Bride Pulls Off Surprise Wedding at Rocket City Trash Pandas Stadium

On Monday evening, the Rocket City Trash Pandas minor league baseball stadium held its first wedding ceremony and reception, but here’s the kicker: the groom didn’t know he was getting married. What he initially thought was his surprise 40th birthday party turned into the wedding of his dreams all thanks to one very creative bride.

Let’s rewind to this past spring.

Bride Tiffany Jordan, Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer of Acclinate Genetics, found herself in a dilemma that many currently-engaged couples can empathize with: how to plan a wedding amidst the pandemic.

She was also swirling around ideas about how to celebrate her fiance Louis Whitlow’s upcoming 40th birthday when an out-of-the-ordinary idea struck her: What if she threw him a surprise birthday with close friends and family and then transitioned the party from a birthday celebration to a wedding reception with a quick ceremony in between?

Once she had the idea, she got to work. Whitlow, who is co-owner and coach at The Compound on HWY 72 and head coach of Rocket City Dynamite Baseball, considers baseball to be one of his biggest passions. Jordan decided to take his love for baseball and look no further for a venue than brand new Toyota Field. She received a “yes” for July 20th and had just over 30 days to plan.

Close family and friends were invited to attend a surprise 40th birthday party for Whitlow and encouraged to stick around because there would be a big surprise they wouldn’t want to miss.

Fast forward to 6 p.m. this past Monday, and Tiffany was ready to go.

{Note:} All COVID-19 health precautions were in place: masks were required for all guests, hand sanitizer was ready when guests entered and exited each room, all food and drinks were served by stadium employees, etc. 

Donned in jeans, heels, and a personalized black baseball tee with a “W” on it, Tiffany appeared ready for a birthday bash. Birthday decor filled the SportsMED Stadium Club, and the crowd cheered wildly when Whitlow walked into his baseball-themed surprise. 

When asked how Tiffany was feeling during the birthday party portion of the evening, she said that she was “anxious, nervous, but very excited.”

After an hour of mingling with guests, an announcement was made encouraging all guests to exit the party room and head to the stadium seats. Whitlow was escorted to a specific front-row seat for a surprise on the Jumbotron while Tiffany appeared nowhere to be found.

Next, a 10-minute video played with dozens of special birthday wishes for Whitlow from family, friends, his players, and more. 

Tiffany, her son David, and Whitlow’s son Lamir were the last ones to wish Whitlow a happy birthday, but then there was a twist: Jordan revealed she had more to say than to just wish him a happy birthday.

After a brief baseball-themed skit that she and their sons performed, she revealed that she had answers for his frequent “When are we going to get married?” question.

“Through this process, I have realized that there may never be a right time. Planning has never been who we are,” Tiffany said in her video. 

“Today is a great time, so there is no better time than right now. Today. Right now. Everyone is here. What are we waiting on?”

The music then shifts and Whitlow can be seen wiping away tears at his seat. Tiffany and their sons can then be heard on the screen asking “Are you ready? Are you ready?”

Then, the words “Turn around” appear on the screen, and Whitlow turns around to find Tiffany walking towards him in a wedding dress with their sons holding the train of her gown.

As planned ahead of time by Tiffany and the officiant, Whitlow was then taken away to briefly chat with the officiant to make sure that getting married right now was something he was on board with. With zero hesitation, Whitlow, Tiffany, their sons, and Tiffany’s close girlfriends soon appeared and took their place on the field for the ceremony.

via the bride

A beautiful ceremony was held on the field that included traditional vows, an exchange of rings, and a moment where all four family members hit a baseball from a tee to symbolize knocking out a generational curse while guests recited the Lord’s Prayer aloud. 

 

And with a kiss, they were married! 

I caught up with Whitlow in between taking pictures, who was overwhelmed with joy. He shared that “every part of this is Tiffany. She is amazing. She always has something up her sleeve.”

“I’ve always viewed baseball as a vehicle to transform lives, so to have this wedding here just makes everything come full circle.”

The wedding reception followed on-site with a good chunk of the decor transitioned for a wedding instead of a birthday. 

the Trash Pandas minor league baseball stadium held its first wedding ceremony and reception, but here's the kicker: the groom didn't know he was getting married. What he initially thought was his surprise 40th birthday party turned into the wedding of his dreams all thanks to one very creative bride.

{Author note: Tiffany thought of everything. Her attention to detail was incredibly impressive!}

What friends and family had to say

I caught up with Tiffany and Lou’s sons before the wedding, who shared with me how important it was to Tiffany that she make Whitlow feel special. 

“He proposed to her on her birthday,” shared David, who is the teen co-owner of The Bro Shop. “So this was a great way to celebrate him on his birthday.”

Lamir, also a co-owner of The Bro Shop, shared that his dad loves coaching baseball and that his local athletic training facility The Compound is a huge passion. 

“My dad has helped me get to where I want to be in baseball and in academics,” shared Lamir, who said that his dad is passionate about helping every kid achieve his or her dreams, not only in sports but in academics and their personal lives as well. 

Tiffany’s grandmother shared that Whitlow is a nice man and a family man, and that she was thrilled that he was marrying her granddaughter.

Joy Reed, one of Tiffany’s closest friends, shared that Tiffany “loves hard. She loves so big, and she’s just so excited to be the first one to pull this off at the stadium.”

Most guests shared that they weren’t at all surprised by Tiffany’s ability to pull off a surprise like this. 

We wish Louis and Tiffany Whitlow and their sons David and Lamir a lifetime of love and happiness ahead. 

the Trash Pandas minor league baseball stadium held its first wedding ceremony and reception, but here's the kicker: the groom didn't know he was getting married. What he initially thought was his surprise 40th birthday party turned into the wedding of his dreams all thanks to one very creative bride.

via the bride

via the bride

Wedding Vendors

Video: AVO Communications (Keith Matthews)

Photography: Jeff White Photography

Drone photography: Marty Sellers of SellersPhoto

Venue: Toyota Field

Photobooth: Sean Sigh with Sigh Photo Booth

Additional photography: Josh Barry with Everlong Photography

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