After months of anticipation, Slade and Katie Ponder finally said “I do” on May 26, 2012 to conclude the first War Eagle Wedding.
This was no typical wedding.
Every aspect of the Ponder’s wedding from the dresses to the cake were voted on by the Auburn family online.
The idea originated from the University of Utah’s “The Ultimate Utah Wedding”.
Teresa Whitman-McCall, director of campus and community events in the Office of Communication and Marketing, said she believed the idea would work beautifully at Auburn.
“We couldn’t think of any better way to commemorate a wonderful occasion in a young couple’s life and share it with the Auburn family,” Whitman-McCall said.
Auburn University then partnered with the Hotel at Auburn University to host the event, which would come to be known as the War Eagle Wedding.
The group talked to local companies for help with the event and received a great response.
“The vendors liked it a lot,” said Terri Lynn Beasley, Sales Manager at The Hotel at Auburn University. “They were able to get quite a bit of exposure from this.”
Auburn students also played their part to make the War Eagle Wedding happen.
Students in the design program designed wedding dresses as a class project.
“We were able to give some real-world application to students through the advanced apparel design program,” Whitman-McCall said.
Each week the Auburn community voted on different aspects of the War Eagle Wedding including the couple.
The event quickly grew in popularity.
More than 150,000 people voted on the wedding cakes alone.
“(The wedding) was a community effort,” Whitman-McCall said. “Our slogan was ‘It’s their wedding, but its your plan.’”
With the first War Eagle Wedding completed, talks have already been made about a second War Eagle Wedding, but some things need to be finalized.
“(The wedding) was a big expenditure for (the hotel) and I know it was a big expenditure for Auburn and some of the other vendors as well,” Beasley said. “We’re going to have to do a cost-benefit analysis and see if it makes sense to have another one, but I know many of the vendors do want to.”
Whitman-McCall said the experience was one to remember for all.
“I know I can speak for all of the people involved, whether they are sponsors or vendors that the experience was very humbling,” Whitman-McCall said. “The couple was just a dynamic wonderful couple to work with.”