The groom-to-be answers "maybe" when PEOPLE asks if there'll be a beach nearby

By Kristen Mascia and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 19, 2008 08:20 AM
Carley Margolis/FilmMagic

With his wedding to Abby McGrew set to take place Saturday, super private Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning spoke to PEOPLE earlier this week, and though he was fairly mum on his big day ahead – and even tried walking away when the subject came up – he did let slip a few clear hints about who’d be there and the beach-side setting where the ceremony would take place.

“It’s coming up, yeah,” Manning, 27, told PEOPLE at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Monday, when he was celebrated by Big Brothers, Big Sisters as their Sports Honoree of the Year.

But when it came to telling about what’s “coming up,” the shy guy said, “I don’t think I’m allowed to.”

Did he mean his fiancée would wring his neck? “Exactly,” he replied before he tried to turn away.

Still, when asked if it would be a big family day – reports have said only relatives and close friends had been invited, and McGrew’s father also said the affair would be strictly “private” – Manning responded, “Oh yeah, definitely, close friends and family.”

And, PEOPLE asked, would there be a little bit of sand involved? “Maybe,” he said.

Family Matters

As this week wore on, it’s been revealed that the Manning-McGrew nuptials are expected to take place on the white sands of the exclusive One&Only Palmilla resort, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where the couple and their guests have been frolicking since Thursday.

At the Waldorf, Manning made it clear how important his family is to him, and introduced older brothers Peyton and Cooper to the crowd – even though, “when I was younger,” he admitted, “I was the punching bag. Cooper was always at my side. He was older than Peyton so he used to beat up Peyton, and Peyton would look for someone to get his revenge on and he obviously came to me.”

Still, he said beforehand to PEOPLE, “I’ve been blessed to have two loving parents and two big brothers to give me support and guidance and love in my life.”