The Big Game vs the Big Day

So, OK

This time a year ago, if I brought up the word ‘wedding’ in a sentence The Mister would have a Pavlov’s Dog response, but instead of salivating, he would look at me with rabbit-in-headlight eyes.

Whether he liked it or not, he had to listen up, I mean, there could be a surprise ‘what did I just say?’ quiz popped on him in the minutes following the conversation.

But without dabbling in sexual politics that men are just not that interested in weddings, the difference is when I say ‘wedding’ in a sentence these days, it’s met with a slightly more glazed-over look – because let’s be honest, almost a year since Our Speshal Day, we’re a little more Frankie Goes To Hollywood than Frankenstein.

We can relax.

However I found that bringing up the word ‘wedding’ in the same sentence as ‘AFL Grand Final’ (for my non-Australian readers, think of the most batshit-crazy important sporting event on the calender, such as the Superbowl, or the World Cup Final) I would get a surprisingly enthusiastic response.

Consider this question… ‘Would you go to a friend’s wedding if it was on the same day as the grand final?’

Dave and Gemma Spencer renewed their vows at a Dockers-themed wedding at Fremantle Oval in August 2012. Photo: SophistiKated Photography.
Dave and Gemma Spencer renewed their vows at a Dockers-themed wedding at Fremantle Oval in August 2012. Photo: SophistiKated Photography.

Sure, you might get the odd person that would simply answer yes or no, but in my experience, every single bloke I have asked this to has wanted some time to flesh it out.

When I put it to my menfolk friends, their answer was always, and I mean always, prefaced with a stunning look, like they just experienced their own Sophie’s Choice moment.

‘Well that depends…’ they would say, before launching into a bevy of the most detailed for-and-against arguments.

This one question would lead to many more. So many more.

What time of the day is the ceremony? Will we have access to a TV or at least a radio – no it has to be a TV. Do we have to go? Do we have a choice? Do we really like the couple that much?

The thing is, you’re a brave person to hold your Big Day on the same day as AFL’s own Big Day, but there are ways of doing it and keeping everyone reasonably happy.

Firstly, you can just hold it on that fateful September day and everyone else be damned. If this is you, I bid thee farewell until the next post (I promise I won’t leave it a million weeks before the next one).

Or you can accept that you might have to go the extra mile to coax the who-has-a-wedding-on-grand-final-day-anyway-uuurrghh tragics in.

I’ve been to a wedding that happened to cross paths with the grand final that was held by a couple that made a genuine mistake in setting the date – much like the wedding I went to on April Fools’ Day.  The first red flag is that the date is usually pretty easy to come by. And then it dawns on them why.

The grand final wedding went off without a hitch.

And, before you think it was one of those themey, team colour wearing kind of wedding, I am ashamed to say it wasn’t. It was very straighty-one-eighty traditional. That if it weren’t for most of the blokes stressfully looking at watches and silently giving each other knowing looks, you’d be none the wiser.

The thing about ‘typical’ weddings, is that there is usually a break between the ceremony and the reception for bridal party photos.

This particular grand final day/wedding I went to? The ceremony and reception bookended the big game. A stroke of genius.

It saved people from ducking out to cars to check the radio or not-so-surreptitiously checking the AFL app under a tablecloth at an ‘unplugged’ strictly-no-social-media-killjoy wedding.

These people are not having a good time. They are freaking out. You are not having a good time because you’re seeing the guys on the dancefloor looking at each other, gesturing to their watches and making wordless rendezvous to find a TV.

While the grand final couple were having their photos with their bridal party, we were down at the local pub in our formal duds having beers and nachos.  What we didn’t realise was that the couple were switched on enough to provide the other people, that didn’t want to blow a couple of pineapples on such an extra-curricular activity, with a reasonably sized TV screen at the reception site.

So everyone was happy. Everyone except those in the bridal party that were footy fans.

The thing is, before you set The Date, think about the date.

Gemma Spencer's 'Sherrin' football bouquet. Photo: SophistiKated Photography.
Gemma Spencer’s ‘Sherrin’ football bouquet. Photo: SophistiKated Photography.

Despite knowing people that would never hold a wedding on ‘blackout’ dates such as birthdays, sporting grand finals, Halloween and New Years’ Eve for example, I also know couples that have – quite consciously.

Brides who clutch their pearls and tell themselves that their family and friends would never silently skulk out to immerse themselves in a bit of white line fever every ten minutes are deluding themselves.

This – this right here – is the trade-off.

Having a wedding on grand final day and don’t want to get upset about it?

  • Hire a big screen.
  • Bookend the game with the ceremony and reception.
  • Have a Grand Final wedding with all the themey colours and maybe have a team-inspired wedding dress.
  • Seriously reconsider the date.

It’s not easy to try to make people forget about the biggest game on the calendar and to focus on your biggest date on the calendar. Especially when they’re the same date.

However, your grand final wedding could be that one that all the footy fans remember and when the question of ‘Would you go to a friend’s wedding if it was on the same day as the grand final?’ is put to them in future, they’ll think about how you handled sharing that date with that goddamn piece of pigskin and think…


‘That was a bloody good wedding’.


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