Amy and Rick Lewis were wed at the Stillwater Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 12
Think about all the possible places to get married.
A majestic cathedral, a country church, a Vegas wedding chapel, on the beach, or at the justice of the peace might have immediately come to mind.
What about the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma?
It's a potential wedding location that even the most diehard wrestling fans might not have considered. Yet the Hall which honors amateur wrestling's finest was the site of a wedding ceremony and reception for the son of 1936 Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Frank Lewis, and his bride.
Amy and Rick Lewis were wed at the Stillwater Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 12. And it can be the site for the wedding of any wrestling fanatic. (And, no, you don't have to be related to someone who has been honored by the Hall.)
First, a word on Frank Lewis ...
Frank LewisRick Lewis' father Frank was one of the great wrestlers of the 1930s. A state wrestling champ for Cushing High School in Oklahoma, Frank Lewis enrolled at Oklahoma State with the idea of stepping away from wrestling to concentrate on his studies. However, realizing he needed one physical education credit, he enrolled in a wrestling class. That rekindled Lewis' passion for the sport, so he went out for the Oklahoma State wrestling team headed up by legendary coach Ed Gallagher.
As a Cowboy, Lewis compiled an overall record of 45-5. He was a two-time NCAA championship finalist, placing second in 1934, and winning the 155-pound title at the 1935 NCAAs, defeating defending champ Ben Bishop of Lehigh in the finals in his home gym.
Lewis earned a place on the 1936 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, went undefeated in the 158.5-pound bracket to win a gold medal in freestyle competition.
Frank and Virginia Lewis had five children ... with Richard being the youngest, arriving in 1963, when his father was 51 years old. Richard and his father became business partners in the oil and gas business. Frank Lewis passed away in August 1998 at age 85.
Meet Amy and Rick ... and how they picked a wedding site
Amy and Rick Lewis cutting the cakeThe wedding story of Amy and Rick is one that spans decades.
Amy Elaine King and Rick Lewis first knew each other as students at Oklahoma State in the late 1980s. Both maintained connections with their alma mater and that part of Oklahoma: Amy, as a construction manager for long-range facilities planning at Oklahoma State ... while Rick continued in oil and gas. They reconnected 25 years later ... deciding to get married this summer.
"We looked at a number of places in Stillwater," Amy told InterMat. "However, the chapel at Oklahoma State was being renovated. We considered the Student Union, which is beautiful, but we thought it might be a bit too formal for what we were looking for, and we would be limited to using them as caterer. We even considered other options -- a destination wedding, or getting married in a judge's chambers."
"We then thought of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame," Amy continued. "We thought it looked perfect."
Wrestling Hall of Fame scores points with the wedding couple
Amy and Rick Lewis mentioned a number of features of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame that won them over as a site for their wedding ceremony and reception.
Right away, the couple was drawn to the availability of on-site parking at the Hall of Fame.
"We immediately thought, 'This will be so convenient for our guests,' said Amy. "No worries about guests trying to find parking on campus."
Another positive aspect of the Hall of Fame: it offered plenty of room for the number of guests Amy and Rick would be welcoming to their wedding. "We anticipated we would have about 40 guests," according to Amy. "I think the place would hold about twice as many." (Jack Carnefix, the Hall of Fame's Operations Manager, confirmed that impression, telling InterMat the facility has space to accommodate up to 125 guests, with chairs set up theater-style, for receptions and presentations.)
The Lewises also liked that the Hall offered greater flexibility for food and beverage options than some other facilities. "We could have our own caterers, and offer guests alcohol," said Amy. (According to Carnefix, the facility will work with any caterer, confirming that any caterer planning to serve alcohol must be licensed to do so.)
The upgraded facility, with its modern, engaging displays, proved to be a winner with wedding guests. "Guests could look at the displays, learn more about Frank (Lewis), and see his medals," said Amy. "It proved to be a light and fun place for the wedding ceremony and the reception."
Frank Lewis was definitely a presence at the wedding, beyond the display of his wrestling medals. Rick wore his father's wedding ring which had symbolized his parent's life together for nearly 60 years.
Lounge area where vows were exchanged
How the museum is right for weddings ...
Even if you've been to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame since it received its makeover in June 2016, you may be wondering how it was set up to welcome a wedding and reception.
The wedding ceremony was held in the lounge area which has a window that features a giant photograph of the 1960 Olympics with Doug Blubaugh wrestling outdoors in the Roman ruins of the Basilica of Maxentius. Normally the space is set up as a lounge, with comfortable furniture, according to Jack Carnefix. For the Lewis wedding, the lounge furniture was removed and replaced with chairs for guests.
"The room where Amy and Rick Lewis held their reception is the room where visitors can watch NCAA Championship videos," said Carnefix. "The wooden doors on the left open into our conference room, and it is front of those doors where a big screen can come down. The blue screen(s) above are where NCAA Championships videos are viewed. It also has the Collegiate display on the right, the Evolution of Sport with equipment would be behind you and to the left, the Sport For All -- Any BODY Can Wrestle wall is directly across with the military exhibit next to it and then the medal platform from the 1984 Olympics."
As Carnefix explained to InterMat, "We utilize the area for food and beverages during our Presentation of Plaques on Friday at Honors Weekend."
Not just for weddings ...
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is a welcoming site for weddings ... or just about any group function. In fact, since renovations were completed in June 2016, the Hall has welcomed a number of functions beyond the annual Honors Weekend in June, the ceremonies that welcome new inductees into the Hall.
"Groups that have utilized our facility include the Stillwater Young Professionals, who will actually be returning in October; Stillwater Newcomers, a group that welcomes new residents; Rotary and Lions; OSU Sports Management and Regional Red Cross," according to Carnefix.
Best of all, you don't need to have a member of the family as a Distinguished Member, like the Lewises, to have your wedding, party or conference at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The newly updated facility is now more than a showcase for sharing the rich history of the oldest and greatest sport. It's now an unbeatable place to host an event that will be a winner.
To learn more about the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, visit their official website.