High school sweethearts tie the knot at Jay Stadium
As football fans and high school sweethearts, Derek and Jourdyn Jahnke found the perfect place to hold their wedding – Merrill High School’s Jay Stadium.
“Football is a religion to us,” Jourdyn said. “We wanted to get married somewhere that meant something to us.”
Derek, who played football for the Bluejays, graduated from Merrill High School in 2005; Jourdyn in 2007.
“Everything in our life revolves around football, so I wanted a football wedding,” Jourdyn added.
Derek and Jourdyn tied the knot Sept. 1 at Jay Stadium, the first wedding held in Merrill High School’s freshly overhauled facility.
The Jay Stadium wedding was Jourdyn’s idea, and it did take some convincing for her to get Derek onboard.
While Jay Stadium is available for the public to rent for events, Jourdyn didn’t want anyone to steal her idea. When she approached MAPS Building & Grounds Director Dale Bergman about renting the stadium, she stipulated that he had to keep her plans a secret.
“We kept it a secret for a year and a half,” she said. “I did not want anybody else to do it before we did.”
Bergman was happy to oblige. The school district also offered use of the public address system and the restrooms for the wedding. Bergman also requested a wedding photo to put up at the stadium.
Jay Stadium, which was renovated through community donations, is available for rental by the public for not only weddings but other gatherings and events, Bergman said.
“This facility was made possible by the support of the community,” Bergman noted. “We definitely want to see things happen out there.”
For Derek and Jourdyn, the challenges of an outdoor wedding paid off. Rain, forecast for that day, held off as the couple got married on the field with their wedding guests in the stands. Derek’s aunt and uncle performed the ceremony.
The rock just outside the stadium, frequently painted with messages, was painted in honor of the Jahnke wedding and made a memorable prop for photos.
“It was awesome,” Jourdyn said of the whole experience. “I had people who never cry at weddings telling me they cried.”
Completing the football theme, Derek and Jourdyn honeymooned at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sunday, Sept. 30, where the Packers delivered their final wedding present, a 22-0 win over the Buffalo Bills.
To rent Jay Stadium, a facility request form is available on the MAPS website.