HINCKLEY – Jessica Madrigal of Hinckley has always been a big Green Bay Packers fan.
“I’ve been going to games with Dad since I was 3,” Madrigal, now 22, said. “I always told my dad I was going to get married (at Lambeau Field).”
Madrigal is the daughter of Gary and Laura Noll of Sandwich. In high school she was the water girl for the Sandwich High School football team, which is how she met middle linebacker and offensive lineman Nick Madrigal. The two dated, fell in love and began talking about marriage.
But there was one little obstacle.
Nick Madrigal is a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears.
As any football fan knows, the Bears and Packers have the longest and arguably the most bitter rivalry of any two NFL teams, and that rivalry is often reflected in their fan bases.
“She’ll be in one room and I’ll be in another one, watching the game,” Nick, 23, said, laughing.
When the couple started talking about where they wanted to exchange vows, Jessica mentioned her desire to have the nuptials at the Packers’ home field.
“I thought, ‘absolutely not,’” Nick said.
Nick wanted to look into Soldier Field, the Bears’ home field. Like a good Packer running game, however, Jessica was able to wear down her fiance’s defenses.
“I figured it’s more like a bride’s day,” Nick said. “She’s a big Packers fan and she always wanted to get married there. ...A couple of my groomsmen were Bears fans. They gave me a pretty hard time, but they thought it was pretty cool.”
On June 30, the couple was married on a fourth-story balcony overlooking the atrium at Lambeau Field, which many consider “the crown jewel of the NFL.” The ceremony was performed in front of 160 guests by a minister Jessica Madrigal found online.
Jessica said weddings are held at Lambeau Field throughout the year, except on game days. They were able to pick out the time they wanted to get married and where in the stadium they wanted to hold their reception.
“We were the only ones there,” she said, adding that there was another wedding later that night. “It was awesome. They did an amazing job. You could tell they do this all year round. The food was amazing. They were very accommodating.”
Despite their surroundings, Jessica Madrigal said she stuck to pink and orange for her wedding colors rather than Packer green and gold so they could “still keep it like a wedding.”
Not to be shut out, Nick Madrigal had a groom’s cake that was “all Bears.” At the reception, which was set up like a tailgate buffet with brats and barbecue chicken, he wore a Bears jersey, while his bride wore a cheese head veil.
The guest book, Nick said, was a football jersey, half Bears and half Packers.
The couple had a brick engraved in honor of her parents, who took Nick to Lambeau Field for his first Bears game when he was still in high school. They presented the brick at the rehearsal dinner, and it was later placed outside the stadium.
The couple is looking forward to the first regular season matchup between their teams on Thursday. Jessica plans to be at the game, though Nick has to stay home because of work. Both predicted a victory for their respective teams – Nick said the Bears will win 30-0, while Jessica said only that the game will be close.
The Bears lead the all-time series, which began in 1921, 92-86-6.