Guests arrived at Carolina Stadium on a clear, warm Carolina day and made their way to their seats behind home plate to find cups of popcorn and rally towels waiting for them. The strains of “Also sprach Zarathustra,” from 2001: A Space Odyssey – which elicits a rush of inspirational pride in any true University of South Carolina fan – began to play over the sound system. As the apex of the song trumpeted out and the bass drums pounded energetically in time, seven guys in sharp black tuxedos rushed from the home team dugout to form a huddle on the field. Turning away, they shucked their jackets onto the vibrant green grass to reveal football jerseys. Two of them lined up at home plate, while three stood beside them so that their respective numbers spelled out the date, 08-18-12. Three women in black summer dresses and flip flops and a little girl in white strolled from the visiting team dugout and lined up across home plate from the men.
Then a woman in a full length, white v-neck gown stepped out from the dugout and slowly began to march toward the others, and then the wedding ceremony began on the field. The couple leaned in to one another to celebrate their commitment with a kiss as the energetic beats of Darude’s “Sandstorm” burst over the loudspeaker, and the guests excitedly whipped their rally towels in the air, cheering them on as they faced the crowd together for the first time as husband and wife.
Loyal Gamecock fans Eryn Winesett and Dustin Seeger used their mutual love of U.S.C. sports to infuse that fun, big-league twist on the biggest home run of their lives. Original plans for their nuptials only included using the university’s signature garnet and black colors, but after a friend mentioned that it was possible to rent out rooms at Williams Brice Stadium for special events, they looked into the possibility of getting married there overlooking the very stadium where they had enjoyed so many other memorable moments together. After concerns arose about not being able to use the football field because of an uncertain practice schedule, the couple inquired about using the baseball field instead for the ceremony and were informed that it would be available.
Special handcrafted touches were used to tie together both the baseball and football venues. Baseballs in glass cylindrical vases formed unusually elegant centerpieces, topped with roses that matched the red stitching in the balls. Eryn’s handmade baseball rose bouquet was a very last minute decision, she admits. “I’m not a ‘girly-girl’ at all and didn’t want a boring, traditional, flower bouquet. During an internet search for ‘sports themed flowers’ I saw pictures of roses made from baseball leather. It looked simple enough so we bought a few baseballs and gave it a shot.”
“Something that I was really looking forward to was the moment when we were announced for the very first time as Mr. and Mrs. Dustin Seeger,” says Dustin. As the couple strolled into the Letterman Lounge at Williams-Brice Stadium where the reception was taking place, Dustin got his wish.
Guests enjoyed a full-on traditional tailgate spread of hot dogs, miniature cheeseburgers and chips and dip served easily and casually on official NCAA licensed print plates and napkins. Eryn’s family and friends collaborated to make a face-in-hole cutout of a football player and a cheerleader so guests could take fun photos and commemorate the playful spirit of the day. Eryn and Dustin even wore custom jerseys, his featuring the number 6, hers the number 17. “Those numbers represent the time, 6:17 am, when Dustin first texted me that he loved me,” Eryn says. “It became an ongoing inside joke between us. Instead of just saying ‘I love you’, like normal people, we would simply say ‘6:17’. We finally had to explain it to everyone at the wedding because several people asked how we came up with our jersey numbers. Apparently it brought a few people to tears.”
A surprise was in store for Eryn when her new husband took the stage to serenade her with “You” by Chris Young, a performance that he had secretly been practicing for three months. Because that Saturday was also Freshmen Day at the stadium, the couple and guests had to quickly take to the freshly manicured field for photos. Some traditional poses and uniquely quirky ones – like the couple and their bridal party squaring off at the 50-yard line – capture the vitality of their relationship.
While most brides and grooms experience a moderate amount of stress leading up to the big day, a heart stopping twist less than a week before the ceremony was to take place almost caused the wedding to not happen at all. A miscommunication had arisen over the use of the baseball field as the actual wedding location. During a meeting with senior administration, pleas from the couple led to a ruling to allow the wedding to continue as planned, but this would be the only time that a wedding would take place at Carolina Stadium. “I think it’s even more impressive that no one but us will ever be allowed to have a wedding on the field,” says Dustin.
He says, “For the most part this whole idea was Eryn’s. Did I have input? Sure here and there, but mostly this was her show.”
Eryn adds, “Yeah, I’m the cool wife!”