Saying ‘I do’ to a ballpark weddingWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Burgess was looking for a venue for her wedding when she met Angie Dixon.
“We went to a bridal show and Angie was at a booth and she gave us all the information, so we decided to go check it out,” Burgess said. “We loved it — loved the atmosphere of it.”
The venue Burgess had found was not one of the usual wedding haunts.
It’s Fifth Third Field.
As a Mud Hens fan, Burgess loved the venue so much she has decided to say her “I do” at Fifth Third Field on May 20, right at home plate.
The idea is actually not a new one. Weddings have been taking place at the ballpark since 2012 and they’ve grown so much that Dixon, who has been with the Mud Hens for nearly four years, gained a new title and now spends her workdays catering to weddings and other events.
The Mud Hens have launched a marketing campaign to encourage such nuptials and Dixon is a full-fledged champion of the movement. She has catered 25 weddings in the past three years.
“It’s been building momentum,” Dixon said. “Now this is my focus, on weddings. We’ve drummed up enough business for it to be its own standalone.”
Fifth Third Field has several rooms available for weddings, including the BirdCage, which is indoors and seats 25-300 or The Roost on 4, which is available year-round and seats up to 200.
Prices, Dixon said, are middle of the road compared to other venues in the region, but usually it’s the baseball connection that attracts the brides and grooms. “Obviously, if you come down here to have a wedding you already have an investment in baseball. There’s a reason to come down here.”
To keep them coming, the Mud Hens offer special deals such as turning the couple’s deposit into ticket packages that can be given to wedding guests or used for the following season.
The ballpark also hosts wedding showers and receptions.
As an incentive to brides planning their weddings at the park, a free room is offered for the shower at certain times, Dixon said.
“We’re very customized. We’re not the traditional banquet hall. We have a lot of flexibility that most places don’t,” she said. “We transform the ballpark; it ends up being an entire production.”
The word is spreading. A The Knot cover story on unique wedding venues in the state and featured Dixon’s brides and grooms.
People are even signing up for the venue while still out of the country, Dixon said. She worked with one bride living in Taiwan and Dixon planned her entire wedding for her via email and Skype.
That’s not unusual. Dixon currently has two brides who are in Florida. They’ve never seen the space but their parents are their local contacts. Dixon works with all the vendors they’ve hired and said her job is to keep everyone on the same page.
That’s exactly what she did for Kevin and Lynn Morrissey, who got married at Fifth Third Field on Nov. 2, 2013.
Kevin worked for the New York Yankees franchise at the time and was soon to be in Florida for training.
“Angie was super accommodating no matter what,” Kevin said. “We put it together quickly, too. We just happened to be home after we got engaged and I was in Florida the next few weeks for my job. On a whim we called her. We said, ‘We are only in for a weekend, is it possible to come in and see the venue?’ She said, ‘If you guys want to stop over.’ She walked us through and we saw everything.
“So we set up for an event. It worked out well,” Kevin said. “It’s why we picked that place. Lynn wanted a unique venue. Going in we knew we wanted something unique. This fell in our laps.”
The couple now lives in Pennsylvania, where Kevin works for a baseball analytics company.
Dixon’s first wedding this season is in May and she has 12 weddings booked for the spring/summer season. Two or three couples are booked for November and then the holiday party season starts.
The planned multimillion dollar Hensville development will allow the Mud Hens to expand their wedding facilities, Dixon said. The space across from the ball field, will include a banquet facility, rooftop terrace and bar.
No one else in Toledo has banquet and bar space attached to a rooftop terrace, Dixon said. “We’ve been talking about it for three years. Now that it’s tangible, it’s very exciting.”
Burgess said she picked the FifthThird Field because she just wanted to do something different.
Meanwhile, all the details are starting to come together, including place settings and the DJ and photographer. Planning her wedding through the Mud Hens has been a “very good experience,” Burgess said.
“People have asked whether it’s going to be formal or if they can wear shorts. It’s not an actual baseball game going on. It’s actually my wedding,” she said.