December 6, 2021

Football Fans Say ‘I Do’ at Staples Stadium

Pictured above at the Israel Wedding on July 7 (L-R) Ella Brown, Amelia Fercken, Brittany Israel, Skylar Israel, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Israel and Rev. Douglas E. Lee (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Swanson)

(Franklin, GA) — When it comes to couples who share football fandom, sometimes the love between them is as important as their love of the game.

For Heard County Brave fans Charles Israel and Tricia Shepherd, it was a no-brainer to include their favorite football venue, Staples Stadium in their wedding day.

The couple, now Mr. and Mrs. Charles Israel, says their mutual love for the Heard County team has been a big part of their relationship since meeting several years ago on a Christian dating website, so they decided to show off their fanaticism in a major way.

Naturally, the couple chose a football-themed wedding for their July 7 nuptials.

“We both love football! We have been together for five years, and have watched a lot of Heard County games. In fact, Charles hasn’t missed a game since before we met. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to get married,” said Tricia Israel following the big day.

Tricia says she absolutely loved the way her special day turned out.

“Aside from finally marrying the man of my dreams, my favorite thing about the wedding was being able to incorporate so many different football themes into the wedding and being able to have all of our kids involved,” says Tricia. “It was a lot of work getting it all together, but so worth it and so much fun!”

Staple’s Stadium’s brand new scoreboard was on display for the very first time featuring Charles and Tricia’s names in the place of teams and the ceremony featured many other bells and whistles you might normally expect to see only on “Friday nights in Franklin.”

Instead of normal wedding attire, guests were asked to dress in support of their favorite teams. The wedding officiant Reverend Douglas E. Lee from Maryland was even dressed as a football referee for the ceremony and guests received cowbell noisemakers along with Charles and Tricia fan to help cool off for the summer morning gala.

The ceremony began promptly at 11:11 AM to bring the new couple good luck.

All three of Charles’ kids Toney, Brittany, and Skylar were a part of the wedding party as were Tricia’s children John and twins Amelia and Amadeus.

The esteemed Edward Potts dropped Tricia off with his Brave Nation golf cart at the run-through “Here Comes The Bride” banner and sports reporter Russ Massa escorted Tricia down the 50-yard “aisle” to an eagerly awaiting Charles.

Following the wedding, guests appropriately gathered near the field house for a good old-fashioned tailgate reception to honor the newlyweds.

Charles says picking Staples Stadium was an easy decision and the couple are thankful for all involved at HHS that helped make it happen for them.

“Because although neither of us are originally from Heard County or attended school here, we have both had children graduate on that field and we love the kids, the school system, the team and spending time together at Brave games,” says Charles. Tricia’s son John graduated on the field just last year.

Mr. And Mrs. Charles Israel

Charles hasn’t missed a Brave football game (home or away) in the last six years and also regularly attend and support other Heard sports as well.

“We just want to send out a huge thank you to the school, football team, coaches Tim Barron and Shane Lasseter, cheerleaders and Mrs. Horn, Mrs. Cabe, Mr. Tisdale, and especially Edward Potts,” added the new couple.

Charles surprised Tricia by popping the question during a family photo shoot involving their children that she had actually planned for his birthday.

“Charles has a great sense of humor, he’s always making me laugh with his jokes, sarcasm, and the way he sees things differently that most other people don’t see,” says Tricia. “Most importantly — I know I can rely on him.”

Charles says he knew she was the one early on after they met online. Both Charles and Tricia are law enforcement officers.

“The first time we ever met I met her and her kids at a restaurant and then we went for a walk in the park down the street,” Charles states. “She cares, she works hard, and she sometimes over-extends herself but it’s because she cares so much about those around her — family, friends, and even strangers the effort she puts in and how well she takes care of me amazes me and still stuns me.”

Charles and Tricia were not the first couple to tie the knot at Staples Stadium. Heard County Middle School Principal Brian Hadley and his wife Kelly, a Heard  Elementary teacher, were married on the same field in September of 2007.

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