Real Life. It's a pain in the rear sometimes. Especially when someone close to you, or worse, someone you've never even met plans a wedding for a Saturday in the fall. Don't these people know that your consumption of Michigan football, no matter how painful it has been lately, is far more important than some random wedding?!
But attending weddings are a fact of life, especially for people in their mid-20's to mid-30's who find themselves constantly dragged to all corners of this country to see some second cousin marry someone you've never met on the same day as the Michigan-Notre Dame game.
However, I must preface this post with a bit of a confession. You see, I too am guilty of committing such a heinous travesty.
The year was 2006. Young a blindly in love, I made the tactical error of not having a copy of the schedule with me when my lovely fiance and I were visiting reception halls in the winter of that year. We found the perfect place. Old, but not in a bad way. Huge classic Spanish stone building with big windows and a tile roof. Air Conditioned(!). Catered with nice bar "flow". Right in that slightly unaffordable price range but not too bad. It was perfect.
We desperately wanted an autumn wedding, but knowing that Michigan didn't have a bye week, I held out for hopefully Central Michigan on September 9, or maybe Minnesota on the 30th which was a night game on the road. But they only had one open Saturday...
When I heard the reception hall coordinator say the date, I drew a blank. Central? Wisconsin? Notre Dame? Michigan State??? ARGH!!!
Where's my iPhone? Oh, wait...those haven't been invented yet. Where's my wallet schedule? It's on the fridge! My fiance is looking at me...eyes brimming with excitement. The coordinator is looking at me. What do I say? Say something!!
"Umm...yeah, that sounds great. I'm sure it will be awesome."
The rest of the day I'm going over the schedule in my head. I get home, race to my fridge schedule magnet to see what I had just done.
At first, I rationalize.
"It's cool. It's a road game. No harm done. Notre Dame is going to be good this year anyway. So I'm saving myself the anguish of having to watch it live. We never play well in South Bend. I'm glad I don't have to watch it."
The cherry on top is that the wedding and the kickoff were both set for 3:30.
We all know the rest of the story. 47-21 over the #2 ranked team in the country. One of the greatest wins for any Michigan team in South Bend. A offensive masterpiece. An defensive show of force. It set the table for an eleven-game winning streak that year.
Looking back, it was actually sort of fun getting score updates after the wedding. I couldn't really believe it when people would tell me what the score was. 20-7 in the first quarter? 34-14 at the half? What!?!?!
Now if Michigan had laid and egg that day, those score updates would have been brutal. But as it turned out, it wasn't. It was an awesome feeling knowing that Michigan was smacking around the Irish on the road on my wedding day.
As for my guests. As it turns out, I later discovered that in a tiny room in some random corner of the reception hall, a small group of dedicated Michigan men found a television which was able to receive the over-the-air NBC broadcast. Hence, the instant score updates which I never questioned where they were coming from.
My wedding was not my only Michigan gameday wedding I've attended. Central Michigan 2003. Minnesota 2005. Eastern Michigan 2007. Purdue 2008. Notre Dame 2009. Spring game 2011.
What can I say? People like to get married. And they like to have people watch.
The advent of smart-phones has been a true blessing for those displaced sports fans stuck at weddings. Live audio, updated stats, even streaming video if you're lucky, have made the fall wedding much more tolerable.
Just remember though...you're wedding date, often your spouse or significant other may not appreciate an unsightly earbud, or your attention being drawn away from love's epic majesty. So tread lightly.
If you find yourself in the wedding party, it can be a hit or miss. If the bride is a stickler, and would notice if her new husband's buddies attention is not on them, she might get irritated (and you don't want to irritate a bride on her wedding day). Or, you could get lucky and get a relaxed bride and groom (or even better, two Michigan fans) who just want their party to have fun. In that case, whip out that iPhone/Droid/Blackberry and cheer on the Maize & Blue.
On a related note...not to make every married Michigan fan jealous, but Dave Brandon has come out recently and said that the Big House would be an ideal venue for a wedding between two Michigan love-birds.
“This stadium is one of the assets we have. We have this beautiful structure that’s being used predominantly seven days a year. If we can come up with occasional opportunities to host other events that will draw the attention of folks and will be interesting and fun and financially viable, we’d love to do it.”The Brandon vision would be the field would be used for weddings, and the suites being used for the receptions.
I was at the unveiling of the night game throwback jersey last month which was held in the east-side structure of the stadium in the Jack Roth Stadium Club. It's a posh lounge decked out in Maize and Blue with plenty of space for a few hundred guests. I remember thinking it would be as an ideal place as any for a wedding reception.
I can pretty much guarantee that renting out that space would have sent our wedding budget in a tailspin. However, I can also guarantee that I would have certainly investigated that opportunity thoroughly.
So, what say you? How do you cope with being a Michigan fan stuck at a wedding on gameday? Share your stories in the comments or email me, and maybe if there's any good ones, I'll follow up this story with another post with your autumn wedding day tales.