How To Score A Sponsored Wedding

Do you remember a couple of years ago when Star Jones and Al Reynolds got married? She got a lot of grief because just about everything she needed for the wedding — and it was a huge wedding — she got for free. All she did was ask.

Melinda Murphy met a couple that couldn't afford a big wedding, but found sponsors to foot the bill.

It helps to have a little marketing savvy, plus a little imagination. This particular couple both worked in sales, and they love baseball. So they combined the two and put together a real home run of a wedding for practically nothing.

Carrie Fisher and Dave Kerpen really hit one out of the park with their wedding. The baseball uber-fans got married on home plate at Brooklyn's Keyspan Park. They live in another New York City borough, Queens.

But what made the event even more special is that practically everything involved was sponsored — free.

"We figured if we could actually have a wedding at a baseball stadium, we could invite everyone we've ever met. And then the question was, 'How do we actually put that together and pay for it?' And that's where the idea of a sponsored wedding came in," explains groom Dave Kerpen.

First sponsor up? Keyspan Park — the Cyclones never had a wedding promotion before.

"You gotta be careful. You wanna make sure that the event is — especially when you're doing it front of 8,000 people — that it's going to run well and be a good event," says Steve Cohen, general manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Not to worry — he was safe because the two marketing pros had the perfect pitch.

"We say, 'You have the perfect opportunity to be a part of something that's really amazing and we've got a really romantic night that is happening at a minor league baseball park and we enable you to be tied in in a really different kind of way,' " recalls Carrie Fisher.

And that led to $80,000 worth of free stuff, including bridesmaids' dresses and wedding bands.

Even the bouquets were tossed in, courtesy of 1-800-FLOWERS.

"We get to tie into something that's really just a lot of fun," says Steven Jarmon of 1-800-FLOWERS.

Fans were smiling, too. After all, they got free flowers and bobbleheads. Thanks to some fancy toilet-papering, one lucky gal even won a wedding dress.

Murphy asks Cyclones player Grady Hinchman how the wedding night compared to other promotional nights.

"The best by far. This is really cool, really exciting. That's a true baseball fan right there," he says.

Smaller sponsors had fun with it, too.

"I love it," says Regina McRae of Grandma's Secrets Bakery. "I was thinking about putting a little bride and groom behind home plate. But I thought 'Nah, that'd be overdoing it.' "

Truth is, it'd be kind of hard to hit a foul with a wedding like this — though a few think the whole thing is just wrong.

"Brokering the biggest day of your life takes away from it's sacredness and special specialness," says Carly Roney, editor in chief of The Knot, a magazine for brides. "You're spent your time making business deals about things that should be personal decisions that should be reflecting you."

While Carrie admits that some people say it's a little tacky, she doesn't think it is.

"I don't think it is because I think that most of the costs associated with a wedding have little to nothing to do with the commitment you're making to one another. Our commitment to one another is strong. That's what we're celebrating," she says.

So in front of 400 invited guests, fans galore and even the mascots, the two exchanged vows on their field of dreams, cementing the one thing they couldn't get from any sponsor — their love for each other.

Now, it may look like these two were only thinking about themselves. But as a big thank-you to Keyspan Park, the Cyclones and the Mets, they donated $20,000 to the David Wright Foundation For Multiple Sclerosis Research.
  • Daniel Schorn

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