On a stunning January L.A. afternoon, family and friends gather to celebrate Dodger Stadium history for Erik Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell.
It’s time for a Dodger wedding!
Throughout the years, Dodger Stadium has played host to historic baseball feats from Sandy Koufax’s perfect game to Kirk Gibson’s World Series walk-off home run.
On Friday, the ballpark saw a different kind of iconic moment as the site for the wedding of Dodgers Senior Vice President Erik Braverman and software engineer/model Jonathan Cottrell. The two had been dating since meeting in Puerto Vallarta in 2019 and announced their engagement last August.
Befitting the sublime nature of the occasion, the wedding took place on a picture perfect Southern California day — the kind that made the colors of the emerald green playing field and the ballpark seats pop. In a nod to baseball’s best uniform design, the grooms both wore Dodger blue tuxes and strode in from center field walking under a sign reading “Blue Heaven on Earth.”
Cottrell and Braverman recited their vows in a ceremony on the pitcher’s mound, surrounded by family and friends sitting in a diamond shaped arrangement around the infield. Among those in attendance were Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten, Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen and every senior executive from the team’s front office.
Following the ceremony, Braverman took Cottrell to a place he’s never been before: the top of the ballpark on the ninth level of the grandstand. With the L.A. skyline on one side and a stunning vista overlooking the playing field and San Gabriel mountains on the other, it was the perfect spot to reflect on such a special moment in their lives.
“That particular moment was right after we said ‘I do,’” Cottrell said. “The first thing we did after that moment was head up there for the sunset. And so it was the combination of the ecstasy of that moment plus the sun setting and the weather was just perfect … all our friends and loved ones down there, it was a very cool moment.”
For Braverman, a baseball fan since childhood, the meaning of reciting their vows on the Dodger Stadium pitcher’s mound and celebrating their reception after-party on the infield hit home.
“It was not lost on those who were baseball fans that we were dancing and having a celebration on the same infield that Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey were in,” he reflected. “I think for those who weren’t baseball fans, they just thought ‘This is a really, really cool experience.’ But for those of us who are baseball nerds, it was extra special.”
Cottrell was born in France and grew up as the child of missionaries in locations as varied as Cambodia, Haiti and Thailand. He was only vaguely familiar with baseball until Braverman introduced him to the game and he fell for the Dodgers during their run to the world championship in 2020. So having the World Series trophy on hand for their wedding was extra personal for him.
“It was a great nod to that journey of us winning in our own life but also the Dodgers winning at the same time as we were going through our love story,” Cottrell said.
In addition to winning on the field, the Dodgers have made it part of their mission statement to make LGBTQ inclusion a priority and Braverman and Cottrell’s wedding is now a major symbol of that commitment. Reflecting on what that meant left Braverman a little awestruck.
“From my perspective, it’s a little overwhelming,” he said. “But we couldn’t be more proud of the moment. And as a longtime Dodger employee, the Dodgers have always prided themselves on being inclusive dating back to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier 75 years ago this year. And to be a part of it makes it that much more special for me.”
In this example, Braverman and Cottrell’s wedding was like a player’s scouting report. If you’re using Jackie Robinson as a point of comparison, that means it was something really special.