Life-long Utes enthusiasts get married during tailgate party, amid friends, family and fans

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) -What is the ultimate way to celebrate both love and football? For this Utah couple, it was saying their nuptials in front of friends, family and other die hard Utes fans at their “tailgate and celebrate” party Friday night. 

Now known as Mr. and Mrs. John and Lynne Thieling, this dynamic duo found a unique way to share their forever love for each other and their undying love for the Utes during a wedding ceremony at the Rice Eccles Stadium tailgate lot just prior to the Utah vs. Arizona game. 

Finding the perfect venue is not always an easy task, and for the Thieling’s this proved to be the biggest challenge over the course of their engagement. It seemed only fitting for them to devise a plan where they could share their special day with their favorite team and favorite people.

“As a joke I said…I know, let’s get married on a tailgate lot before a game,” said Lynne Thieling. “We can…our friends are going to be there. Let’s take the wedding to a party instead of planning something.”

John Thieling said the tailgate lot was just the perfect idea for them.

“We didn’t have to rent a venue. We didn’t have to invite a lot of people. Ya know we just threw it out there and here’s what we’re going to do,” said John Thieling. 

So before the first toss of the game, the couple guests threw red and white rice during a ceremony performed by their long time friend Mike Henry. 

Both John and Lynne grew up loving the Utes. 

“My dad was a die-hard Utes fan, I have memories of him and other men in the neighborhood, especially around BYU games, my dad would end up having to wear a BYU tie to church because the Cougars won or vice versa,” said Lynne Thieling. “They would send sympathy cards to each other after the games and I remember having to babysit for free because I bet someone in the neighborhood the Utes would win.” 

For John Thieling, his family moved to Utah when he was 12 and he said he instantly took a liking to the Utes. 

“I’ve been going to football, basketball, and everything else games forever,” said John Thieling. “About 25 years ago or so I met with a big group that we now currently still tailgate with. We have all been in that corner where we are now for years.” 

The Thielings said they first met at Granite High School where “everybody knew everybody whether you knew everybody or not”. They both knew of each other but were not close friends at the time. 

They reconnected about five years ago and fell in love and got engaged. They finally decided it was time to tie the knot. 

Once the decision to get married at the tailgate started, they received an outpouring of support from everyone, especially their tailgate group of friends called “The Shasta Crew”. From the nuptials to the catering, it just all came together.

They even closed out their perfect day with a traditional pirate themed midnight cheer, performed by their friend Cory and a bowling ball “Tequilla shot” instead of the traditional champagne glass toast.  

Friends and family from several different states came to “Tailgate and Celebrate” with the couple. A party big enough, that even some of their BYU friends managed the “cougarage” to be there. 

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