Wedding Photographer

Here comes the bride and Tide as Tennessee football and marriage collide

Bonnie Hensley’s two main priorities when she started planning her Knoxville wedding were a photographer and a venue.

She got her first choice photographer, Amanda May. She also got a favored venue, Castleton Farms in Loudon.

That left him with a date of October 15, 2022. Time: 5 p.m.

Do not hesitate to shout “Oh, no!”

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There was another oh-no moment before Saturday’s exchange of vows between Bonnie and Sadler Snyder. When the SEC announced its kickoff times for Oct. 15, the Alabama-Tennessee game was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

“We were all kind of anticipating the weather and being at peace with it,” Bonnie said. “But when the kick-off time was announced, I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re kidding me. ”

That means Bonnie’s dad, Mike Hensley, will be walking her down the aisle about an hour and a half after the Vols and Tide begin adding another chapter to the “Third Saturday in October,” the significance of which is documented in a book of the same name. .

Bonnie Hensley and Sadler Snyder attend a Tennessee football game together at Neyland Stadium.

But it’s not just the renewal of a historic rivalry. This is an undefeated top-10 matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 8 Tennessee in front of a sold-out crowd at Neyland Stadium.

“Who knew Tennessee would be this good?” Bonnie said, echoing the sentiments of so many other fans. “Every year we’ve seen Alabama beat Tennessee.”

Most family and friends on either side of the wedding aisle know all about UT’s recent struggles and Alabama’s 15-game winning streak on the series. It’s a marriage of football families and Tennessee fans.

  • Bonnie’s grandfather, Tommy Hensley, was an NFL referee for 21 years and played for Tennessee under General Robert Neyland in 1952 and 1953. Tommy shared a room with the Hall of Famer NFL, Doug Atkins, and later competed in the Hall of Fame game when Atkins was inducted.
  • Tommy and Mike Hensley were football team captains at Central High School. And Mike’s wife, Lori, was a cheerleader there.
  • The Central High press box is named after Sadler’s grandfather, Hershel Snyder. He and Sadler played football at Central.
  • Sadler’s father, Tim, is an avid Tennessee and Colts fan. The Colts connection stands for Sadler’s middle name.

“We were watching the Colts game when I was pregnant,” Lori Tidwell said. “My husband wore a Marshall Faulk jersey.”

She liked the name. Thus, his son became Sadler Faulk Snyder.

Given Tim’s passion for Tennessee football, it’s a wonder Sadler wasn’t named after a robbery. Tim and a group of friends attended every UT game – home and away – from 1992 to 2011. When the road trip was within driving range, they towed their trailer for use. of tailgating.

This may seem extreme to outsiders in Big Orange, but not to the families of the bride and groom. They have a long history together since Bonnie and Sadler first met in middle school and later started dating in high school.

The Snyder and Hensley families were in Seaside, Florida when Sadler proposed to Bonnie over Labor Day weekend last year. But Bonnie didn’t know about the family reunion until after the fact.

Sadler Snyder proposes to Bonnie Hensley in Seaside, Florida on Labor Day weekend of 2021.

So when Sadler knelt on the beach, Bonnie was taken aback by the proposal.

“I knew he would want our families to be there for this,” she said. “But when we got back to the beach house, all of my family and all of his family was there. They had stayed in different places.

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Once the engagement was official, Bonnie began making wedding plans.

“It seems like everyone was getting married after COVID,” she said. “We were limited in certain places.”

Families can now laugh at the result.

“Tennessee’s biggest game since 1998,” Mike said with a chuckle.

Lori Hensley joked that she almost had heart failure when she realized the wedding game conflict.

“I was questioning my parenthood,” Lori Tidwell said. “Do parents ever raise their children not to pick the third Saturday in October for an event?”

She also wanted to get married in mid-October when she and Tim got engaged. His favorite date: October 15, 1994, when Alabama would face Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. Tim balked at the suggestion.

They married about seven weeks earlier, on August 27.

No one pressured Bonnie and Sadler to change the date. After all, they found the right photographer and the right place. Two out of three isn’t bad.

Mike said they sent out 232 invitations and 200 guests confirmed their attendance. None of the nine groomsmen selected by Sadler to match Bonnie’s nine bridesmaids backed down. This is another good sign.

And if their team responds as well as their friends, there could be two celebrations on Saturday night at Castleton Farms.

John Adams is senior columnist. He can be reached at 865-342-6284 or [email protected] Follow him at: