It sounds almost cliché that a professional baseball player would find his spouse at a baseball game, since the job of professional athlete no doubt earns more than a few female fans. That’s exactly what happened for former pro-baseball player Mike, though, who met Falina at a game—but it’s not exactly what you’d think.  “I played Citrus Heights Pony League Baseball with Falina’s brother, and her father was the coach, back when I was 11,” says Mike. “Falina was 10 at that time, running around, riding her bike and fetching foul baseballs for snow cones at our games.” The two were friendly as kids, but nothing came of it.

However, a decade later, during which time Mike played for the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, he reconnected with Falina. They dated for 10 years before Mike pulled off a poolside proposal while spending the weekend in Turks and Caicos.

Though they dated for a decade, they had a very quick engagement, planning everything in only seven months. Falina says there’s a simple reason for that: she couldn’t wait to get married! “I went straight up to the Catta Verdera Clubhouse to ask what dates were available for that year,” she says. “I didn’t want to wait any longer to marry my best friend. When you find your forever, you want it start as soon as possible.”

In a unique twist, the venue had December 29 available; the date Falina’s parents married on 45 years prior. And just as her parents had done, Falina and Mike chose to have a candle-lit wedding. “I love candles,” she says. “It felt really romantic and magical.”

However, that magic didn’t keep Falina from getting a bit teary when the music came on for her wedding party to begin the walk down the aisle. “I was waiting in the back room,  and I almost lost it before walking down the aisle,” she says. Fortunately, she held it together and made it the altar for what she felt was the most memorable moment of the wedding: holding hands and saying her vows in front of their guests. Mike’s favorite moment took place just before that—although he loved hearing his guests cheer as he did his own walk down the aisle, the best moment for him was seeing Falina walk toward him as the music played.

Between the ceremony and the reception, the couple had about half an hour to themselves, which Falina says was a great opportunity to be together and talk about the day (while also enjoying some appetizers, of course). They then went right into the booty-shaking reception, where 160 guests danced the night away. Both Falina and Mike say that while everything was amazing, a highlight was their wedding cake, complete with cascading flowers. “I loved our cake so much,” says Falina. “I remember looking over at the cake and getting so excited!” 

—Suzie Dundas