Auburn, Ala.,
17:00 PM

Contest Winners Wed, Tailgate Style

Tailgate Wedding Recapped

Auburn alums marry on campus, with support from Tim Tebow and Johnsonville employees

Despite an Auburn loss against Tennessee on Oct. 13, there was still a big win on campus.

It was the successful wedding of Sophie and Frank, who scored big in Johnsonville’s Tailgate Wedding contest and got to commit their “I do’s” at their alma mater prior to the game.

As the official sausage of the SEC, Johnsonville learned the real struggles SEC fans have in planning a fall wedding. They can’t risk missing a key game for a wedding, even if it’s their own. And Johnsonville had a solution to offer: team up with the SEC to launch a nationwide contest that awards one lucky couple a fully equipped tailgate wedding during the 2018 football season – entirely planned and hosted by Johnsonville employees (referred to as members at the company).

SEC Network football analyst, Heisman Trophy winner and Gator great Tim Tebow helped Johnsonville announce the Tailgate Wedding contest during the 2017 SEC Championship, and by the close of the contest in May 2018, about 390 couples entered.

Wedding Plans 2.0

Sophie and Frank got engaged on New Year’s Day 2017 and originally selected a September 2017 wedding a date based around their beloved Auburn Tigers football schedule and planned a destination wedding in St. George, Florida. However a day before their date, Hurricane Irma hit, forcing the couple and their guests to evacuate and cancel their plans.

After that disappointment, Sophie and Frank shifted their focus to remodeling their new house and saving money, so they could set a date for a rescheduled wedding.

Then Sophie came across the Tailgate Wedding contest, “and hoped this could help us incorporate the football season into our wedding plans in tailgate fashion,” recalled Sophie. After chosen as winners, the couple visited with its wedding committee – a dozen Johnsonville sausage makers – earlier this summer to finalize the details of their wedding and reception.

Sophie and Frank were married at 10:00 am, just prior to the Auburn-Tennessee game, among 120 of their family members and friends – and Tim Tebow, who provided the toast and met with the couple’s guests.

"This day couldn't have been any more perfect," said Frank, before leaving on their honeymoon. "We just had a wonderful day and remain in awe at what these Johnsonville members put together for our wedding."

Johnsonville Members as Wedding Planners

From the ceremony to a reception with the Big Taste Grill – the world’s largest grill – Johnsonville’s team of sausage experts left no stone unturned when it came to planning an authentic tailgate wedding. Including its members in most aspects of the business has also been the backbone of Johnsonville’s brand campaigns since 2016. The Johnsonville members behind-the-scenes planning with Sophie and Frank is shared here in a four-part series on our YouTube channel.

Officiant: Bob, Director-International Business

Photographer: Tammy, Sr. Manager-Consumer & Customer Insights

Videographers: Jacob and Jessica, Packaging Team

Decorations: Chelsi, Events Specialist; Terrie, Administrative Assistant

Flowers: Ralph and Shelly Stayer, Owners

Invitations and Program: Tony, Creative Designer

Food: Cole, Formulation Specialist; Jim, Product Data Specialist; Jason, Packaging Engineer

Cake: Sue, Culinary Specialist


Tailgate Wedding Menu

  • Peach Glazed Meatballs

  • Caprese Salad

  • Roasted Pulled Pork Sliders w/Alabama Hot Slaw

  • Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Shrimp & Andouille Kebobs

  • Pimento Macaroni & Cheese

  • Brat Caviar (Crostini toast topped w/ grilled brat slice and mustard seeds)

  • Tossed Salad & Fresh Fruit

  • Toomers Lemonade

  • Lemon Cake w/Buttercream Frosting

  • Grilled Johnsonville Brats from the Big Taste Grill