For many couples, a cookie-cutter wedding just won’t cut it. In fact, around 40% of future brides and grooms look for unusual wedding venues that will reflect their personality. For Eric Pinder and Dwayne Smoot, not just any locale would do for their nuptials. But they finally found the perfect ceremony setting: Orlando’s Amway Center, home of the Solar Bears hockey team.
Back in November, the pair became very likely the first gay couple to be wedded in a hockey arena. When the couple first met 16 years ago, they immediately recognized their mutual love of the sport.
“We met at a party and I was wearing a Red Wings jersey,” said Pinder. “Dwayne knew the team and player so I was impressed. Plus, he is very cute. So hockey was really our first conversation.”
Pinder says that memory sparked the unique venue idea.
“When we were looking to get married, we thought that doing it before a game would be a great choice — we could get people to go see our local team, the Orlando Solar Bears. I called our ticket rep and asked if we could get married before a game. He said, ‘Hold on,’ then three minutes later got back on the phone and said, ‘Sure, we can do that for you.'”
Although Pinder may have started off as a Red Wings fan, both he and his husband now root for the Tampa Bay Lightning. But both Pinder and Smoot wore Solar Bears jerseys over their shirts and bow ties during their vows.
Continuing in the theme, the couple’s best men wore jerseys from the Red Wings and the Lightning, and the priest donned a referee’s jersey. Before Gordon Barcalow pronounced them as being married, he asked them if they would “promise to love and cherish [each other] through power plays and penalty kills, until the final horn of life sounds.” After their I dos, their kiss was accompanied by the sounds of a goal horn.
The motif was carried through their wedding cake — chocolate, in the shape of a Zamboni — and gift bags for their guests, which included a puck with their wedding logo, MandM candies with their team’s colors, and unopened collectors packs of hockey trading cards from the ’90s.
Although their wedding took place this past fall, the Solar Bears finally sent over their wedding video last month. Their fun twist on tying the knot will have a lot of people saying, “puck yes!”