Somehow during maybe the busiest month-and-a-half of their lives, Chase Allen and Emma Dau found enough time to schedule a wedding.
Somehow, they landed on July 9. Somehow, they figured out a time to jet off for an Icelandic honeymoon — and somehow, they’ve figured it all out.
It’s one thing to plan a summer wedding. It’s another thing when the groom is a Chicago Bears rookie free agent who still must provide himself enough during workouts to make the team.
And somehow, the couple found an hour or so to discuss their hectic schedule with me over breakfast one morning last week.
“I kind of love chaos,” Emma said. “As I was dating Chase, I was always seeking out jobs across the country. I was floating around here and there.
“I guess you can say I get kind of bored, sometimes.”
Allen, a former Iowa State tight end who signed a free agent deal with the Bears after going undrafted during the 2022 draft, had his rookie minicamp this week.
After returning home for a few days, he’ll go back to the Bears. After organized team activities are finished, he’ll be back in time for the wedding — which coincidentally is on his birthday.
“I’ll never forget my anniversary,” Allen cracked.
Bored, as Emma mentioned?
“We knew this year was going to be crazy,” said Dau, also an Iowa State grad. “We threw around having a small wedding somewhere, maybe Arizona, in the wintertime.
“We decided to go all-out with it, then with COVID, a lot of venues were already booked up.”
COVID wedding rescheduling. Mimi Camp. OTAs, and remember, they were working in a tight timeframe.
“Having it at our house was about our only option,” Dau said.
So that’s the plan. The wedding will be in the backyard of Emma’s parent’s Okoboji home. The invitation list includes members of the Iowa State football team, a couple of whom were very instrumental in Chase and Emma getting together.
“It’s a good group of guys that will be there,” Chase said. “Brock (Purdy) went to Okoboji last summer. He said it’s the best vacation he ever had. Fishing, the night scene, throwing the football around at Miller’s Bay. “
They’ll all be there, celebrating Emma and Chase.
Their initial meeting
Dau, a former basketball star at Spirit Lake High School, started college at the University of Milwaukee. She transferred to Iowa State at the same time as her high school friend Sam Harms transferred from Iowa Western Community College to play football for the Cyclones.
“We were best friends, Sam and I,” Dau said. “We didn’t really know too many people when we got to Iowa State. We were each other’s friend. Basically, whatever he did, I did.”
They attended a party in the winter of 2017, where she just happened to meet a tall redhead named Chase.
“I was hosting Charlie (Kolar) on his official recruiting visit,” Allen said. “That’s where we met.”
Emma liked to take pictures—still does. Back then, she took pictures of the football team.
“I was redshirting,” Chase said. “Basically, I was just standing on the sidelines in a jersey — starring.”
At the party where Chase was hosting Kolar, people actually thought they were already dating, but they weren’t.
“That was the joke that night,” Dau said. “Finally, Chase just started telling people that we were dating.”
Their first date was about a month later — on the Ames Middle School track, a place that would become more significant as they dated.
“I ended up living in a house right by that middle school track,” Allen said. “I could look out the window and see it. It’s where I took Dutch (his Australian shepherd from him) on walks.”
At some point, I figured that would also be the perfect place for something special — like a proposal.
“It was my birthday,” Allen said of the July late afternoon day last summer. “I told Emma, ’Let’s get all dressed up and go out to eat.’”
That was a ruse. The real plan was to walk around the middle school sports complex, then pop the question. It was so strategic, that Chase’s roommate, former Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt, even took pictures.
“He likes to take pictures. He’s pretty good at it,” Allen said. “The field was actually where we had our first date. I had Kyle hide behind a tree. Emma and I were walking, and then I dropped right then and there.”
Will you. . . ?
And it is.
“I was dressed up for dinner,” Emma said, “but come to find out, he really didn’t have reservations. It was just a ploy.
“It’d been raining all day, but for that one moment, the sun came out. It was cool. Right there at the middle school practice field.
“I wouldn’t have wanted anything any different.”
The wedding and Iceland
Don’t think for a moment Chase isn’t helping out as much as his busy schedule allows, and yes, Dau has been busy, too, not only with the wedding plans, but she also is a graphic designer for a Spirit Lake marketing agency.
He’s handling the tuxedos. He’s looking up addresses for invitations. I have planned the honeymoon. She and both sets of parents are doing the rest.
“You can’t imagine everything that goes into having a backyard wedding,” Emma said. “Transportation, porta-potties, tents, generators, tables, chairs, food (a taco bar) — and it’s the middle of July.”
But Iceland for the honeymoon?
“Actually, we got that idea from watching ‘The Bachelor,’” Dau said.
Instead of staying in honeymoon suites, they’re going to tool around Iceland in a camper.
“And Chase will bring his guitar,” Emma said. “He actually played it on our first date.”
Chase was playing it on the Saturday afternoon of the draft, too.
“Just trying to distract myself,” he said.
Through his agent, he learned the Bears could be calling, if he wasn’t picked during one of the seven rounds. New Bears coach Matt Eberflus was the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator in 2018 — when current Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning was the Colts’ tight end coach.
Also, Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles is friends with one of Allen’s former AAU basketball coaches.
“Small world,” Chase said.
A hectic one, too, right now for Chase and Emma.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson embarked on his 50th year of writing sports for the Des Moines Register in December 2021. Reach him at email@example.com, and on Twitter at @RandyPete.