Ah, baseball ballparks: Home to the national pastime, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks ... and in some cases, everlasting love. Ever wondered what it would be like to go to a wedding where the ring-bearer is the Colorado Rockies mascot? Or where the attendants break into a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” mid-ceremony? Or where you throw peanuts instead of rice?
Nearly every MLB team has used their park to play host to at least one wedding, with ceremonies ranging from completely traditional attire with nothing but some Yankees pinstripes on the inside of the tuxedo, to total team-themed outfits, to the five Brewers Racing Sausages participating in the union of the happy couple.
So why a ballpark wedding?
That's exactly what we asked the brides and grooms below, who tell us all about their special day and how they decided a baseball field was the perfect spot to declare their everlasting love for each other. So to these happy couples, we toast (our $8 ballpark Budweisers) to you!
Ann, 29, whose maiden name is Cimmarusti, was married at Dodger Stadium on July 11, 2009. The Cimmarusti family owns and operates 66 restaurants, including several Burger Kings in Los Angeles. The wedding had a Dodger-themed décor, an hor d'oeuvres reception in centerfield and a stage with a live band, a dance floor and reception dining in the infield.
Why did you have your wedding at Dodger Stadium?
Ann Amaral: My husband and I are huge Dodgers fans, and I love planning parties. I wanted something unique for my wedding; I thought having a wedding at Dodger Stadium would be the place. My dad has actually known Tommy Lasorda for quite a while and Tommy helped us out. I had my fairly tale wedding.
How was it set up?
Ann Amaral: We had to have it all carpeted so that it wouldn't destroy the field, since it was during the season. [Laughs] I had beautiful orchid centerpieces, linens ... it was pretty much every girl's fantasy wedding.
From the pictures, it looks like it was a pretty big wedding.
Ann Amaral: I come from a large Italian family, so we had over 450 guests on the field. We had Dodger Dogs served for a main course along with the Dodger Stadium's famous peanut guy, Roger Owens. We had cotton candy, red vince licorice. We did want a black-tie affair, but quite a few guests wanted to come wearing their jerseys. Some brought their baseball gloves because they wanted to play catch on the field. My husband did get all his groomsmen jerseys with their names on the back. We also had fireworks as me and my husband walked in for the reception.
Did you help coordinate it?
Ann Amaral: I had a wedding coordinator who went to Dodger Stadium and worked with them. It was quite a big team we had. The Dodgers were amazing to work with. The catering department was amazing. I got everything I wanted.
So your wedding was nearly "snowed out"?
Kurt Benhoff: The morning of the wedding day was great, it's sunny outside. Everybody gets ready at the hotel, we take off for the stadium and we started seeing snowflakes come down. I thought, "Wow, this could get really interesting." We get to the stadium and as everybody gets ready, one of my wife's bridesmaids comes into my room and tells me to look outside. It was blizzard-like conditions. We walk out to the dugout, and we're looking at the field. She asked me what I thought and I said, "Honestly, I still want to do it. This is going to be really cool. We're baseball fans; we didn't come here to do an indoor wedding." But I said my wife, Christina, needed to make that decision. That day was about her, not me. Christina said she wanted to do it.
So, the people start lining up in the seats behind home plate. The snow is covering the field; people can barely see. We had the groomsmen in one dugout, the bridesmaids in the other dugout and they started coming out one-by-one. It was just a very memorable, fascinating experience. To share that moment with the Cardinals is a lifelong experience that we'll never forget.
There were three or four inches of snow on the field. We got married at home plate. We had four groomsmen and four bridesmaids, then about 150-175 people in the wedding party sitting in the stands. They were all covered in snow, people were wiping their faces off, the minister was standing there with his book and trying to wipe the snow away. It was one of those things that was special. Any wedding is special but this one moreso than others just because of what the weather was like, having our family there, people having snowball fights in the stands.
The train on her wedding dress was quite a mess from the snow. We actually haven't washed it yet. It adds character to the dress to see what we went through that day.
Whose idea was it to having a wedding reception at Citi Field's Acela Club?
Jackie Caputo: Frank's cousin said to me that we should get married at Citi Field because he had just attended a bar mitzvah there. Frank is the biggest Mets fan, so when he heard that he got really excited. We called, set up a meeting, we went there and the place is beautiful -- the Acela Club. The coolest thing is that it overlooks the field. I didn't want a formal wedding. I wanted a cocktail party style of wedding.
Did you have any special requests for Citi Field?
Jackie Caputo: We each got jerseys with "Caputo" on the back. We walked into the stadium; it said "Jackie and Frank Caputo Wedding" and a picture of us on the scoreboard. Every screen around the place had our engagement picture.
And you traveled to Citi Field from your ceremony, which was held at a church?
Jackie Caputo: Yeah, we pulled up to Citi in white trolleys, and our bridal party had 24 people. We pulled up to the stadium and there were reporters there waiting for us. We took some pictures with them then we walked through the stadium and Frank and I got our pictures taken on the field. The Mets were so great about that.
What would you recommend for future couples who have a wedding and/or reception at a MLB ballpark?
Jackie Caputo: Write down who you want to take pictures with so that the photographer knows that. The pictures and video are the only things you have to look back at the wedding. Our videographer was amazing. But there were some people who I would've liked to get a picture with and I didn't get them.
Becky Lewis: I did not wear a dress. I and my bridesmaids -- my sisters, basically -- wore white Reds jerseys. That was my idea; I wanted it to be comfortable, like you're at the ballpark. Adam, my husband, wore a grey jersey. We got an actual Reds jersey and had Lewis – our last name – put on it. Our numbers were 2010 for the year we got married. The girls and the guys wore Nike Reds jerseys -- probably 85 percent of the wedding party was wearing Reds clothing.
Before the ceremony, we played Bruce Springsteen and "Glory Days" -- baseball songs. The girls walked out to "Centerfield" by John Fogerty. I walked out to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Our invitations were baseball tickets. When our guests RSVP'd for the wedding, they pulled the stub off and sent that back.