For truly devout fans, there’s no better place for ‘I Do’ than a stadium altar
- Last Updated: 12:24 PM, August 9, 2012
- Posted: 10:17 PM, August 8, 2012
Kulani Nako threw a curveball when he asked his fiancée — a lifelong Red Sox fan — to make a cross-country trek from their home in Honolulu for their June wedding. At Yankee Stadium.
“Everybody loves to get married in a church, and I wanted to get married at baseball’s cathedral,” says Kulani, 33, who has supported the Bronx Bombers since he was a child.
His fiancée, Joyce, thought it was a cool idea because they’re both huge baseball fans, but she would only say “I do” on the Pinstripers’ field under one condition.
“I said, you have to wear a Red Sox jersey under your shirt,” Joyce, also 33, recalls.
Kulani balked at first: “Was I going to defile the cathedral by wearing a Red Sox jersey?”
He wouldn’t, but in the end they met in the middle: Taking the team name to heart, Kulani wore red socks instead.
The Nakos aren’t the only ones stepping up to the plate to exchange vows and rings at the city’s baseball meccas on non-game days. Since the new stadium opened in 2009, the Yankees have seen a rise in wedding ceremony and reception requests, according to Emily Hamel, director of non-baseball events. And Citi Field, which opened the same year, has also become a popular venue for Mets fans looking for a ceremony out of left field.
Many couples see the stadium as the perfect setting for beginning a new life together as a team.
“There’s a very strong level of interest for brides and grooms to make this a part of their life,” says Hamel. “It’s a place they can come back to, that they can have their kids and grandkids come back to and share in that spirit and passion.”
The celebration doesn’t come cheap. Wedding-ceremony prices start at $8,500 for Yankee Stadium; at Citi Field, the minimum cost is $10,000.
For some, that’s a bargain. Schoolteacher Jennifer Colello considered Disney World for her 150-guest wedding in June, but decided it was too expensive. (DisneyWorld’s “Wishes” package— best-suited for a party their size—requires a $20,000 spending minimum for Saturday weddings.)
In the end, Jennifer and her husband, Greg Colello, who live in Morris Park in The Bronx, decided to have a ball with a ceremony on the field at Yankee Stadium, followed by a reception inside.
“We were thinking of places that were memorable, different and cool for us, and Yankee Stadium was one place that kept popping up,” says Greg, who works as a scoreboard producer for the stadium.
The couple, both 27, were thrilled when a former Bomber showed up during the rehearsal the evening before the ceremony.