DAILY Photo by Deangelo McDaniel|
Brady Wakefield of Springville and Carson Beddingfield of Athens didn't realize they would be making history when they asked to have their wedding at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The couple married Saturday while the football team played Arkansas in Arkansas.
Hard-core Alabama fans are first couple to marry in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium's skybox, The Zone
By Deangelo McDaniel
DAILY Staff Writer
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TUSCALOOSA — Minutes before she said her wedding vows, Carson Beddingfield stood at the lectern where head football coach Mike Shula holds post-game press conferences in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
She was frustrated at Alabama's play against Arkansas, and was animated at the podium as she role-played her coaching suggestions.
Four floors above, Brady Wakefield was equally frustrated, but he was too busy thinking about the history he was about to make to worry too much about Alabama football.
DAILY Photo by Deangelo McDaniel|
Roger Beddingfield surprised the audience when he escorted daughter Carson Beddingfield down the aisle wearing a houndstooth hat, a reminder of the late Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
At about 5:15 p.m. during the Saturday television game, Beddingfield of Athens and Wakefield of Springville, both Alabama graduates, became the first couple to marry in The Zone, a sprawling skybox that is part of the $45 million stadium expansion.
"This was definitely a historic and unique event," The Zone Director Reagan Golightly said.
Because of staffing, Golightly added, this may be the last wedding at the stadium, at least for now.
"We have several receptions scheduled in The Zone, but there are no more weddings," she said. "We just don't have the manpower."
The idea of marrying in Bryant-Denny Stadium started as a joke during Alabama's 2005 home opener.
"Something came on the JumboTron about the stadium expansion, and I told Brady we should get married here," Beddingfield recalled.
In January, she called the athletic department event coordinator.
"I told her what I wanted, and she said she had to take my request to (Athletic Director) Mal Moore," Beddingfield said. "We got the OK in March."
Wakefield added: "I really didn't think it would happen. I thought they would laugh at the request."
Getting the facility proved easier than finding the crimson wedding dress Beddingfield wanted.
She called wedding shops in seven states before finding a place in Tennessee that could order the dress she found in a bride magazine.
"I saw the dress before we got engaged and showed it to my sister," Beddingfield said.
Debbie Hardaway of Athens, the woman who baked the bride's cake, saw the same dress and told Beddingfield's mother about it.
Before Beddingfield walked down the aisle Saturday, the more than 150 guests started talking about her entrance.
Some wondered if she would be dressed in crimson; however, none expected to see her father, Roger Beddingfield, dressed in a houndstooth hat.
"Nobody knew about this but me and her mother (Vicki)," her father said. "Carson didn't even know until I was getting ready to walk her down the aisle."
Nothing about the wedding was usual, and that's the way the couple wanted it. They met while they were members of the Million Dollar Band. Wakefield, a 2003 graduate with a degree in accounting, played tuba. Beddingfield, a 2004 graduate with a degree in biology, played mellophone, which is a marching French horn.
They had their first date at Capital Park, site of the state capital when
it was in Tuscaloosa. On April 28, 2005, a nervous Wakefield carried Beddingfield back to the ruins of the Capitol building to propose.
"I planned to do it in the rotunda," Wakefield recalled. "I was shaking. She walked up and turned to leave because we had planned to go out to eat. I got down on my knee and she said, 'Oh my God! What are you doing?' She said this about four times in a row."
Beddingfield remembers: "I was so surprised and so excited," she said. "I just hugged him and said, 'Yes' over and over again."
The engagement ring was not ordinary.
Wakefield's grandparents gave him one of their old platinum wedding rings and told him to use it if he wanted. He purchased the diamond and stopped at 12 stores between Springville and Tuscaloosa looking for a jeweler to set the diamond and size the ring. He found a store in Hoover.
Wakefield wanted to keep the ring in a safe deposit box until he talked with Beddingfield's parents in person.
"But I couldn't wait," he said.
He telephoned Beddingfield's father.
"I told him I was sorry for not being able to talk with him in person, but I wanted to do it right now," he said.
Roger Beddingfield laughed.
"We knew they were going to get married," he said.
Wakefield said he thought they would marry at Capital Park.
"But I'm glad the stadium worked out," he said.
The couple had a rehearsal dinner at the park Friday night before the wedding.
After saying their wedding vows, the couple left The Zone for about five minutes. No one was sure what would happen next.
They returned as Alabama's fight song played. The guests grabbed shakers and formed two rows for them to walk through.
"You know, we're die-hard Alabama fans," Wakefield said at the bride's cake table.
With Alabama's game against Arkansas in overtime, the newlyweds stood in front of a television.
They cheered like they had more than a year earlier when the idea of marrying in Bryant-Denny was born.
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