MONMOUTH — Busch Stadium in St. Louis is generally reserved for baseball. But for Andrea Mast and Zeke Gatton, it is a natural fit for their wedding on June 8. They are both die-hard fans of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the ballpark has almost been like a second home to them.
“We kind of stumbled upon the idea of getting married at Busch Stadium,” Mast said. “We were at a game probably five years ago or so and there was a rain delay. We were hanging out inside and we heard a lady next to us talking about how her daughter was looking to have her reception there. So we were sitting and waiting for the game to start, looked on the Cardinals website and found that it was an option. Five years later, we were like, ‘That would be cool.’ It is something that we are both really passionate about and it’s kind of a unique place.”
Mast is a teacher at Central Intermediate School in Monmouth and Gatton works as a conductor on the railroad in Galesburg.
Mast grew up in Hamilton. Through the years, she’s been to nearly 50 Cardinal games at Busch Stadium.
“Everybody who asks about the wedding says, ‘I didn’t even know that is an option,’” she said. “That’s so cool. That’s definitely memorable. You get a lot of questions and kind of disbelief that it’s an option.”
Mast said the planning for the wedding has not been too bad, either, as both of their families embraced the idea. In fact, Mast and her mom did a private tour with the event planner at Busch Stadium.
“That was the selling point,” she said.
They’ll have their rehearsal dinner at Ballpark Village in one of the private event spaces, which has an outdoor area that overlooks the stadium.
“They (the Cardinals organization) have been super-great about this,” Mast said. “They’ve handled a lot of it and made the wedding planning pretty much stress-free for the most part. They have taken control of it.”
The actual wedding will be quite memorable, too.
“My sister will be standing on the third-base line and the ceremony will happen at home plate,” said the 26-year-old Mast. “We can use the scoreboard and we can put whatever image we want on the screen. We have use of the stadium sound and there are fireworks after the ceremony. Then, we’ll just take it upstairs to the Champion’s Club, which is an all-inclusive suite, and that’s where the reception will be. It’s all in-house.”
They could invite 40,000 people if they wanted to, she joked. Instead, they are going to have a much smaller wedding with close family and friends, about 125 people.
Mast said she will not be wearing a Cardinals jersey with her name on the back. Instead, she’ll be wearing a traditional wedding dress.
“We thought the location (of Busch Stadium) was enough,” she said.
Mast is putting her foot down on one thing, though, for the wedding ceremony: No Cubs jerseys allowed, or “Cubs blue,” as they say.
“Not allowed,” she said, laughing.
“We’re excited and so ready for it,” Mast said. “It’s kind of a cool reminder we’ll have every time we go there. The guys will come out of the home dugout, which I’m kind of jealous about. They get to come out of the Cardinals side. He’ll be on that side of home plate and his brothers will be on the first-base line. Then I’ll come out with my father from the visitors dugout.”
Gatton grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, and went to Cardinals games with his family. In high school, he got to pitch an inning at Busch Stadium and play the outfield in an actual varsity game. He was also there for Mark McGuire’s 62nd home run. Plus, as a kid, Gatton said he was always by the dugouts and getting autographs and talking to the players.
“It started way young,” said Gatton, 27, who has been to close to 100 Cardinals games at Busch Stadium. “I’m really excited. Andrea and I have been together for quite some time (eight years), and it’s been a long time coming.”
So how did Gatton propose?
He organized a big family picture in Burlington, Iowa, with both sides of their families present, and totally surprised Andrea.
Gatton said he and the others in the wedding party might wear some of those “crazy socks” to show their Cardinals spirit.