Lucky couple can win All-Star FanFest wedding
Entrants can share stories of their love through June 1
In nearly 20 years as a sought-after wedding planner in the Phoenix area, Charlee Geisler of Signature Events has seen just about every kind of matrimonial request.
She has planned weddings for such Major League Baseball players as Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Mark Mulder and Quinton McCracken. She once had a wedding in which a judge agreed to perform the ceremony for a former clerk, but the only problem was that the judge started the ceremony before the bride had a chance to walk down the aisle.
"That was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me as a wedding planner," Geisler said. "She was nervous and hadn't done this. She walks down the aisle with her little notebook in front of her, beside the groom with the groomsmen following. She starts the ceremony. She forgot that the bride wasn't down the aisle yet. I'm back there waving at her like, 'Hello! I still have the bride back here!'"
Now Geisler, a D-backs fan, is already planning one of the most unusual, challenging and absolutely fun nuptials to come her way: the first-ever MLB All-Star FanFest Wedding.
MLB announced on Thursday that it will host a real wedding ceremony for the first time as part of All-Star Week. Couples are invited to share their stories now through June 1 on MLB.com for a chance to win this wedding.
The lucky couple will be married (speak now or forever hold your peace) at 11 a.m. MST on July 12 at the Phoenix Convention Center, site of FanFest. The wedding package includes a ceremony on the Diamond at FanFest; a catered reception for 50 guests by Aventura Catering; a wedding-ring package from Molina Fine Jewelers worth up to $15,000 that will include either an engagement ring or two wedding bands; a wedding dress by Uptown Bridal; and round-trip airfare and two tickets to the 82nd Midsummer Classic that night.
"I thought it was great and I was excited," said Geisler, who was able to do this because, unlike most places, midsummer is the slow time for weddings in Phoenix, due to the climate. "I'm approached frequently to do gratis weddings and I don't do them. I really don't. First of all, it's so time-consuming. Unless it's for a really, really good reason, I just don't do them. This just sounded like so much fun and it's such a great idea."
It is about as challenging as it gets for a wedding planner, but Geisler said the winning couple "will not be disappointed. I have a great plan for this event and it is anything but ordinary.
"The challenge from my end is that it's such a tight time frame. Most brides will start planning their wedding with a minimum of six months out, up to a year. The average is between six months to a year, and I have one month, not even that, to get this done. So we're laying all the groundwork (i.e., invitation paper and florist are preselected), then, when the bride and groom are selected, flying them in that weekend, it's a very busy two days. Running around to hair and makeup, cake tasting, bridal gown and tux fitting, a lot is packed in those days. She'll pick out her bridesmaid dresses and so on.
"It can be done. It will be done. A challenge to me makes it fun. The fact that it is such a tight frame makes it fun for me."
Tom Papa, host of NBC's "The Marriage Ref," will join WE tv's "My Fair Wedding" celebrity wedding planner David Tutera, MLB All-Star ambassador Luis Gonzalez and Jenni Croft Badolato from ABC's "The Bachelor" to assist MLB in selecting the winning couple.
"Baseball fans are so passionate about their sport that I expect many will jump at the opportunity to get married at a great event like MLB All-Star FanFest," Gonzalez said. "This is something unique to Phoenix, and I'm incredibly excited to help make a memorable day for a special couple."
Geisler has this advice for those planning to enter the contest:
"The criteria is important. One, when they send in the videos, they obviously are very much in love with each other. That to me is critical. To have avid baseball enthusiasts will be really, really fun. And we're looking for just a well-rounded couple. They're fun, they are enthusiastic, they enjoy the sport, they have a nice sense of humor.
"I still love this business, it's an incredible career. It's been good to me. I do this and I'm excited about this. The career is something I love, it's not just a job."
The lucky couple will receive items from MLB partners, including a $500 MasterCard gift card, beverages for the reception provided by Anheuser-Busch, hotel stay provided by InterContinental Hotels Group, and a $500 Newlywed Lawn & Garden Kit donated by Scotts featuring a wide array of Scotts Miracle-Gro products.
Additional services donated by local Phoenix businesses for the wedding include Angelic Grove (floral decor and arrangements), Eyes 2 See Photography, Serendipity Video (wedding videographer), Classic Party Rental, F/X Entertainment (ceremony and reception music), Celebrations in Paper (invitations and wedding program), Cheryl Roberts with Steven Paul Salon (hair and makeup), Julia Baker Confections (cake) and Men's Wearhouse (tuxedos).