Thursday, December 23, 2010

Get Married at the Big House!!!

"Say 'I do' in Maize and Blue"

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon sees your special day in a very special maize and blue way. "We have fans and alums who would love to get married on the Block M," Brandon said of the famous logo at the 50-yard line of Michigan Stadium.

"Can't you see the wedding procession coming out of the tunnel, under the M Go Blue banner? You have folding chairs set up on the field, you get married on the Block M, and everyone comes up the tunnel, then up the elevators, and you've got all these spaces up here (in the suites). You could have a reception for hundreds of people up here."

Brandon plans to hire an individual who will market Michigan Stadium weddings and parties. That person will set the price for the special events.

Currently, U-M diehards can tie the knot at the Michigan Union and the Michigan League. The Union has spaces that accommodate 10 to 400 guests while the League has a ballroom that can hold 300 guests. There are a variety of reception packages appropriately named, "Something Blue," "Maize and Blue package," and the "Victors Valiant package."

Hosting a wedding and/or reception is not unheard of at college or professional stadiums, particularly with the proliferation of renovated venues and the addition of luxury suites.

Illinois' Memorial Stadium has been the site of wedding ceremonies with receptions in the Colonnades Club on the third level of the stadium's west side. Rental for the club is $2,500.

The University of Utah also hosts receptions in the Varsity Room of the Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower for $2,200 (not including linens and catering, among other things).

Professional stadiums offer suites for wedding receptions. The Patriots' Gillette Stadium can host 100 to 2,000 guests, and Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play, offers a $4,750 package that includes a ceremony at home plate and scoreboard and sound system usage.

Brandon, a former U-M football player and a CEO for two decades, is an idea man, a forward thinker who knows that while seven or eight home football games is the reason Michigan Stadium even exists, there could be much more. So much more.

"To families, individuals, corporations who would have an interest in using them for events that would be special," Brandon said. "This stadium is one of the assets we have.

"We have this beautiful structure that's being used predominantly seven days a year. If we can come up with occasional opportunities to host other events that will draw the attention of folks and will be interesting and fun and financially viable, we'd love to do it."

While he was CEO of Ann Arbor-based Domino's, Brandon said it was always a struggle to find a large enough and unique area to host events. He said the company often had to take functions to Detroit.

"We think you could put on some interesting unique corporate events," Brandon said. "We are very open to that."

Brandon said that once renovations to Crisler Arena and Yost Arena are completed, those facilities also will contain "a lot of really cool, interesting spaces" that could potentially host events.

Who wants to be my first client to get married at the Big House???? :)

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