Amalachukwu Okafor and Candace Congress knew two things: they wanted to get married and they wanted to go to the Ravens-Colts game at M&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 11. Why not put the two together?
Amalachukwu (or Amala) has been a Ravens fan ever since Lamar Jackson arrived. Candace is a huge Colts fan, converting from the Bears because of Peyton Manning. They both know great quarterbacks when they see one.
So with both wearing custom "Okafor" jerseys of their favorite teams, they tied the knot in the stands during halftime of the Ravens' 31-25 overtime win on "Monday Night Football." It was an unforgettable game for everybody watching, but especially this happy couple.
"I always thought about my wedding and this was not it," Candace said. "But this was better than anything."
Amala lives in Illinois and Candace is in Indiana. They met online in June and were engaged by September. When you know, you know.
The couple had trouble finding a venue on short notice and Candace wasn't down with a courthouse wedding, so she thought of getting hitched at the game since she was already on a healthcare travel assignment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was going to be her last weekend in Baltimore before going back home, and the two wanted to start living their lives together.
"I was at work and all of a sudden, the game came to my mind and I asked Amala. He was like, 'That's a dope idea!'" Candace said. "I thought he was going to shoot me down."
At first, the plan was as simple as having Aramark, the food services provider at M&T Bank Stadium, deliver a wedding cake to their seats. But Candace also got in touch with Ravens Guest Experience Manager Moe Shoots, a man with a lot of ideas and passion for his job.
"I took it from there and tried to go a little more above and beyond. That's what we do!" Shoots said.
Since the couple didn't want to stress out their families with having to travel and get tickets, they decided to stream the wedding over Zoom. So Shoots arranged for a pair of cheerleaders to stand in as maid of honor and best man. They got a special "house divided" cake topper, cool football rings with the team logos, a special football bouquet off Etsy, and more. The only thing missing was an officiant.
"She told me that was really the only snag in this whole operation," Shoots said. "Not thinking much of it at first, I offered that I would officiate the wedding. She was all about it, so I didn't want to back out at that point."
So Shoots went through the necessary steps to get ordained and wrote up a "service" – omitting a joke about how Candace better not leave in the middle of the night like the Colts did to Baltimore in 1984.
Amalachukwu Okafor and Candace Congress got hitched during halftime of the Ravens-Colts 'Monday Night Football' thriller.
They found the right time after Haloti Ngata's Ring of Honor ceremony, and the husband kissed his bride just before the second half kicked off. During the ceremony, Ravens employees and the fans around them became their wedding photographers. They were ushered to a room inside the stadium to cut their wedding cake, which they brought out to share.
"What was so amazing about it was the crowd around us was so into it too. It was an amazing feeling," Amala said.
"I have to say, the Ravens have amazing fans. That made it a great game," Candace agreed.
As far as the game, it's safe to say that Candace was having a better wedding day at that point. The Ravens were trailing, 10-3, at halftime and things got worse in the third quarter when the Colts went up 22-3.
"My wife was talking smack all day," Amala said. "I was in my seat so quiet. But I tell you, it was the best experience of my life."
There was only one hiccup. After all, would it be a real wedding if there wasn't?
On their way to the stadium, Candace realized she forgot to bring their wedding certificate, which they needed Shoots to sign to make it official. They left the game at the end of the third quarter, just as Jackson started his furious rally. Amala was streaming the game on his phone as the couple drove back and ran to their hotel room.
Just as they pulled back into the parking lot at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens won the game on Jackson's touchdown pass to Marquise Brown in overtime. They saw the fireworks shoot from the top of the stadium.
On his wedding day, Amala missed the third-biggest comeback in Ravens history and a defining moment in Jackson's young NFL career. Was he bummed?
"I was already so happy that we got married at the stadium. That was enough fun for me," Amala said. "I'm just happy to be with a beautiful wife and the Ravens won. So I'm satisfied."
This man already has marriage figured out. Let's hope it burns as hot as Jackson's right arm was Monday night.