We love our football here in the South. If you’re not a die-hard fan, chances are you’re related to someone, or a lot of someones, who are. This can cause some wedding planning challenges when schedules are released and you suddenly discover your wedding date (that you selected months ago, thank you very much) is smack in the middle the home team playing against their biggest rivals. Before you start changing your wedding day game plan or demanding that guests choose you over the game (it’s not too much to ask, is it?), read on for our advice for planning your wedding around game day.
CONSIDER THE GAME
So, you’ve found yourself planning during football season? Don’t stress. Between college and pro ball, there will most likely always be a game on during prime wedding ceremony and reception times. If it’s not a huge rivalry or a really big game, chances are you won’t feel much impact on your wedding. Whew, crisis averted! Story over. Carry on. But wait…
DON’T RUN IN TO OVERTIME
Even if you don’t have any die-hards or a particularly big game to contend with, you still can be impacted by game day traffic. Sigh.
If your venue is nearby the stadium or your travel times coincide with the game letting out, be sure to be aware of how traffic can impact your wedding day schedule. The last thing you want to do is run late to your ceremony or reception because the streets are blocked. While the party can’t really start without you, sometimes it can’t be delayed either if the venue or the band or really any of your wedding pros have another event after yours. You also don’t want to get stuck paying for extra hours because you showed up late.
Take some time to plan your route to avoid high traffic areas, leave a little early, allow for extra time where needed. Also be sure to warn your guests about areas to avoid and make suggestions for which routes to take.
Invest in a police escort (it’s really worth it even if you’re not expecting bad traffic) and if you have a lot of out of town guests or just want to make travel easier for your guests in general, consider hiring buses to transport guests from location to location. This way they can watch the game on their phones safely while someone else does the driving. That’s what we call a win-win!
EMBRACE THE GAME
We’re realists here and we know that rivalries are strong and on those occasions the home team makes it to the playoffs or THE.REALLY.BIG.GAME. (We believe!), some guests might experience a conflict of interest. The struggle is real y’all.
There’s an old saying – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Some couples roll with this sage advice and make the game accessible to guests at the reception. Many times they accomplish this by setting up a game-viewing area at the reception. While this might assure that guests show up, there are other things to consider.
“Know that if you have TVs with the game on, people will be watching it,” advises Blakely Santos of Belle Amour Weddings. “This can take away from guests actually enjoying the reception that you’ve spent so much time and money planning.”
It might be tempting to go the completely opposite route and make your wedding a “game-free” zone. Depending on the game, that play might also make your wedding a guest-free zone.
This could be a blessing in disguise if you’re looking for ways to cut the guest list and save money – you might even be able to upgrade the bar – however, if you really want your guests to show up and enjoy your wedding, the key is balance.
Know that you’re probably going to lose a few of those Season Ticket holders to the actual stadium and a few more might be lured in to the sports bar down the street. Some might even covertly watch the game at your wedding – we see you hiding in the back row watching the game on your phone Uncle Al! Sometimes just accepting this makes it easier to enjoy yourself in spite of a few distracted guests.
REALLY EMBRACE THE GAME
But what if you’re a fan too? Why not REALLY embrace the game? If you really want to go all in, there are countless ways to have fun with a game day wedding.
Incorporate the team colors into the décor.
Have the team-inspired groom’s cake (and eat it too).
Get your band or DJ to announce when your team scores. (Air horns optional)
Have your caterer serve “Dirty Bird” Gumbo. (Sorry, not sorry Atlanta)
Play the fight song.
In short, have fun! You can win with a game day wedding!