BGSU ‘Falcon Flames’ pay homage to University during recent nuptials

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Every Valentine’s Day, people pause to take time to show their affection for one another. For one newly married couple with ties to Bowling Green State University, they’re spending the day reflecting on the love that runs deep between themselves and for the University itself.

Last fall, 2018 graduates Kohl and Hailey Taberner officially became Falcon Flames during their October wedding. The newlyweds are now among the University’s more than 11,300 married couples with degrees from BGSU. 

To pay homage to the University that brought them together, the Taberners added subtle tributes to the brown and orange throughout their wedding day. 

“BGSU holds a special place in my heart,” Kohl Taberner said. “It feels like home to me. I developed some of my best friendships at BG and met the ultimate best friend in Hailey.”

Falcon Flames can be found in all 50 states and Washington. The group is formally recognized through the BGSU Alumni Association, which sends Valentine’s Day cards to couples annually.

According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at BGSU, graduation years among Falcon Flames range from as early as 1945 through 2023, and the year with the most graduates is 1982 with 641, followed by 1974 with 631.

Not only do some couples meet at BGSU, but some also get married on campus. A popular wedding venue is Prout Chapel, nestled between Williams Hall—home of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research—and Shatzel Hall.

More than 230 Falcon Flames returned to BGSU in 2022 to renew their vows during a special ceremony outside Prout Chapel during the University's 100th Homecoming.

The love many Falcon Flames have for one another is rivaled only by their adoration for BGSU, recently ranked as the No. 1 university in Ohio for student experience.

The Taberners live in Portland, Oregon, where Kohl Taberner, who graduated from BGSU with a political science degree, works as a grants fiscal specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With a degree in inclusive early childhood education, Hailey Taberner taught first grade in Maryland for a few years before becoming a nanny in Portland.

The couple married in their native Ohio to be close to relatives in Holland and Dayton.

For their big day, Kohl Taberner wore a custom-made suit lined on the inside with orange fabric. The words “Ay Ziggy” — an ode to the BGSU fight song “Ay Ziggy Zoomba” — were embroidered underneath the collar.

The groom’s nephew, Kenly Taberner, carried a Falcons football helmet filled with white flower petals down the aisle.

“I thought it’d be cool to have BGSU represented in that way and unique to have him throw flower petals out of the helmet,” said Kohl Taberner, who used his connections as a former member of the BGSU men’s cross country team to make that a reality.

“Kohl’s request was a first for me,” said Dan Meyer, senior associate athletic director, who lent the helmet to the couple. “I’m happy I was able to help the Taberners add another element of BGSU into their wedding day.” 

As a final ode to the origin of their love story, Kohl Taberner pulled out a receipt from the couple’s first date at Easystreet Cafe in downtown Bowling Green while reading his vows. He had held on to it since Jan. 2, 2017.

“BGSU always felt like home to me and even more now since that’s where our love story began,” Hailey Taberner said.

Updated: 02/14/2024 11:02AM