Of all the rules to being a true college football fan, the No. 1, iron-clad, unbreakable, try-this-at-the-risk-of-losing-lifelong-friends decree is a simple one: Never, ever get married on a college football Saturday. Short of admitting to enjoying Mark May’s work, getting married during the college football season is the easiest way imaginable to upset as many folks as possible from Tuscaloosa to Austin and all the way out to Eugene.
Of course there are always exceptions to rules, which makes us wonder: What if you had a wedding on a college football Saturday, but it actually took place at one of the sport’s oldest landmarks and the home of one of the most tradition rich teams in the country? Would that make it ok?
It’s a new-school question to one of life’s oldest traditions, and it’s one that young Michigan fans in committed relationships are asking themselves as we speak. That’s because according to an article on AnnArbor.com Monday, Michigan Stadium- aka the Big House- is quickly becoming a popular place for local residents and Michigan fans to host their weddings. That’s right, you can now say “I do” in the same place that Denard Robinson, Brady Hoke and company do battle against Ohio State, Notre Dame and the rest of the Big Ten.
The idea was hatched by current Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, who recently decided that after $226 million worth of renovations in the last couple years, it was time to get more use out of the facility. Outside of six or seven Michigan home games a year and the occasional attendance-record breaking college hockey game, the Big House was mostly dormant during the year. As a matter of fact, according to AnnArbor.com, during the 2011 calendar year, the facility went unused on 340 out of the 365 days of the calendar year.
Enter Brandon’s grand idea to use the facility to host weddings, and to do so at a reasonably priced rate. According to the article, a couple (likely clad in maize and blue) can say “I do” on the field for a cool $6,000, can have a reception in the club area for $9,000 and can combine the two for the low, low price of just $13,000. After the ceremony, fans are allowed to wander around the facility and- in the case of the recent wedding of Michigan alums Andy Li and Elaine Ng- kick field goals as well. While there was no word on the rate it would cost to hire Brady Hoke as an usher, admittedly this all sounds pretty damn cool.
And apparently it is to locals and Michigan alums alike, as getting married at the Big House has now become the big thing to do around Ann Arbor. Since the first wedding back on January 28, the facility has played host to five ceremonies total (including the Li-Ng affair on May 27) with seven more scheduled for the remainder of wedding season. And now that word has leaked, it’s impossible to say how many more will be scheduled in the future. Forget TV contracts and licensing deals, could the wedding game be college football’s next big cash cow?
Probably not, although admittedly it has become a nice little way to round up some spending cash for the University of Michigan. Athletics Events Coordinator Katy Hepner told AnnArbor.com:
“Weddings have definitely been a big chunk of our business.”
She then added “It’s unique, it can’t be replicated.”
We’ll see about that. You’ve got to think that somewhere Gene Smith is reading this article and trying to figure out how to squeeze in a couple weddings at the Horseshoe before the start of the season in September.
For all his insight, analysis and opinion on sports, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.