This past weekend, William Vincent Wilkerson married Erin Kathleen Hartigan after a “brief” eight-year courtship. Our whole family has what we call “The Wedding Bell Blues” because we literally had the time of our lives at this magical marriage celebration and are so sad it could not have gone on for days and days. It was the first time our big celebratory family was able to be all together since the pandemic.
William and Erin’s wedding is the last event to ever be held in Brazos Hall in Austin. The hundred plus guests that included the Hartigan, Wilkerson, Sekula and Holmes family clan and friends took this as challenge to end this historic landmark’s last celebration with a big bountiful and beautiful bang. To say we danced the night away is an understatement.
Erin and William’s story of love is a sweet one filled with sports metaphors as the two of them live and breathe, plus earn their living at, sports. Here is their story told through their vows written by their uncle and my husband, Noel Holmes.
Once upon a high school football practice, Erin, an intrepid reporter for Fox Sports, was waiting to interview a promising young athlete. She had put in her time that daywatching an entire afternoon of the practice session. She thought it only right that she invest the time in the player and observe him in action before the interview. As practice was winding down, she sees what she thought was a cocky ESPN reporter in his slick Ray Bans come strolling in thinking he would slide right into an interview with the player. Ever the competitor, Erin ensured she got the interview first. Later that evening she told her roommate about the audacity of the ESPN reporter when an email popped up from him. It read, “Hey, I saw you working at the practice and did not want to bother you. I just want you to know that I really admire your work.” Erin said, “Well dang, he’s nice!”
The couple would actually meet for the first time in 2012 at Lancaster Texas Tiger Stadium on the 30-yard line on Sept 7, 2012. The two of them covered the high school football recruiting beat for Fox and ESPN. The Coach at that time was Chris Gilbert, who is now Director of High School Relations for the University of Texas.
For William’s wedding gift from Erin, Coach Gilbert cut a piece of the Texas Tiger Stadium 30-yard line turf and gave her a football helmet from that 2012 team which she encased in a glass display and presented to William. Her card read:
“I am so glad you showed up that day and that you listened to the voice in your head. To think that Texas High School Football has given us more than a career and Tiger Stadium more than a great game. Tiger Stadium may be missing a piece of its field, but it has a huge place in the hearts of not only us but in all of our big loud and proud family.”
William was named after his two grandfathers William Brightman Wilkerson and Vincent Sekula. William wore his grandfather Bill’s wedding ring and Erin wore the diamond from his grandmother Judith Wilkerson’s wedding ring that he had refashioned for Erin. Erin lost her mother Susan Hartigan at age 25. A table of photos of loved ones that meant so much to both Erin and William and to all our families was there and we felt the presence of them all. Four of William’s groomsmens were Pleasanton High School graduates that included August Peters, Dane Anderson, Chris Prough and Jason Saenz. The evening, due to COVID, was more intimate than the larger wedding planned for last May. And, it was perfectly perfect in every way. Here is to happily ever after William and Erin. We are all in love with your love for each other.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.