The bride wore a lovely, white Tennessee jersey with orange checkerboard overalls, while the groom made the more understated choice of an Vols T-shirt, untucked over jeans.
She walked down the aisle to stand by her man before a ceremonial goal post, and all of the outdoor generators in the parking lot were turned off to make sure everyone could hear the vows.
Once it was all finally official, they still had time to celebrate at a semi-outdoor reception inside a circle of RVs ahead of the University of Tennessee Volunteers’ season-opener Sunday.
“We’re calling it a Tennessee tailgate wedding,” said Daniel Dickson, who tied the knot with fiancée Ashley Armes before about 100 family and friends, and all the other tailgating fans who happened to be in the parking lot off Blackstock Avenue. “She actually came up with the idea. We’ve been tailgating over there for a while. She thought it’d be a good idea.
“And I, of course, agreed with her.”
The idea started with the half-joking suggestion from a co-worker at the Cracker Barrel where Armes waits tables.
“I was trying to think of something we both like, both love,” she said. “And we’ve always loved the Vols. Like, everything. Every Vol everything, we’re attending, we’re watching.”
Eight months later, including a slight rescheduling to accommodate UT’s shift to a rare Sunday game, their big marriage kickoff was set. Right down to the commemorative beer koozies.
Still, it wasn’t quite the same without Dickson’s little brother Jeremy, who couldn’t make it on account of a slight incarceration. They did tape his arrest mug shot onto a life-size cardboard cutout in an orange T-shirt, though.
“He’ll get a kick outta the pictures when he gets out,” Dickson said.
The one person the occasion couldn’t do without was a preacher. Armes put an ad online and went with the first person to respond — The Rev. Thomas Orange.
“It was like, destiny,” Armes said. “I said, ‘You’re hired! How much?’ ”