A NFL Player + Cheerleader Say "I Do" With A Touchdown-Worthy Wedding
May 20, 2016
Tri State
Al FrescoWeddings in WineriesOutdoor Weddings
This couple's matchmaker? Just a little organization called the NFL. He, a Buffalo Bills football player and she, a cheerleader for the team met, began dating, and the rest is history. Their rustic, outdoor wedding day (with a color palette inspired by the bride's engagement ring!) is one for the books featuring blooms by Bows and Arrows and photography by Apryl Ann. Lots more right this way!
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From The Bride...The two of us met for the first time our first year in the NFL. Andy was beginning his professional career with the Buffalo Bills & Katie was cheerleading for the team. We crossed paths at a Christmas charity event and remained friendly for the next 2 years. In summer of 2011, Andy walked into the bar Katie was working at during college and it was something like love at second sight. We dated for a little less than two years before we were engaged. Andy asked Katie to marry him in his hometown & our off-season home of Santa Cruz, California. We decided to marry on the 4th of July, 2015 because it was a perfect time in the NFL off-season to have a wedding and still fit in a two-week honeymoon in Bora Bora. We took a big risk by having the wedding completely outdoors outside of Buffalo, New York. The weather is always unpredictable in western New York, but we were blessed with 70 degrees and sun!

The inspiration for the wedding actually started with Katie’s love for her yellow diamond engagement ring. Yellow was a perfect color for summer in our minds and we always knew we wanted a mix of outdoor rustic and subtle glamour. We told our guests to envision & dress along with a summer garden party theme. It was refreshing to see guests relaxed with a more casual attitude and dress. The decision to marry at Spring Lake Winery was a no brainer. We love us some wine & the people at the beautiful vineyard allowed us to bring in all of our own vendors and let us run with our vision. We didn’t have a religious ceremony, so we asked our dear friend, a classic rock radio DJ & announcer for the Buffalo Bills, John “JP” Piccillo to become ordained and marry us. We wanted to make the ceremony short but full of meaning. Katie wrote the ceremony script from scratch & included space for us to read a couple of words we wrote to share with one another. Andy has a fear of public speaking, so when he beautifully spoke in his own words about how he felt about Katie, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.

Although we don’t consider ourselves traditional by any stretch of the imagination, we included some traditions we found really special. Katie wore a veil over her face so that “Andy was the first one to see her face at the end of the aisle”. Katie’s something old & borrowed was a 200-year-old handkerchief from her mother’s side of the family, her something blue was a ring from her late grandmother & something new was a beautiful tennis bracelet from the groom. Andy walked both his and Katie’s mom down the aisle & our flower girls & ring bearers walked our beloved French Bulldogs Titan & Olive. We kept the traditions of the formal dances, toasts and cake cutting. It was important for us to honor our loved ones who couldn’t be there with us, so we had a table with photos and candles dedicated to those that had passed on. Katie’s best friend Shawn passed away the year before, so instead of wedding favors, we decided to donate to a drug rehabilitation center in his honor.

Our main objective for the reception was having enough things to do so no one had to dance if they didn’t want to. The decision, inspired by Andy’s dislike for the dance floor, shaped our entire night for the better! We filled our reception with great food, Motown music & fun activities. We are big eaters! Andy is a lineman and Katie loves to cook, so together we decided food should be our focus. We thought of our reception as more of a 4th of July BBQ. For the cocktail hour, we served several different types of pizza, Buffalo wings (of course!), French fries, sliders, grilled cheese with tomato soup & milk and cookies. For dinner, we had stations of Italian food, Mexican food, fresh-rolled sushi & Japanese food & Mediterranean food. Some of the highlights were stuffed banana peppers, meatballs, spicy tuna rolls, calamari, fish tacos and falafel. For dessert, we had 5 different flavored cakes: strawberry shortcake, carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate & peanut butter and cassata cake.

We also had our friends at Lake Effect Ice Cream create an ice cream sundae bar with 4 flavors, tons of toppings, ice cream sandwiches & a flavor named “Levitre Land.” We also had a s’mores station with a small fire pit. At night, we had a taco truck show up for some late night burritos, nachos, and tacos. That was definitely a hit with the crew that stuck around until 1am! We had 3 full bars at the wedding & different stations for wine, whiskey, and beer tastings & cigar rolling. The 21 and older crowd enjoyed our beer pong and flip cup tables along with games of corn hole.

Perhaps our favorite moment of the night, besides the “I do’s” was the few minutes we had completely alone watching the firework show over the vineyard’s private lake. We received the great advice to take a moment to be together to really soak in the moment and we’re so happy we did. Another great piece of advice was to prepare ourselves for something to go wrong. Luckily, the big stuff, like the weather and ceremony were perfect…but there was definitely A LOT of hiccups along the road. The funny part about all of the “mistakes,” was that no one noticed them but us. So, with that in mind, we would tell all brides and grooms to always remember that this day is about YOU. Prepare the best you can to have your dream wedding, but if the wedding can’t be perfect, just focus on the beauty of your marriage.