Big Day vs. Game Day

By
From the October 2010 edition

Like many football fans in Central Ohio, I typically plan my fall Saturdays around Buckeye games. But on Sept. 25 I will not be watching Ohio State take on Eastern Michigan. This isn’t because I’m confident it’ll be a blowout (good grief, I hope so), but because I’ll be attending a wedding.

That’s right, a wedding during a home football game.

The happy union of two people has ruined many a football Saturday for fans. Such conflicts are the peril of a fall wedding, when the air is dry, the leaves are crisp and a certain contingent of the population is used to having a good buzz on by kickoff.

Couples who schedule their nuptials on these sacred occasions typically make one of several mistakes: They fail to consult the schedule when planning, underestimate how much their guests might care about a contest against a cupcake opponent or, most foolishly, romantically believe their Big Day is more important than Game Day.

Of course, the beginning of a marriage shouldn’t be a less important event than a game against a MAC school. Shouldn’t be. But by that same logic, grown men shouldn’t paint their faces in team colors, show up to the stadium at dawn or openly weep following a rough loss. Should happens.

This will be the third wedding I’ve attended on a football Saturday in the past six years. I haven’t yet minded missing the on-field action, mostly because the only thing more fun than tailgating is a good wedding reception. (And not one of my friends has been dumb enough to get married on the same day as the Michigan game.)

I missed the Minnesota game for a good friend’s wedding two years ago, but I went solo and bonded with the groomsmen discussing the point spread before the ceremony—and I’m still dating a friend of the groom I met there, so all in all, it was a game worth missing. Besides, Minnesota wasn’t very good that year.

But I still wonder why any bride would want to compete with the Scarlet and Gray. Granted, I have never planned a wedding, but what law says they must take place on a Saturday? My parents married on a Thursday, and that was 41 years ago so it clearly didn’t jinx them. (Then again, my mom’s wedding dress featured a hood, so they were a little unconventional.)

If my friends this year were determined to marry on a football Saturday, they at least picked the right one. The first Saturday of the month is free because the opening game against Marshall is on a Thursday, but it’s also Labor Day weekend and the only thing worse than competing with football is competing with vacations.

Scheduling against the University of Miami night game on Sept. 11 should only be attempted by those trying to keep the guest list down, and even though Sept. 18’s opponent also is a MAC team, Ohio University’s last trip to the Shoe provided more suspense than it should have.

One approach for those marrying during a game is to do what one couple I know did in 2004—accept reality and make the game available at the reception. Coincidentally, the event was held at a facility somehow affiliated with the family of former OSU quarterback Bobby Hoying. So when it was determined on that day the venue didn’t have the necessary TV hookup to see the night game versus Northwestern, management understood the urgent need to fix the problem.

I would have felt bad for the bride except that her mom wore a Buckeye sweater to the reception, so she clearly already was used to OSU being priority No. 1. (And this was a wedding where the bride was several months pregnant and the officiant’s day job was as a part-time deejay, so clearly they weren’t standing on ceremony.)

Of course, this approach has its perils, too: OSU lost and the guests drowned their sorrows at the open bar.