BALTIMORE -- Lamar Jackson isn't the only one making memories at M&T Bank Stadium these days, thanks to a couple of newlyweds.
With the bride wearing a white Colts jersey and the groom in a white Ravens jersey, both with "Okafor" on the back, the couple stood up from their seats and tied the knot under the lights of Monday Night Football. Ravens cheerleaders served as the best man and maid of honor. Surrounding fans took pictures and then high-fived the newly married couple.
"Well, for me, a woman who's planned her wedding since she was 16, this was not my wedding," Candace said. "But, I assure you, this was the best wedding I could even imagine because it infused everything I care about. I got to express my creativity, I got to marry the man of my dreams and we were sitting in the best seats we could at a great game. It was much more than just eating cake and then going to bed. We have so much to talk about."
Weddings at stadiums have occurred before. In September 2019, a couple in Buffalo became the first couple married on the field during halftime of an NFL game.
What made this month's event different is that Amala and Candace aren't fans of the same team. Candace lives in Indiana and has long rooted for the Colts. Amala is from Illinois and has cheered for the Ravens since they drafted Jackson in 2018.
"He got to talking about Lamar and he wouldn't stop to this day," Candace said. "I'm like, we've gotta go to a game. The Colts-Ravens game just so happened to be the last week that I was going to be in Baltimore for work. We had no idea it was going to turn into our wedding date."
Candace is a surgical technologist who had taken a travel assignment for healthcare at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Amala is in warehouse management. They met online in June and got engaged in September.
Amala and Candace had trouble finding a place to get married because many venues were too costly, and the courthouse lighting wasn't going to cut it. So, Candace brought up the idea about having the ceremony at M&T Bank Stadium.
"To be honest, I thought it was going to be impossible," said Amala, who had never before attended an NFL game. "But the more we talked about it and the more her plans were coming together, it was becoming more possible. If someone would have told me I would get married at Ravens Stadium, I wouldn't believe it at all."
Amala and Candace selected rings with their favorite teams' logos on them. Their cake topper featured the bride standing in front of a Colts background and the groom in front of a Ravens one. Candace's bouquet was filled with purple and blue flowers -- a nuptial shoutout to both the Ravens and the Colts -- along with a football rose made from leather of actual footballs.
Candace reached out to Moe Shoots, the Ravens' guest experience manager, to see if they could get married during the game. Shoots eventually took online classes to become their officiant. Shoots thought about joking during the service, "Don't leave him in the middle of the night like the Colts did us." It would've been a lighthearted jab at the Colts relocating from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.
Congrats to the happy couple who got married during halftime of last night's game!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 12, 2021
(But, mostly the groom 😂) pic.twitter.com/SMbzKYfmxI
"I decided not to put that one in there," Shoots said. "It might go a little too far."
During halftime of the Monday night game, the Ravens inducted Haloti Ngata into their Ring of Honor. Then, it was time for Amala and Candace to exchange their rings.
They streamed the wedding online so family and friends could watch. In 6½ minutes, they crossed the marital goal line.
"I swear it was like it was meant to be because they said their 'I do's' and kissed each other right when the ball was kicked off to start the third quarter," Shoots said.
After sharing cake with fans sitting around them, Amala and Candace decided to leave at the end of the third quarter because they had left their wedding certificate at the hotel and wanted it to get signed. The Colts had what looked like an insurmountable 22-9 lead at that point.
By the time they returned to the stadium, Jackson had completed the biggest comeback of his career, throwing the winning 5-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown in overtime. They watched the fourth quarter and overtime of the Ravens' 31-25 victory on Amala's phone.
"I was talking a little trash here and there," Amala said. "But when we finally won, though, I told her, 'I love you, baby, but we won.'"