Couple 'ready to rumble' at UB sports-themed event

By BERT GAMBINI

Published August 30, 2012

“Since we both love UB sports and I was accustomed to planning athletic events, Andy and I decided to make this an event modeled after what brought us together.”
Lydia Broughton-Wilder, Community Relations Assistant, Wellness & Work/Life Balance

That Andy Conroy refers to his upcoming wedding as “a good game plan” takes no romance away from the ceremony happening this weekend. In fact, it adds to the charm.

On Aug. 31, Andy and Lydia Broughton-Wilder will exchange vows and celebrate their union during a service and reception that will more closely resemble the start of a football game than a traditional wedding.

“Our pre-ceremony music is ‘Jock Jams,’” says Broughton-Wilder.

That tune, played at many sporting events since the mid-90s, opens with boxing announcer Michael Buffer’s familiar, “Let’s get ready to rumble,” immediately followed by a synthesizer, stating a melody over a disco and hip-hop rhythm base.

This is clearly not a traditional wedding. But it’s an appropriate theme.

Andy, an IT consultant in Buffalo, is the former president the True Blue, UB’s booster club for the school’s athletic teams. He and Lydia met in 2008 while she was working in the UB athletics department.

“We wanted to do something different,” says Broughton-Wilder. “Since we both love UB sports and I was accustomed to planning athletic events, Andy and I decided to make this an event modeled after what brought us together.”

So, it makes sense that “Jock Jams” would be followed by a processional featuring “Sweet Caroline,” a signature tune for the UB pep band. The recessional, meantime, will be “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky.” Congratulations will be offered, according to Broughton-Wilder, with high-fives, a fair bit of hoots and hollers.

Broughton-Wilder, who currently works as a community relations assistant for Wellness & Work/Life Balance, says UB athletics has been a constant for her and Andy since they met, and she doesn’t see that changing.

“All of our landmark moments occurred during UB games,” she says. “Our first date was in Cleveland during the MAC basketball tournament; our first kiss was when UB played Wichita in the College Basketball Invitation; and Andy proposed in Pittsburgh, the night before a UB game against the Pitt Panthers.”

She says they no longer have the time to attend as many games as they used to, but their enthusiasm is undiminished. They’re planning on attending an upcoming game against UConn as part of their honeymoon.

The wedding’s unique nature came as no surprise to the couple’s family and friends, but the details came as a shock to the planners at Samuel’s Grande Manor, where the ceremony and reception will take place.

“At first I told the staff we’re not having (live) flowers, but origami flowers,” says Broughton-Wilder. “As I kept explaining, I mentioned centerpieces that would consist of blue-and-white megaphones with mini-helmets and water bottles.”

Nothing Broughton-Wilder mentioned was on the planner’s checklist. The couple is even foregoing a cake, feeling that the Buffalo sports theme would be better stated by having a buffet featuring a variety of donuts from Paula’s Donuts.

Any of the guests not initially privy to the passions of the bride and groom probably got a sense of what was happening when invitations arrived in the mail.

“They look like a game ticket,” says Conroy. “We had them designed so that they can be torn, with the guest hanging on to a ticket stub.”

Once at the ceremony, anyone still in the dark might finally be enlightened by looking at the wedding program, modeled after a game program, or maybe by noticing the footballs printed on paper nestled in the bridesmaids’ bouquets or the groomsmen’s boutineers.

Even the typical favorite locales for wedding photos are being dismissed. There will be no images taken at Forest Lawn, Glen Park or the Japanese Gardens at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Andy and Lydia will bring the wedding party to UB Stadium, complementing those shots with pictures taken at Baird Point and in front of the Center for the Arts, by the bronze buffalo.

It probably will be some time before another wedding like this takes place. It’s the type of event that happens only once in a blue moon, a rare lunar event that will appear next on Aug. 31, the day of Andy and Lydia’s wedding.

“It’s Andy’s favorite color,” says Lydia. “We planned it that way.”