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I wanted to save my wedding day story for the week of my anniversary, but because my very opinionated boss who I won’t say by name (editor’s note: “boss” is definining what I do very broadly) decided to write a few paragraphs slamming the fall ceremony, it’s been bumped up to…now.
I got married on a Saturday. In October. In Birmingham, Alabama. And BOTH Alabama and Auburn had home games that day.
No, I wasn’t crazy, and no, I wasn’t pregnant, as Clay alleges is the only acceptable reason for a fall wedding.
However, my “I need money to live” job allows for very limited time off during a point that would have otherwise been convenient for us. I mean, this writing gig is awesome but a girl’s gotta eat, ya know? Also, my husband and I got engaged three months after we started dating and were married seven months later over a built-in break for a conference thing at work. Those seven months allowed us just enough time to plan wedding crap and find, buy, then move into our house.
We knew we were planning the wedding for the day of the Alabama-Ole Miss (and Auburn-whoever) game that year. To get around whining and complaining from friends, we set the ceremony time for 11:00AM, meaning that the only thing anyone would miss would be the latter part of College GameDay and possibly a little bit of whatever the Lincoln-Financial “dirty windshield” game was that morning. Anyone who had tickets was automatically given a pass and exempt from coming.
No one really complained, mostly because we had the world’s tiniest wedding. The only people invited were blood family and found-family, so we ended up having a whopping 35 guests turn up. I had only a maid of honor, my sister, who is marginally interested in football, and Jonathan had just a best man, his longtime golf buddy who’s a Kentucky fan and shouldn’t really care anyway.
Everyone showed up and crammed into the chapel at the church where Jon and I attend by about 10:45AM. At promply 11AM, I dreamily floated down the 30 foot aisle solo, and we were off and running. We had written our own vows and words to one another, so within fifteen minutes, we were at the ‘you may now kiss the bride’ part and heading out the door. The reception was held across the street from the church in a place picked specifically because it had a television.
The first thing we did – before shoving surprisingly good cupcakes (from Target – did I mention this was low-budget?) in each other’s faces was put on the Dirty Windshield game. (The Three Daves were already rambling inanely about nothing). The next thing we did was the cupcake thing, and the third was to change our relationship statuses on Facebook. Because as we all know, you’re not really married until you’re married on Facebook.
Shortly after, we were wandering around the building and somehow made our way into the attached gym. Naturally, I found a basketball and threw it at Jon, challenging him to a game of one-on-one. Yup – I kicked off my heels and played basketball in my wedding dress. Shameless plug for our videographer, Claus Martel, who edited the footage of our game to include the SportsCenter theme as background music. Awesome.
When we’d had as much merriment and well-wishes as we could take, we hopped in the car and sped off to the honeymoon suite at a very nice Birmingham hotel to..ahem…enjoy being married. Winky winky.
As one would assume, having been up since 6AM and following some “marital activities”, we were both exhausted and passed out for an hour or so. When we woke up, Jon’s initial instinct was to put on the CBS afternoon game, which happened to be Auburn kicking someone’s ass. (Oh, who am I kidding…it had been on the whole time. Nothing says ‘romance’ like the voice of Verne Lundquist, am I right?) CBS showed some live-stream of the crowd in Tuscaloosa, which was getting ready for the Alabama night game.
I looked at Jon. He looked at me. He saw the longing in my green eyes…the same expression usually seen on a trucker in a strip club or a fat kid with his nose pressed up against the glass at a bakery, dreaming of chocolate cake.
Being the good husband he is, Jon asked “Do you want to go to the game?”
I debated for exactly 2.5 seconds, yelped “YES!” and jumped out of bed to get ready. Jon had only been to one Alabama game in his life – the 1992 Sugar Bowl National Championship – and that was because he played drums in the high school band that did the halftime show. I was determined that he’d never forget his first game at Bryant-Denny, and it was convenient that this momentous occasion is also tied to our anniversary each year.
Soon after our decision to go, we were cruising down I-59 towards Tuscaloosa in our car splattered with “Just Married” paint and nothing but a pocketful of wedding-present cash.
When we got there, I directed us to a parking lot close to the stadium. As we pulled in, cheers went up from crowds of tailgaters hanging out along Bryant Drive. We got out of the car and were greeted by a frat boy: “DUDE. Did you really get married today? That is so kick-ass, Dude!!”
It was like that the entire night. Anytime someone heard that it was our actual wedding day and we’d only been married for a total of five hours, Jon would get slapped on the back by other men with an “Attaboy!” I’d get a wide-eyed stare and a “You. Are. Amazing.” before they turned and looked disdainfully at their own wives who were undoubtedly filing their nails with a houndstooth emery board or playing Words With Friends on their phones.
The game was awesome. We had scored lower-level end zone tickets from a scalper (if you’re a cop, you didn’t read that), ate a couple of Denny Dogs, and got some souvenir cups for our collection. Bama put on a show and won by several touchdowns. We even got on the “Kiss Cam” in between the 3rd and 4th quarters.
I agree that it is awfully bad planning for anyone to have a Saturday night fall wedding in the south if they actually want guests to attend. However, if the bride and groom take their guests into consideration and plan with football games in mind (say, an early wedding that gives a pass to any ticket-holders), it’s not the end of the world.
To all those haters out there (including you, Clay), I’d like to say that my wedding day was not only unbelievably great because I married the love of my life, but it was that much more awesome because it INCLUDED football.
I wasn’t a June Bride. I definitely didn’t have a big, fancy wedding with trumpets and violins. We didn’t serve a five course sit-down meal or circulate tiny finger-foods no one can identify. And I didn’t spend my wedding weekend in an airport waiting to go on an expensive honeymoon.
I spent the best day of my life with my favorite football-watching partner doing exactly that – cheering on my beloved Tide with my new husband by my side.
And it was perfect.
(Editor’s note: Due to a technical issue, this article was previously attributed to Clay Travis. The byline has been corrected.)