Vols’ bye week brings business to Knoxville wedding industry


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – If you’re a football fan, Saturdays in the fall are special. Special enough that the team’s schedule often determines when some die-hard fans plan their weddings.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel got a look at the bye-week wedding phenomenon.

No Tennessee football game on Saturday means the wedding industry has its hands full. Some brides and grooms choose this weekend to have their wedding, so their guests don’t have to pick between the game and their special day.

“We got engaged in February, and then I immediately pulled up the football schedule. And I saw that there were 2 bye weeks, which made me a little bit nervous, but then I was like September 28th, we’re just going to go with that one,” bride Hannah Bunch said.

Bunch and her soon-to-be husband are huge UT fans.

“If we chose to do our wedding on any other weekend, our numbers would be really low and we might not show up ourselves,” she said.

Scheduling a wedding on a bye weekend, it’s a trend venue Lighthouse Knoxville has picked up on.

“You get the phone calls immediately of wanting those two – it’s not always two, sometimes it’s one – Saturday,” said Jacque Clowers, the general manager of Lighthouse Knoxville.

For Clowers, weekends like this one are busy. She says with couples wanting to book the bye so far in advance, sometimes they even guess before the schedule comes out.

“You can really tell the die hard UT fans because they’re like ok we think it’s going to be the second Saturday, so a lot of times it’s a guessing game,” Clowers said.

So it’s clearly a coveted date for those that cheer loud and proud for the Vols.

“If there were a football game, we wouldn’t show up, our families wouldn’t show up, so the bye week had to be our wedding weekend,” said Bunch.

There’s another bye week this year in November. Lighthouse Knoxville says they’ve already booked a wedding that weekend with, of course, a bride and groom that are big UT fans.

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