When Game Day just happens to fall on your wedding day, and it brings a playful rivalry to the hall, it doesn’t really matter if your new spouse is a diehard Notre Dame fan who doesn’t quite like the Wolverines of Michigan. It’s a 50/50 proposition in this marriage, as spouse No. 2 happens to be a diehard Big Blue fan who doesn’t think much of the Fighting Irish.
Laura Gompf and Matthew Manigold exchanged vows at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 7, before kicking off a Game Day reception and party in the Champion Conference Center.
As the game began on one of the two widescreen HDTVs, plenty of guests dressed to represent the blue and gold, the maize and blue, and other school colors too, could also check out NASCAR on an adjacent screen.
The Hall of Fame was appropriate in more than one respect, as the couple are both thankful to the RV industry for employment. Matt and Laura met when both were working at Keystone RV in Goshen — Matt as a plant manager, Laura as a production worker. “He transferred to Dutchmen RV, and I followed,” Laura said.
There was a palpable essence of excitement in the air, as family and guests started to get primed two hours before kickoff.
“I happen to be a diehard Notre Dame fan. My stepdad works for Notre Dame, so it’s in our family — all the way through. Matt was born in Niles, Mich. His entire family are Michigan fans, and they’re diehard fans too. It just so happens that this is the biggest game of the year for us every year. We found out that this is the last game, and now our wedding is during this game, and it just worked perfectly for our family and everything we love,” Laura said.
“We actually asked all the guests in the invitations to wear their favorite sports apparel,” she said, as the couple realized that some of their guests would be sports fans with different devotions.
Those gathered watched what is possibly the last meeting for quite some time between the Fighting Irish and Michigan, as Notre Dame will soon move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“It feels great — the best experience ever,” said Matt about what it feels like to get married on Game Day. The couple and their two boys — Aaron, 13, and Braden, 9, from Matt’s first marriage — have been watching the Michigan - Notre Dame game for five years.
“There have been some nice little changes in the house,” Matt said. “It’s great (being married to a woman who is a football fan). You don’t find too many of those out there at all.”