM THAT DAY
@ramzy I got married in the fall, but we were playing Illinois so I felt safe. Because, you know, it's Illinois.— Arch City (@ArchCityCMH) July 16, 2014
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).
@ramzy we got married during an away Indiana game, so it was basically a bye week— Scott Lennon (@Cbus_lennon) July 16, 2014
This is what Indiana "hosting" Ohio State looks like:
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.
@ramzy I missed the 2nd half of the Florida A&M game because of a wedding. Ok? Or do we not discriminate against quality of opponent?— Mike Young (@MYoung11W971) July 16, 2014
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.
WE PLANNED IT AROUND THE KICKOFF TIME
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.
@ramzy I at least made sure it was an away game, before the game started, and large TVs at the reception with it on.— Luis (@coqui1337) July 16, 2014
@ramzy We planned our daytime wedding specifically for a date on which OSU had a night game. Afterwards we watched Reynolds choke a guy.— Jon Stefanik (@Jon_Jon_) July 16, 2014
[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.
NERO FIDDLED WHILE OHIO BURNED
@ramzy married on the day of Biakabatuka. Still going strong— Donald Fouts (@DfoutsFouts) July 16, 2014
Well well, Don Fouts. That was a bad call. Bad call.
@ramzy buddy got married during OSU away game to another OSU grad, and took pictures at Horseshoe while game was in 2nd half. Yep.— Dan Coil (@CoilDP) July 16, 2014
@ramzy we met folks a few years ago who got married during The Game in 2006 and claimed their guests loved it. No they didn't, bub...— Tim (@TDPetska) July 16, 2014
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
MEET SOME MARTYRS
@ramzy standing in one on the day of the game. In Michigan of course, cause they stopped caring about football years ago.— Brian Weil (@weilb) July 16, 2014
@ramzy I have weddings the first five home games this year. I'm basically missing the entire season.— David Miran Jr (@dmiranjr) July 16, 2014
@ramzy Fortunately, I missed "Iowa 6, Penn State 4" due to my brother's wedding.— Toyota Jackson (@PancakeCatapult) July 16, 2014
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.
@ramzy I'd get married during a home game- as long as we could have it in 20C, row 17, during a TV timeout.— Phil Shie (@pdshie) July 16, 2014
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.
@ramzy there are literally hundreds of days to be married. like, you could get married right now. today. it's July. just do it.— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) July 16, 2014
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.
@ramzy Sad the # of people we've had this debate with too. There are 40 other Saturdays throughout the course of a year. Pick one of those.— Rod Vedder (@RodVedder4) July 16, 2014
@ramzy I cannot comprehend being "pro-fall wedding". Kind of like being "pro-telemarketing calls during dinner".— Darren Harp (@Harp_DM) July 16, 2014
These guys get it.
That's absolutely gorgeous and adorable and no one could ever suggest otherwise.
@ramzy my wife and I walked out to the Buckeye Battle Cry, despite my wife's efforts to have a fall wedding, we married in June!— Chuck Sylvis (@BuckeyeChuck81) July 16, 2014
@ramzy pro tip: get engaged in May-June. Fall of the same year is too soon for a wedding, fall of the next year is too far away.— Matt (@mpytlik) July 16, 2014
@ramzy Went to a wedding in MD over the wedding. It was wonderful. The Rabbi was a UM alum (sorry). She almost refuses fall ceremonies— T.J. Basalla (@tjbasalla) July 16, 2014
The People's Rabbi. God's on her side. Think about that.
@ramzy we only get a few weeks/year to enjoy college football, I refuse to give them up!!— Allison Wiley (@awileyx3) July 16, 2014
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.