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Donald Driver and Mark Lee were inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame on July 22, 2017. Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Joe and Katie Schlueter had a surprise guest show up at their wedding reception, but first Donald Driver had to make it past the mother of the bride.

The Green Bay newlyweds were celebrating at Titletown Brewing Co. on Saturday night with family and friends. Same for the Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver, who had been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame earlier that evening

Their respective parties were on different floors: the Schlueters in a third-floor event space and Driver in the first-floor Tap Room, which Titletown closed to the public for him and his guests at 10 p.m. 

Naturally, it was the elevator that brought them together.

RELATED:Donald Driver plans thank you tour across Wisconsin

Joe’s older brother, John, was waiting at the elevator with his infant child in a stroller. They were headed back to the hotel. Now John, who lives in San Francisco, had never been to Green Bay before last weekend. He’s not a Packers fan — not even much of an NFL guy really.

You see where this is heading?

So when the friendly, energetic man on the elevator asked him what was happening on the third floor, he told him it was a wedding. Whose wedding? “The guy in the vest,” he said coyly.

John gets in the elevator; Driver gets off. The brother of the groom doesn’t think anything of it, except for a brief inclination that maybe he should stop him, because he looked like “some random guy.”

That's right. John had no idea who he was talking to.

Joe, a teacher, varsity football defensive backs coach and junior varsity wrestling coach at Bay Port High School in Suamico, offers great play-by-play of what happened next. 

“Donald Driver walks in (to the reception) and the first person to see him is my wife’s mother, so the mother of the bride. She doesn’t recognize him at first, either. She kind of goes up to him and says, ‘Excuse me, who are you?’

“He goes, ‘I’m Donald.’ 

“And she goes, Donalddd?’

“He goes, ‘Donald Driver.’

“And then instantly she’s like, ‘Oh my gosh! Hi! How are you?’

“Donald Driver goes for the first person he sees in a vest. One of my groomsmen, who is the tallest of all the groomsmen, is wearing the same kind of vest I’m wearing. Donald Driver goes up to him and instantly the kid, he’s a Wisconsin kid, recognizes him. His eyes go real big. His jaw drops.

“Donald Driver goes up to him and hugs him and says, ‘Hey, congratulations on your wedding day.’ 

The groomsmen goes, “I’m not the groom.”

“Meanwhile, I’m over cutting the cake with my wife. It’s 11 o’clock and we still hadn’t cut the cake.

“My hands are messy with cake, and we’ve got a knife that Titletown gave us, and her sister comes up and says, ‘Donald Driver’s here.’

“My wife Katie goes, ‘Shut up!’ She turns around instantly and leaves.

"I’m kind of like, ‘OK, yeah, whatever.’ But I turn around and there’s Donald Driver on the dance floor talking to people.”

“... I end up dropping the knife and getting rid of the cake. I walk up to the dance floor and Katie’s giving him a hug. He comes up to me and gives me a big hug.”

Driver posed for photos with the couple, introduced them to his daughter, who was with him, and said hello to several guests.

And then, just like that, he was gone.

“Just as mysteriously as he appeared, he disappeared. He said thanks, everybody cheered and he walked out,” Joe said. “There were about 5 minutes of stunned (silence), everybody standing around trying to figure out how that happened.”

For the out-of-town guests, it was easy for Joe to explain who Donald Driver is.

“Yeah, the guy whose statue is outside Titletown? No. 80? That’s the guy,” he said. “For everybody, that was really cool.”

It was about the same time that Joe got a couple of texts from people elsewhere in the building who had spotted Driver. He had also popped up to the Roof Tap and surprised patrons there. Titletown Brewing founder and president Brent Weycker was there at the time.

“He wanted to talk to everyone. He was walking up to people and letting them take pictures, shaking hands, high-fiving,” Weycker said. “You can tell he’s one of those infectious personalities. He was feeding off everybody.”

For the Schlueters, it was the kind of unforgettable, only-in-Green Bay wedding present you can’t put a bow on.

Driver is a favorite player for Katie, a Green Bay native. Joe is from Minnesota, but he’s always been a Packers fan. He came to Green Bay to attend St. Norbert College in De Pere and never left.

The photo of the couple with Driver on their wedding night will be framed and put next to the signed Aaron Rodgers helmet in the Packers memorabilia room of their home.

“It’s one of those things where the wedding went as perfect as we could have asked, and then it was capped off by a celebrity appearance ... which was kind of the icing on the cake, no pun intended,” Joe said. 

kmeinert@pressgazettemedia.com and follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert

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