It doesn't matter how beautiful or entertaining your wedding reception is, if you've planned your wedding on a date that coincides with an important football game, in my professional opinion, you're pretty much sunk. Let me tell you why.
I had a fall wedding group a couple of years ago that had only one wedding date option when they hired me — it had to be on the only Saturday that the Ohio State Buckeyes had a week off. The father of the bride wasn't willing to go ANYWHERE if the Buckeyes had a game, or if there was the possibility of a playoff. So we planned around him.
You might think it's ridiculous to plan the most important day of your life around a sporting event — and it probably is — but if you want to ensure that the die-hard fans in your group will actually be present and accounted for when you get married, you have to think about game-day date conflicts.
True Story: A wedding I planned fell on the same night as a playoff game. The bride did not want the television going in the wedding venue, but her father and his friends kept turning it back on. As a result, the guests were broken up into small groups — with some of them glued to the screen — and the party wasn't getting going the way it should with half of the guests distracted. The bride was distraught.
I kept shooing the guests back outside to the party, but then somebody would yell or cheer, and all the guys would go rushing back into the villa to see what had happened. When the father of the bride told me hold off on the daddy/daughter dance for a bit because they'd just gotten a first down, I became just as frustrated as the already-furious bride.
My solution? I went outside, around the back of the villa, and disconnected the satellite dish. And pocketed the connector, just in case somebody got the brilliant idea to check the hookup.
My husband, meanwhile, pretended to be watching the game with the crew. When the screen went blank, he told the guests it happens all the time on tropical islands. That's true, just not in this particular case. After quite a bit of grumbling and complaining, the football fans rejoined the rest of the wedding guests at the reception, and we finally had a daddy/daughter dance.
Fortunately, for me, nobody ever figured out that the signal loss was less than an act of God. I reconnected the cable before the bride tossed her bouquet, and the TV was back on when everybody went back inside at the end. But I was lucky. And I hope I never have to do it again, because I totally would.
While we'd all like to believe that our loved ones consider our wedding day far more important than any sporting event, but it's better to put things in perspective, and make a smart decision when you choose your date.
*Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of * How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.