How to Celebrate Your Wedding with a Tailgate Party in Chicago

Have your next celebration at a Bears game (Credit, Douglas Boehm)

Chicago Bears fans can be described as fanatics for many reasons. Whether it’s the blistering cold winters that still pack Soldier Field or the fans that paint their chests to spell out “Go Bears” with full orange and blue colors, there is no denying Chicago has some of the most dedicated fans in football. Tailgaters in Chicago go above and beyond with driving to the parking lots six hours before kickoff to hunt for parking or paying $500 for a tailgate spot online. A trend for tailgating in Chicago has been celebrating a special event and nothing can be more special than a wedding.

The Idea

While the Chicago Bears were gearing up to face off against the Houston Texans on November 11, 2012 at Soldier Field, a couple was gearing up for the most important day of their lives. Jay Gottred and Kalli Jacobson combined their love for each other, their love for the Chicago Bears and the location of their very first date by holding their wedding ceremony at a tailgate party before a Chicago Bears home game. While many people choose to have their wedding at a location memorable for the couple, the usual places include a beach setting, a family church or a favorite vacation spot. However, Kalli Jacobson had the idea of performing their wedding nuptials at a Bears tailgate party.

Related: How To Stay Safe While Tailgating In Chicago

What to Wear

The bride and groom wore throwback jerseys, with the bride’s jersey predominantly white with a matching white veil. The groom wore a navy blue jersey with matching orange pinstripes. There were around 100 guests in attendance who all wore the typical tailgating attire, complete with Bears emblems and logos. Even the minister got into the spirit, wearing a navy blue and orange ensemble for the occasion.

Related: A How-To Guide to Build Your Homemade Bears Fan Tailgating Outfit

How to Decorate

The actual ceremony took place on the back of a dark-colored pickup truck bed so guests could get a good view of the couple. A white archway took the place of a traditional alter, complete with navy blue sheath material flowing in the wind. Above the arch were crimson, orange and white flowers that matched the bride’s bouquet. The groom and minister’s boutonniere matched the Bears colors and the bride even wore a Bears-themed garter over her blue jeans.


Instead of the traditional “Wedding March” ballad that accompanies the bride and groom’s first kiss as man and wife, the couple opted for the “Chicago Bears Fight Song.” Guests waved blue and orange streamer wands while singing along to the traditional Bears theme song. Once the ceremony was complete, the wedding party continued in their tailgating party. USA Today released an article poking fun at what kind of celebration ensued, stating, “The guests at the wedding dined on the finest meats (Vienna beef) and vegetables (atomic relish and sauerkraut), but not ketchup. The couple is registered at” They went on to say, “That last paragraph is entirely made up. But given the setting of the nuptials, there’s a reasonable chance at least some of it’s true, particularly the no ketchup part, Chicagoans are really strict about that.”

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at

Sara Lugardo thrives in writing about community news in Chicago. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on

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