Some people will insist that it’s just a coincidence that the freshly released 2019 Clemson football schedule has the very same Oct. 5 and Nov. 23 off days as the previously issued South Carolina football schedule.
Those folks eat instant grits.
Lobbyists for the shared open Saturdays come from all over the state and include wedding photographers, uncles, bridesmaids and groomsmen, football pool-playing clergy, caterers and wedding planners named Franck.
But the most important sigh of relief comes from potential invited guests who know that no right-minded South Carolinian would schedule a wedding on a Saturday when either the Gamecocks or Tigers are playing.
The clear message to engaged couples (and mothers-in-law) from Clemson and South Carolina football headquarters: Hey, y’all, we have done our part; plan accordingly.
Or don’t even bother with a gift registry. Unless you want deliberately mismatched towels and a scruffy old football as wedding presents.
These Saturday options are so important in a state that leads the nation in every measurable destination wedding/college football passion index.
Maui or a drive-through lane in Las Vegas might match Charleston for wedding popularity. Not football.
Alabama and Ohio have the loud college football buzz. But people from Birmingham go to Mississippi to get married.
You only get married in Alabama if Nick Saban or Bo Jackson are speaking and signing photos within 10 minutes of the reception buffet line the night before.
You only get married in Cleveland, Toledo or Youngstown if the courthouse is closed in Columbus.
This is the Palmetto State, so named either because South Carolina patriots used palmetto logs at Fort Moultrie to repel British cannon fire or because the state’s first football stadiums were constructed of high-quality palmetto.
Depending on your history teacher.
Hunter Renfrow knows best
Data is not complete on whether or not those rare South Carolina marriages that take place on Saturdays when the Gamecocks or Tigers are playing have less chance of success than a bye-week wedding.
But there is no doubting the general perspective shared from Sassafras Mountain to Folly Beach.
“Thanksgiving is a meal, not a day,” Will Muschamp famously observed.
The Gamecocks head coach was referring to practice plans for his team as it prepared for the annual rivalry game against Clemson during Thanksgiving Week.
Yeah, sure, crack the jokes and pass the cranberry sauce. But aren’t we all peeking ahead to Saturday while asking for that second slice of pecan pie?
Hunter Renfrow, you probably know, is getting married soon. But, of course, the popular wide receiver from Myrtle Beach knew not to even announce his engagement during the football season. He popped the question to Clemson homecoming queen and longtime girlfriend Camilla Martin in March.
“Tonight was an absolute dream,” Martin put forth on social media. “Hunter Renfrow, I cannot wait to be your WIFE! Thank you Jesus for blessing me with the most incredible man to spend the rest of my life with…WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!”
Not during the football season.
Bill Murray, wedding crasher
It’s come to the point where wedding magazines — Premier Bride, Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, etc. — should include photos of Cocky The Gamecock, Dabo Swinney and yummy tailgating spreads as rotating cover shots.
So if you’re planning a wedding for Charleston …
On a Saturday in the fall of 2019 …
And you’re dreaming that comic actor/Lowcountry ambassador/Charleston RiverDogs “Director of Fun” Bill Murray will crash one of your wedding photos (as he did on Meeting Street in 2014) …
Pick Oct. 5 or Nov. 23.
Otherwise, Murray might be at a football game. As he was in 2013 while serving as ESPN GameDay’s guest-picker (and applying pro wrestling moves to co-host Lee Corso) before the Florida State-Clemson game at Death Valley.
Oh, by the way.
I got married in the great state of South Carolina.
But on a Sunday, of course.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff