This new series goes through the different choices women in sports have made in their personal lives. We hear their perspectives on getting married, having a child and raising a child, and will see how they make it work while maintaining a hectic schedule in their careers.
In the first part of this series, we talk with Penn State Director of Social Media for Football Lauren Campbell. Lauren was promoted to her position in June 2017 and got married on June 30, 2017 to Penn State Football Offensive Analyst Kirk Campbell. She planned almost her entire wedding in season three-plus hours away from family while also handling the responsibility that comes with a promotion.
Prior to taking the job as director of social media for football, where did you and your now husband work?
LC: I was in grad school at West Virginia and was an intern for WVU football as a recruiting graphics designer before coming to Penn State as the football recruiting graphics designer. Kirk was working an hour away from WVU at a DII college as the offensive coordinator. When I took the job at Penn State, Kirk did not travel with me immediately. We did long distance for a year-and-a-half before he ended up getting the job at Penn State.
What was the decision-making process behind when your wedding was?
LC: It was just the best time. We have some time off each summer so having it during that time was best for us and for our friends that work in football.
What did your planning process look like?
LC: My family was three-and-a-half hours away and Kirk’s family was three hours away. They were a great support system but I would say it was hard to plan and make decisions without them physically being with me. Once Kirk got the job at Penn State, it was obviously easier to plan and make big decisions with us being in the same location.
As a graphic designer, I chose to create and print all of my own stationary for the wedding: invites, envelopes, name cards, menus, programs, etc. It was totally stressful. The last thing I wanted to do after designing all day was to go home and do more designing. I’m glad I did it though; I felt like I contributed and added my own touch to the wedding. I just felt like I was working non-stop.
Our venue was kind of at the epicenter of Penn State, my hometown and Kirk’s. Kirk’s mom and my sister-in-law took on all things flowers, thank goodness. My mom and Kirk’s mom helped me with decorations. And then with our cake, I hadn’t actually tasted it prior to our wedding, but it turned out to be awesome! The site had a lot of really good reviews so we went with it.
What would you change about the process, if anything?
LC: I don’t really know what I could have done differently, other than maybe getting my mom, Kirk’s mom and myself together to plan and get feedback in a more efficient way.
What were some of the biggest challenges that came up?
LC: For me, the biggest challenge was not being close to my mom or even Kirk’s family while trying to make decisions, and he wasn’t around for the first part. I kind of felt like I was doing it alone at first. But, I think everyone did a great job communicating and staying in touch.
How were you able to make it work?
LC: I was definitely staying up late. Kirk helped with some stuff: mainly the DJ and he really enjoyed helping with the registry. But I stayed up late and really leaned on mine and Kirk’s moms. They really kept me in check. With my job and everything I had going on I really had to stay on task.
What were some of your key takeaways?
LC: There are a lot of parallels between working in athletics and planning a wedding. It takes a lot of research, time and effort. It takes hours on the internet and trips to the venue. It was 100 percent a team effort to tackle everything that needed to be accomplished. Juggling all of my work responsibilities while trying to plan the best day of my life was a challenge, but everything turned out great and I couldn’t be happier to have my dream guy and my dream job!
What would you tell other women working in sports that are trying to plan a wedding?
LC: I would advise creating a checklist of items that need to be completed and when they need to be completed by (there are a lot of great resources out there like The Knot that offer general checklists). Complete small tasks as you can and try to meet your deadlines. Definitely lean on your support system (fiancé, parents, future parents-in-law, siblings and friends). It’s nearly impossible to do everything on your own, so don’t be afraid to ask for or accept help!
I believe working in sports actually prepares you to successfully plan a wedding. It literally feels like you are preparing for a REALLY big game day!