You’re avoiding major matchups for your alma mater, but you should know what you're really getting into before you sign on the dotted line for a Saturday during football season. 

Ah – fall Saturdays down South. Football cheers, rivalry chants, tailgate tents, and…wedding bells?

Fall brides down South know the song and dance well – wait until the SEC football schedule is announced and scramble to grab a bye weekend or a date with a trivial game for your home team. But, even if you’ve managed to nab an insignificant Saturday for your school, the rest of SEC nation isn’t taking an intermission for your nuptials, unfortunately. Your guests may be rooting for another squad with a big game on the day you’ve selected. So, what’s a fall bride to do?

There are a few things to come to terms with once a fall wedding date is set in stone. First, don’t be surprised if your football-crazed guests send their regrets. Sure, Barbara and Tommy had a tough conversation about to handle the South Carolina vs. Georgia rivalry that weekend, but ultimately, their season tickets trumped your ceremony. Don't take it too personally. 

Second, guests missing a game, no matter how big or small, are going to search for a way to keep up with the score. They’re Southern football fans, after all. They can’t help but crave a play-by-play. It’s up to you to determine how important it is to save them from feeling compelled to stream the game during your first dance. Less traditional brides may be open to a television by the bar for important games only, but we will warn you that this tends to draw the crowd away from the dance floor. Others might consider more creative ways to update guests, like incorporating a well designed scoreboard into your reception décor or requesting intermittent score announcements from the band. Best yet, if you think guests can resist their smartphones during your celebration, record the game and host a watch party after the reception.

If you’re a football loving couple, we’re sure you’ll have some fun acknowledging the big games in a way that won’t take away from your Big Day. Who doesn’t love mascot sugar cookies or a SEC groom’s cake? But, if you’re one of the rare ones in the South who’s not a football fan, be warned. You may be getting into more than you bargained for when you sign on the dotted line for a Saturday in October.