There is a great cost-saving trend that finds couples booking their reception venues on Friday evenings or Sundays. While it makes it a bit more difficult for traveling friends and family, it can literally save thousands of dollars by choosing any weekend time other than Saturday. Off-peak weddings can make a huge monetary difference and, for budget conscious couples, sometimes the only way to have a dream wedding. I happened to be a reader at a lovely “winter wonderland” themed wedding during the most infamous of Sundays: the Super Bowl. The wedding was planned on that date because the hotel ballroom at a prestigious Chicago venue was over $13,000 cheaper to host on that Sunday than on the Saturday. As neither the groom nor the bride were big NFL fans, it didn’t even dawn on them that the first weekend in February was, well, the biggest television event of the year.
After they put their full payment down on the venue, they sent out the invitations. As soon as the first family member received his gorgeous wintry glittered envelope, the groom’s older brother called the couple. He informed them that they had booked the venue for Super Bowl Sunday; while they weren’t sure of who would be in the event quite yet, it was becoming clear that the beloved Chicago Bears may very well be in the running. To die hard Chicago sports fans, it would be an incredibly hard decision to choose the wedding over the game. However, it was too late: the money was in, the date was set, and the invitations were all away. Family and friends would have to decide between cheering on the bride and groom or Rex Grossman. RSVPs, not unexpectedly, were slow in being returned.
When the final count came out, it was clear who won: it wasn’t the Colts v. Bears, it was the bride plus groom. The Best Man’s toast, a native of the Windy City, commented mightily in his toast about the upcoming game and the analogy was that family comes first, no matter what.
Since this was before the iPhone was released, people were receiving text message updates and sharing the scores throughout the reception and dancing. Occasionally, the DJ would make mention of the score. It was rumored that some of the cousins went to the hotel lobby to drink and watch the game, but we didn’t notice if they did pop out once in a while. The party was delightful, but a lesson was learned: double-check with friends and family about your wedding date. It might be budgetarily better for you, but a schedule conflict may take away from your celebration.