Southern weddings: when football intercepts your day

featured photo by tiffany hughes photography

It’s that time of year again, one of my very favorite times of year…it’s football fall, y’all!

As any good SEC girl knows, football in the southeast reigns during the fall months and I am sure we have all heard a few good horror stories about guests that refused to attend your nuptials because it was on a football Saturday. Well, fear not fall brides as I am here to tell you that yes, you can plan a wedding around fall football and yes, it can be a ravishing success.

Expect an upset.
When my husband and I first got engaged, we knew we wanted a fall wedding. So I quickly went into research mode and pulled the last 11, yes, eleven years of our alma mater’s football schedule. I began to develop a list of what I called “historic Saturdays,” or the same weekends year after year that certain games fell on. Armed with this information, along with knowing what rivalry games would be played home or away that year, we selected our date. We had a long engagement, with almost a year and a half to plan, and everything was going swimmingly. Until, a full nine months into our engagement, the SEC announced the addition of two schools into our conference. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then I decided to go online and double check the schedule. It wasn’t even available. To make a long, tear-filled story short, the entire previous schedule was canned and all of those “historic Saturdays?” Yeah, they completely threw that right out the window! After several phone calls between our venue, photographer, band, and cake lady (she makes a mean red velvet and I was NOT about to give that up!), we were thankfully able to select a new date. photo by larry brown sports

Have a strong offense, but don’t forget about your defense.
This would seem like common sense, but I’m going to be super clear with it anyways. If you are looking to marry in the town where you met your sweetheart, like my husband and I chose, do not pick a home football date. It just won’t work. Hotels will be sold out, traffic will be a nightmare, and restaurants and venues will also be overwhelmed with alumni gatherings and charity functions. Instead, chose a smaller away game weekend or even better, a bye weekend. Local venues will be thrilled to have your business during this slow time and it’s possible to get better deals or special rates since there will be practically zero demand. photo by chanterelle photography

Run the play.
Once you’ve planned your perfect fall wedding Saturday, do keep your guests in mind. If the big game is on during the reception, there is nothing wrong with having a nice viewing area set up, maybe near the bar complete with comfortable, leather furniture or a cigar rolling station. If your band or DJ wants to keep the crowd engaged and give score updates, that’s fun too. While everyone is, of course, present to celebrate you and your new husband, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to incorporate those treasured college traditions. photo by danny k. photography

Accepting the Heisman.
Speaking of which…shakers are great, as long as it’s not super literal and your entire wedding party is not in said college colors. Other nods to your alma mater such as a groom’s cake, favor, or relevant and unique items for the out of town guest bags are just the right touch. Your entire reception ambience, bridal party, floral design and anything and everything in between does not need to be said college colors in order for you to win. Having the Georgia Tech Wramblin’ Wreck drive you and hubby away at the end of the night? Check. Getting some fun and intimate, but not overly hyped photographs on the fifty yard line in Vaught Hemmingway Stadium? Yes, please. Celebrating your groom’s love of crawfish boils and LSU football? Perfect. I am a huge fan of “less is more,” and this most definitely applies to weddings. Subtle, yet clearly connected pieces will do the trick. My personal favorite? Well none other than my groom’s Auburn cuff links, a signature drink that featured Toomer’s Lemonade, and musical entertainment by Tim Tyler and DJ Ozz…the quintessential Auburn experience. photo by

Cheers! Courtney

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