Girdiron Bride

Of course for every wedding everyone wants to know all about the bride. You will be barraged with questions and comments in the months leading up to the wedding and the day of.

What are you wearing?

Where did you find those shoes?

Oh my gosh – your hair – who did it!?

These and numerous other questions are what everyone will be asking and talking about on the day of the wedding. After all, it really is a day all about you! It is the one day you can get away with all of the attention so relish the admiration.

My dress was purchased at David’s Bridal. I’m not their biggest fan. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of service. It really is a numbers equation. This amount of future brides seen = dresses sold and a commission. Thus the consultants come across a bit cheeky and impatient. My consultant had the audacity to scold me stating I had to try on every dress she brought back to show me. She is lucky I didn’t take the hideous dress I could  parachute out of an airplane in and shoved it over her held together with duct tape!  With that said, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that their service most likely varies location by location as they are a large commercial chain. What you are really getting at their stores is convenience and variety. Their stores carry a wide array of dresses in all styles from top-notch elegance to simple but classy in every price bracket catering to nearly any brides budget.

Before my appointment I printed out images of dresses from their website to provide an idea of what I liked or would want to consider. I highly encourage this idea as it will probably save about an hour of time looking at some hideous formal attire.

Personally, I wasn’t interested in half of my wedding budget being expended on a dress that I would only be wearing for one day, and while I wanted it to be pretty I also wanted it to blend with our fun theme. I opted for a dress that reminded me of a Greek goddess design. It was a one should mesh floor length gown with an intricately beaded waste and jeweled embellishment on the shoulder. It was just the right amount of dazzle, class and charm for game day!

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I’m not a fan of things floating around or lying in front of my face so I decided on a headband with jewels and decor matching the dress in place of a traditional veil. It was also purchased at David’s Bridal, but after discovering the same band in other stores for half the price, in hindsight I would have bought at a different shop. My hair was placed in an up-do with the headband placed in front.

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I went simple on jewelry letting the dress speak for itself. A necklace would have been overbearing with the shoulder reaching across the bottom neckline. Dangled silver earrings accented the look perfectly. I’m not one who likes wearing jewelry on my wrist otherwise a jeweled bracelet would have been lovely.

My purse was purchased from SylSyl’s shop on Etsy. She sews absolutely darling clutches in a variety of colors with a few different styles at an affordable cost. Mine was silver and royal blue with a shiny brooch at the corner. I gave my bridesmaids one in silver with a blue diagonal sash as a gift. Each one had our names stitched inside. The shoes I wore were of course royal blue and I purchased them at DSW. It was difficult finding decent shoes in the proper New York Giants blue shade. At the store I selected three styles and tried them on for size and fit, and then checked online for which ones had my color and had them shipped to me.

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And finally, no brides attire is complete without her bouquet. Except for the men’s boutonnieres all of the flowers were done by Abloom Flowers and Gifts – they really are wonderful at taking any idea or motif and communicating it through flowers. I carried a full bouquet hand tied with blue Delphinium, white call lilies, blue thistle, white carnations, white spray roses and a touch of baby’s breath. Perfect flower beauty to show Big Blue Pride!

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When purchasing my attire I selected items that I could use again after the wedding. I plan to shorten the dress and dye it so I will be able to wear it to future dressy events. The shoes are perfect for a night out to add some color to a black dress or other simple colored outfit. Of course the purse could be used just about anytime, and hey what girl doesn’t put jewelry to use?!

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Featured on The Knot

The Knot featured Gridiron Matrimony! My wedding was published in their blog in addition to an album in the Real Weddings section of their website.

This Couple Really Loves Football — and Their Wedding Proves It

It is also the featured real fall wedding on Fall Weddings by The Knot with a special album and details captions about the wedding.

Thinking outside the box while planning our special day was a blast. Thank you to The Knot for highlighting our game day on your wedding inspiration and planning platform. I truly hope it encourages future brides to have fun with their upcoming nuptials, and let the themes imbue their personality and love.

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Gameday Ceremony

While a ceremony isn’t the longest portion of wedding day activities it is perhaps the most important because it isn’t legal if you don’t say “I do” and get that marriage license signed!

We wanted out ceremony to tie in with our football theme and this is how we did it from the attire to the service.

The groom and groomsmen were looking posh in black suits accented with burgundy vests and gold ties. All of them and the dads wore a football boutonniere. The bridesmaids wore blue dresses purchased from Macy’s carrying a small bouquet of white flowers.

Photo Credit: Look Wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Look Wedding Photography

In place of a traditional flower girl and ring bearer we had our own cheer team! My young siblings carried a banner reading Kickoff Time. She was sporting a cute blue skirt cheerleader outfit and he sported his Washington Redskins Jersey. They also led the wedding recessional with another banner titled Touchdown. We used an online company to prints great 3′ x 2′ full color vinyl banners for approximately $7.00 each not including shipping.

Photo Credit: Look Wedding Photography Banner Design: CTS Graphics

Photo Credit: Look Wedding Photography
Banner Design: CTS Graphics

Design: CTS Graphics

Design: CTS Graphics

Our ceremony was delivered by an officiant with Weddings by Sandy . What is great about working with one of their officiants is that they work with you to create a ceremony perfectly worded for a perfect wedding day. After signing the agreement our officiant she sent us a prepared booklet that was a collection of ceremonies, prose, readings, formats etc. We were able to mix and match the various selections and/or write our own script. Any couple can create a wonderful service that truly communicates their uniqueness and awesomeness.

For us, I was able to incorporate football terminology in the vows I vote for each of us! Our officiant also produced and presented a lovely booklet of our printed ceremony and lovely vow cards.

Groom to Bride

In seasons good and bad
From preseason through the playoffs and Superbowl
In good health and injury, despite tackles and fumbles
Weather the New York Giants win or lose
I promise to support and always love you, in our game of marriage
And take you as my wife

Bride to Groom

In seasons good and bad
From preseason through the playoffs and Superbowl
In good health and injury, despite tackles and fumbles
Weather the Washington Redskins win or lose
I promise to support and always love you, in our game of marriage
And take you as my husband

collage

Ceremony Field

All of our Gridiron Matrimony events took place at the lovely historic Kentlands Mansion nestled in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We held an outdoor ceremony in the intimate and quaint side garden on the mansion grounds. This is where our football theme began!

At the garden entrance we set up a display of fall foliage and images for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. Hay bales were placed on the right and left sides of the aisle way entry. Gold and burgundy mums potted in white and blue baskets sat on top with fall foliage including pumpkins and gourds sat around and on the hay. Retro map images were designed and printed by RetroLeague. They design vintage artwork for various teams of all sports and sell their work on Etsy. I framed the images so they could sit on the display.

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Along each side of the aisle we placed footballs in place of traditional flowers or decorations on the chairs. We purchased the ones with rubber material instead of leather as they are cheaper, and purchased them rather inexpensively at Five and Below.

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Lastly, no ceremony would be complete without music. The processional song we selected, what all football fans know as the Classic Battle by Sam Spence, theme music from the NFL Films. It got everyone into the Gridiron Matrimony frame of mind! Let’s go Team Mann!

*Editors Note – Photography done by Look Wedding Photography

When It’s All Wrong, Just Laugh

Most of 2013 was consumed with planning our Gridiron Matrimony event. It was a blast planning our special day which took place this past on the 9th of November.  While the evening was overflowing with joy, tears and excitement, what also took over was a sense of self-pride. I proved to all the skeptics that it doesn’t take a year to plan a wedding, and how to make football classy for nuptial celebration. Not to mention, stress free!

After our wedding we pretty much founds ourselves smacked into the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Thus, 2014 has been devoted to post wedding activities i.e. thank you notes, getting wedding photos and sending around, creating wedding album, sharing vendor reviews….. and so on.

One of the readings I asked a friend to deliver at our ceremony was entitled, A Time to Laugh by Sister Joan Chittister originally published in her book, There is a Season. I read it over and over and over while organizing for our big day. Family and guests kept asking how I managed to remain calm and collected the day of. While I tend to have a rather easy-going personality; I am pretty sure my sanity is largely attributed to the sage advice of this wisely written prose.

Laugh when people tell a joke. Otherwise you might make them feel bad.

Laugh when you look into a mirror. Otherwise you might feel bad.

Laugh when you make a mistake. If you don’t, you’re liable to forget how ultimately unimportant the whole thing really is, whatever it is.

Laugh with small children… They laugh at mashed bananas on their faces, mud in their hair, a dog nuzzling their ears, the sight of their bottoms as bare as silk. It renews your perspective. Clearly nothing is as bad as it could be.

Laugh at situations that are out of your control. When the best man comes to the altar without the wedding ring, laugh. When the dog jumps through the window screen at the dinner guests on your doorstep, sit down and laugh a while.

When you find yourself in public in mismatched shoes, laugh — as loudly as you can. Why collapse in mortal agony? There’s nothing you can do to change things right now. Besides, it is funny. Ask me; I’ve done it.

Laugh at anything pompous. At anything that needs to puff its way through life in robes and titles… Will Rogers laughed at all the public institutions of life. For instance, “You can’t say civilization isn’t advancing,” he wrote. “In every war they kill you in a new way.”

Finally, laugh when all your carefully laid plans get changed; when the plane is late and the restaurant is closed and the last day’s screening of the movie of the year was yesterday. You’re free now to do something else, to be spontaneous… to take a piece of life and treat it with outrageous abandon.

Everyone expects monumental life events, i.e. weddings, to be perfect; for there to be no errors. The blunt truth is we don’t live in a perfect world. People make mistakes and things will go wrong – – even on fairy tale days. All the imperfections are what make these wonderful moments in life perfect. The moments one looks back on five, ten or even twenty-five years from now and think that day was amazing.

If the worst that happens on the big day is any of the following….

– Using a chef’s knife from the caterer to cut the cake because you left the cake knife in the car parked at the hotel or

– The words conjugal bedding are used in your step-dad’s toast or

– Your close friend allows a date to crash your wedding who wasn’t on the guest list

– Dad drinks one too many glasses of Scotch and invites all your friends over to his house for Christmas while everyone is on the shuttle traveling back to the hotel or

– The DJ plays the song you were supposed to get announced to after you were announced as Bride and Groom…

…… it was probably a rather unforgettable and epic night of celebration and fun!

If you happen to be a future bride, maybe a member of the wedding party or a family member along for the ride I highly encourage you to sit back once in a while when all seems to be going wrong and just laugh!

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Gameday Program

One of the first items that guests would be seeing at our wedding was the programs. Thus we wanted it to set the pace for the entire evening. Not only did it need to imbue the spirit of football,  but also communicate the playfulness and friendship that had grown in our relationship.

We created a football game style program. It was printed in booklet form  and 4.25 x 5.5 inches in size. The front cover featured us (duh!) entitled Gridiron Matrimony Event Program and stated the date and location of the wedding. Inside opened up to the Wedding Game Day Schedule of Events listing out times for ceremony, cocktail reception, wedding party/family photographs and reception. Next was devoted to a description of our venue the Kentlands MansionOur Team Roster acknowledged the wedding party, our parents, officiant and all who participated in the ceremony. Order of Ceremony  was laid out as a playbook. Of course no celebration would be complete without beverages and dinner. We incorporated our menu in the program appropriately titled Celebrate and Tailgate. All aspects of our bar, buffet dinner and dessert were listed out corresponding to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters. The back cover had a playful picture of us along with the following quote:

We are all on our own paths, all on our own journeys.
Sometimes the paths cross, and people arrive at the crossing
points at the same time and meet each other. There are
greetings, pleasantries are exchanged, and then they move on.
But then once in a while the pleasantries become more,
friendship grows, deeper links are made, hands are joined
and love flies. The friendship has turned to love.”

– Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd

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All of the programs were placed in a football gift bag. One of my sisters graciously agreed to be our greeter. As guests arrived to the venue she directed them where to go and handed out the programs.

Most of all we had fun working on the design and copy creating a memorable program for our special day! Design by CTS Graphics and pictures by Look Wedding Photography!

Gameday Invitation

When planning first commenced for our wedding I was posed with the question by many people:

How do you do football at a wedding??!!

While I had a few creations in mind, frankly, I had no idea how I was going to make football classy enough for a wedding. At times Google searches of football decorations and parties left me rather apathetic. I was afraid I was going to wind up with a birthday party fit for eight-year-olds.

Like any event it all came to down to the small details. Discovering each piece and finding its fit with the puzzle. The first step was imbuing the correct  image of the wedding.

Every time I explained to someone our wedding was football themed it followed an inquisitive look pondering if we would all be down at the local watering hole in our jeans and jersey’s shoving nachos and Old Bay wings in our faces. While that makes for a fabulous Sunday afternoon it just wasn’t the image I was trying to instill, intentionally or unintentionally.

It all came down to the title. We needed a title that would communicate the elegance of a wedding, but incorporate the spirit of football. Gridiron Matrimony was created as a result of Google searching football terms when working out a name for this blog. Our pending nuptials were no longer a wedding. It was Gridiron Matrimony.

Setting the pace was our engagement photos. We had them taken at a local high football field wearing our football jerseys. It turned into a, “who wears #10 better” competition respectively flashing our teams Quarterbacks, RG III and Eli Manning. We also designed a logo resembling the shape of a football using our initials. All of these images were utilized throughout the wedding preparations.

To continue carrying out the theme we had our invitation laid out and printed in the format of a football game ticket. Using one of our engagement photos, the logo and of course burgundy and blue in the design to put it all together. Two other cards were printed on linen paper that included general guest information and directions to our venue. The RSVP TicketInvite-2was a post card where guests could check: Touchdown: We delightfully accept or Fumble: We regretfully decline. We used our logo in the back with printed return address.

RSVPfront

We had a blast working on the design and the invitations were a hit with our guests. Gridiron Matrimony was swiftly becoming the buzzword!

The Pre-Game Story

Gridiron Groom and I got engaged mid May of this year. Factually, it was ring official closer to the end of the month. We both had discussed marriage, and it wasn’t a matter of did we or didn’t we, so much as it was when. Like nearly any other female, the general layout for our wedding was mostly designed in my head. He only had one stipulation….it couldn’t be newsworthy until he had placed bling on my hand. Hell, who I am to complain that you want to plop down some gold for admiration!!?? As I picked up the computer to commence perusing rings there was only thing to say:

“Well, then, shall I email you these ring ideas or shall we go shopping!?”20130523_200436

Soon enough we found ourselves standing at Helzberg Diamonds. Before us stood a charismatic sales woman who was rather dismayed any bride-to-be could act stubborn enough to base her ring choice nearly, solely on price, and very little on fancy-shmancy. There were multiple moments I would be eyeing a ring and Greg nodded that loud look,

“Come on! I’m not that cheap.”

Alas, we had come to a decision. Sitting on the shelf by its lonesome it wasn’t a style I’d typically go for, but it looked perfect when I tried it on.

Our proposal story isn’t one of sap and cheese. It’s not who we are. What it is, is a fun story about how we got to select the ring together with the middle diamond settings symbolizing our past, present and future.

The next step was scheduling a date. Generally most couples choose their date around symbolism, venue availability or often common a year in advance ensuring sufficient time to plan the event. Then there are people like us (or maybe not). We cater our entire wedding in the spirit of football; more specifically our devotion to the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. This doesn’t just mean a football cake. Every detail of our wedding is planned to the theme of football. Thus: Gridiron Matrimony!

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Our date required a scientific approach. I laid out all of our teams games on a calendar specifically noting Redskins home games (he is a season ticket holder). Let’s face it, no monumental life event can interfere with game day. There were four dates available at the venue we were highly considering in the fall months I preferred. I compared each of these dates with my calendar……

  • There is NOT a Redskins home game the following day. In fact, their game is the Thursday prior to our Saturday wedding.
  • The New York Giants have a bye week the weekend before. I will have a lot of details to finalize that final week leading up to our big day….. final details just cannot be a distraction to game day.
  • With all games being laid out on my calendar and I can coordinate around games when we need to be somewhere wedding related.
  • I provided my mom, who hosted the shower, with best dates so as not to conflict with watching football.

…..and Saturday, November 9th was perfect!

Initially I started this blog with this post (Yes, the one you are reading now – stop scratching your head) back in July with the intention of writing posts about the stories and ideas of Gridiron Matrimony as it unfolded. I soon realized that I was too distracted by Gridiron Matrimony planning itself, and would ruin the excitement and surprise of our big day by publishing it all right away. At last, I refrained. Now here I am two weeks out from our wedding after approximately six months of planning. That’s right kids – you don’t have to have a year to plan a wedding.

So, here is the story of Gridiron Matrimony. Hope you enjoy as much as I have putting together the game plans! Go Giants! Er……….

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