A Columbus couple with ties to the East High School’s football team had planned to marry tonight — but those plans were moved up by 24 hours after the Olympians made it to today’s state finals.
Instead of a 5:30 p.m. wedding today, Brandon Allen, an engineer, and Karen Weaver, a special education teacher at Richards Elementary School, tied the knot at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Nashville.
“We’ll be taking our honeymoon at Lucas Oil Stadium,” Weaver said while decorating for the wedding Wednesday at the Salt Creek Golf Retreat and Overlook Conference Center.
Allen’s daughter, Ashley, is an East varsity cheerleader and will be at the state finals cheering from the sidelines.
Weaver’s daughter Sarah, a college student, is dating former East football player Evan Elsbury, who was scheduled to officiate at the wedding. Evan Elsbury’s brother Ben is a senior offensive lineman on the East squad playing for the state championship.
The couple has made the wedding a family affair, and they wanted all the family — including the Elsbury contingent — to be there, Weaver said.
“We wanted our children here for the wedding, but they were not going to miss East going back to the state championship,” she said.
So they moved the wedding up a day.
About a half dozen guests of the 100 who were invited were unable to make the change to Friday night, but most were planning on attending, Weaver said.
She expressed her gratitude and awe at the willingness of Salt Creek to work with them on moving the wedding earlier, along with all the other wedding vendors the couple has hired, from the cupcake bakers to the disc jockey to the hair stylist.
The couple, who have been together three years, got engaged last summer on a vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park on a hike to Long’s Peak, which is a more than 10-hour climb to the summit.
In a testament to their adventurous spirit, they set their wedding date for the Saturday after Thanksgiving fairly quickly, thinking it would be a good time to have people travel for the wedding.
“We did have one person say, ‘You know, that’s the state football championships,’ but we didn’t even dream East would make it that far,” Weaver said. “It’s not that they aren’t that good, we just didn’t think that this was a year they would be back at state.”
The first inkling the couple had that East had something going was when the Olympians beat New Palestine Oct. 21 during the opening round of sectionals.
“That’s when we started thinking we would need to make a new plan,” she said.
By then, the venue and a lot of the services had been booked for several months. But even with that, all of them agreed to keep the Friday or Saturday dates open for the wedding, including Salt Creek, with the final date depending on just how far the Olympians progressed.
Once the semistate win was on the books, the wedding was moving to Friday.
Even though the wedding has a great deal of connection to the Olympians, there weren’t any orange touches or East mentions planned for the ceremony.
Instead, the couple will save those cheers for today at Lucas Oil.
“Everyone has just been phenomenal,” the bride said of their willingness to have the family together for the wedding Friday, and together again today for East’s game in Indy.
“I keep getting texts, ‘Yes, we can do this,’ she said of all the help the couple received. “We just wanted the kids here for the wedding.”