Nicole Willenbring, 2012 Bethel grad, won the competetion to experience her dream wedding at Target Field
Culture | Lucy Hayes for the Clarion
Nicole and Mike Willenbring, along with their wedding party, pose for photos in the Twins dugout to remember the momentous day for years to come. | Courtesy of Michael Jarvis Photography
Little girls dream about their wedding day their whole lives: traditional white dress or hot pink party gown? Wedding on a tropical beach or inside of an elegant Cathedral? Very few girls even consider getting married on home plate in their favorite baseball stadium, but that’s exactly what Bethel graduate Nicole Willenbring (formerly Nettleton) did.
Through a contest sponsored by JB Hudson Jewelers and the Minnesota Twins, Nicole and her husband, Mike, had the opportunity to say their vows in the same place that Joe Mauer hits his winning home runs.
Nicole has been a Twins fan all of her life. In fact, the Twins are what bonded Mike and her together when they first met in seventh grade. With the assumption that she probably wouldn’t win, she entered herself and Mike into the contest.
A few months later, the couple was invited to a Twins game where, via Jumbotron, they learned that they were one of the finalists for the contest. From there, they rallied family and friends to vote for them to win. On June 29 the camera zoomed in on the native Minnesotan couple, announcing that they would be the couple to get married at Target Field.
Of course, Nicole had to shake her original plans for a traditional church wedding. She said that she realized “the details don’t matter. As long as I get to marry Mike, it will be a success.” In the end, how many people get to say that they got married at Target Field?
In addition to shedding any hesitation about getting married in such an unconventional setting, Nicole also had to entirely re-plan her wedding in just five weeks. She found out she won on June 29 and had her wedding set for Aug. 4.
“Miraculously, Aug. 4 happened to be open at Target Field,” said Nicole. She rapidly sent out “Change of Plans” cards to let her guests know not to show up at the chapel. With 250 guests, “getting word out was not easy,” but thankfully the wedding turned out “perfect.”
Not only is the memory of the event something special, but a massive piece of Minneapolis now has intimate significance to Nicole and Mike.
“It is super weird going to the stadium and seeing it now! The whole time I was there I was just thinking how I was standing on the field, in that batter’s box with Mike saying ‘I do,’” said Nicole.
Since then, she and Mike have settled into a house in Roseville, where they play with their dog, Harley, and hang out with friends. After a crazy five months of planning and re-planning, Nicole proclaims with relief that they are “loving life without planning a wedding!”