COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Growing up in Ohio — the Midwest, Texas, the South — anywhere in the United States where college football is king, at some point, you have probably heard: Don’t have a wedding on a Saturday in the fall.
For decades, June was the month of the bride. Folklore links it all the way to the ancient Roman calendar, of which the month is named for “Juno,” the goddess of love and marriage. But now, October is queen.
“Columbus is booming with weddings,” said Natasha Churches, owner and principal planner at Aisle & Co. “Business is booming.”
Thirty-five percent of weddings in the United States take place in the fall, according to a study from wedding website “The Knot.” The most popular wedding date for 2022 is Oct. 22, the same study found. In Columbus, Churches said Labor Day weekend and Ohio State’s upcoming football bye week on Oct. 15 are her busiest.
“Venues are booking out like a year, two years in advance,” she said. “I’m in the heat of wedding season right now in fall, and we have about 40 weddings left for the year.”
In 2021, the top five most popular wedding dates were all in the fall, a trend that does not seem to be slowing down.
“We’re going full steam ahead,” Churches said.
One of Aisle & Co.’s most recent couples, Lisa Combs and Ryan Peiffer, who met while students at Ohio State, are huge Buckeyes football fans but also knew they wanted a fall wedding.
“Lisa’s dad is a Mega-Buckeye fan, like a super fan,” Peiffer said. “I think the first thing he said to us even before ‘congrats’ when we told him we were engaged was, ‘Don’t schedule your wedding on a game day.’ He’s assured us many times over the past year, he would not show up.”
“He’s been telling me that since I was like a kid,” Combs added. “In my family, you do not get married on Saturdays in the fall.”
They figured it out.
“We kind of got lucky that the venue we ended up with told us that they had the Sunday of Labor Day open,” Peiffer said.
And Comb’s dad did, of course, show up — in his Ohio State socks. And so did Brutus.
“I put in the request for Brutus the day after [we booked the venue]. I have always known that I wanted that and our dads wore Ohio State socks because [they’re] both huge Ohio State fans. So there were subtle and then also like really big ways that [our love of Ohio State] was incorporated,” Combs added.
Everything worked out for Combs-Peiffer wedding, but when planning a wedding on a game day, Churches wants couples to know there are additional hurdles to get through.
“Prices are going to be extremely high on football weekends. Hotels are going to be astronomical. Transportation is, [too],” Churches said. “It’s also demand for entertainers, DJs … people have tailgates. Those vendors that you don’t think about, that would be at football games are also at weddings.”
As long as you have the budget, though, Churches operate on the, “Yes, is the answer. What is the question?” motto of hospitality. She said there is almost always a way to make everyone happy and focused on the couple.
“It’s just trying to meet in the middle,” she said. “Maybe there’s a watch party the night before, maybe Brutus comes at some point… just incorporating those small things to make everyone happy.”