You know a couple who chooses to tie the knot at the zoo has to be a fun loving pair – what a sweet and playful venue choice! Today’s wedding comes from Snippet & Ink Select vendor, Pam Cooley

Says the bride: “I grew up in the Chicago area and I have good memories of coming to the Zoo when I was younger. Weddings have become so commercialized and we liked the idea of giving our business to a not-for-profit venue that does so much good for the community. The Zoo’s outdoor spaces are beautiful and we had cocktail hour in the Bear Wilderness exhibit, so we knew our guests would have a good time. The Zoo does so many weddings and provides a wedding planner, which freed us from worrying about the details of the day.”

I love this shot of the bride looking at the bear exhibit during the cocktail hour! So fun!

What inspired Jessica and Theo when they were planning? “We tried to think about weddings we have attended over the years and what we liked most about them. What we remembered most are touching moments during ceremonies or slideshows that made us weepy, rather than favors or decorations. Also, we are clearly dancing fools, so we drew inspiration from the best wedding dance parties we have been lucky enough to attend when we chose the space for the dance floor and our playlist.”

SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR ALL THE FUN DETAILS FROM THIS ZOO WEDDING.

 

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Although we initially wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I came down the aisle, we decided to do a first look before the ceremony so that we could relax and enjoy our reception with our guests. The first look was in a secluded part of the Zoo beside a lake and turned out to be the favorite moment of the day for both of us. We both felt calmer and it didn’t take away from the ceremony at all.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We kept our ceremony fairly traditional to balance out our non-traditional venue. Theo’s father officiated.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Hold hands as much as possible – I wish we had done this more! If you hold hands you won’t get separated, since everyone wants to talk to you and take pictures.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Don’t forget what the day is about. Everyone will have an opinion and it will be impossible to make everyone happy. When I ran out of time to do programs and a few other details, I felt strangely liberated! Just because you’ve seen something at every other wedding does not mean that doing it will really make the day more special. Spend time appreciating the help and love you receive from family and friends, rather than focusing on the stress that these same people can sometimes cause.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Decide what is important to you and where you are willing to cut costs early on. Many of the details that you could spend lots on will not be remembered by you or your guests after the day is over. Photography was very important to me, so I was willing to spend more to get the best photographer. Music was really important to Theo, so we hired a string quartet for the ceremony. However, just because a particular vendor is expensive does not mean that they are the best for you. We were still completely happy with many of the vendors we chose that were less expensive than the other options.

 

Pam Cooley is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

Photography: Pam Cooley / Venue, catering: Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois / Dress: Liz Fields / Shoes: David’s Bridal / Jewelry: Lindsay Lein Designs / Suit: Black Tie Formal Wear / Tie: Brooks Brothers / Shoes: Johnston and Murphy / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew, ModCloth, Forever 21, David’s Bridal / Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas / Floral Designer: Blossoms and Branches / Cake: Lezza Spumoni and Desserts / Lighting: MDM Entertainment / String Quartet: Celestial Strings / Hair, Makeup: A Shear Encounter Salon
2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings
  1. Elizabeth van der Bij

    I love the idea of a wedding at the zoo! Also gives the guests a fun way to pass the time while the wedding party does photos.

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  2. Linda, grandma grandpa

    We enjoyed every moment of the wedding. The bride, groom, and the bridal party treated us like royalty. Thank you for every thing

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