Friday, September 2, 2016

Survival Guide for Planning a Gainesville Wedding During Football Season

Yes, Gainesville, Florida certainly is a small town with a rather large Football problem, and make no mistake, that's how we love it! (Go Gators!!!)

However, if necessity or choice dictates that you plan your wedding to be during this 4 month long city holiday, you'll need some pointers to help you survive with all your wedding awesomeness in tact.

image by Russell Martin Photography
First: Check the Football Schedule, then Weigh the Pro's and Con's of picking a Home Game for your wedding date

Pro's: Many alumni who may also be getting married, often prefer to be in the heart of the Swamp for home games, so you'll have an easier time booking vendors, getting the venue you want (as long as it's not on campus) and the roads will be completely clear during game time.

Con's: For home games, the population of our town literally triples. This means that hotels from Ocala to Lake-City sellout and double or triple their prices. This will be a concern for your out-of-town guests that you'll need to be aware of.

Take note - you'll need to find routes to your venue, before and after game time, that steer completely around campus, or you'll end up gridlocked in stadium traffic.

image by Russell Martin Photography
Second: Home or Away Game - book your vendors as early as you possibly can.

Once you've secured your venue and date, if it's a home game, start with your Hotel Block for out of town guests. This will be one of the hardest things to secure, so the earlier the better. If you're planning any kind of party bus or rental cars for your bridal party or guests, do this early too.

If your date turns out to be an an away game or the bi-week, these are the most sought after days each Fall - so book early and fast to secure the vendors you love. Start with your venue, then move quickly to vendors that only work one wedding a day (wedding planner, photography, videography, etc). Hotels and rental cars are also in high demand during these weekends because so many couples are getting married.

Some things to consider: If your Cocktail Hour or Reception is during Game-Time

If your guest count includes a decent number of football fans, sadly enough, they'll want to keep up with the game during festivities. To be fair, I've had many die-hard fan couples who want the updates too. There's a few different ways to keep guests updated, without turning your reception into a sports bar substitute. Pick your favorite or mix and match:

Have the DJ give scoring updates every so often between songs for guests. This is always a hit and will be a nice low-key option.

Make a Chalkboard Score Sign and designate a special fan to keep it up-to-date. We made this one for last year's SEC Championship Game:

image by KiKi Creates
Place a small TV outside in the cocktail area or a back corner of the reception room that shows the game. Only turn it on at kick-off and make sure the volume is very low, or on subtiles only. It's best if the screen isn't visible from the dance floor or guest tables.

As a side note, many of these issues factor in during Graduation Weeks and Gator Nationals here as well.

Whether you choose to Gator your wedding up to the hilt or pretend Orange and Blue craziness isn't going on within a mile of your wedding - getting married during football season is totally doable. Just plan early and you'll have a fantastic Gainesville wedding you've been dreaming about.

image by LoveStorey Photography
P.S. Yes - that image is totally IN THE GATOR TUNNEL! :) Did you know you can rent The Swamp now for weddings?! How amazing would an away game wedding date be there?!

Happy Football Season and get planning!  

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