The classroom at Franklin Park Zoo was transformed into a whimsical jungle on the evening of Danya & Chris’s wedding—mostly by the bride herself!
Danya & Chris had an intimate DIY wedding that suited their personalities perfectly. They are both huge animal lovers, so getting married at the zoo just made sense. So did featuring their adorable cat in many aspects of their wedding decor. They even got to do a few animal encounters during their reception—both the couple and their guests got up close and personal with an iguana and a boa constrictor!
Danya wore a bright pink dress with embroidered flowers, and Chris wore an emerald green suit. Their entire day was filled with bold, vivid colors, from the bouquets and floral arrangements that Danya designed herself, to the smoke bombs we used during formal photos at a frozen lake nearby. The table centerpieces at the reception were also animal/nature-themed, colorful, and absolutely adorable.
All day, I could feel just how much love and care these two people had for each other. And I could feel how loved they were by all of their friends and family in attendance. One of my favorite things about intimate weddings is that typically, in this type of setting, couples feel more comfortable reading their personalized vows aloud. Of course, true to who they are, Danya & Chris’s vows to each other were super sweet and heartfelt. One of my favorite moments of the day actually came during their vow reading: Chris said, “I vow to use my privilege to help fight the patriarchy,” and everyone (including me) cheered. Clearly, he’s a keeper!
Because Franklin Park Zoo has lots of beautiful greenery and bamboo accents surrounding the animal habitats, we also got to take some stunning couples portraits on the grounds. I even caught a hippo in the background of one of my shots!
Later on, when Danya & Chris’s family members gave toasts, it was hard not to get teary-eyed. They expressed so much support and happiness for the newly married couple, and it was clear just how much hearing those words meant to them. As a big sappy romantic, I never get tired of hearing toasts and speeches at weddings, but these toasts just happened to be extra special.
The night ended with everyone dancing and singing along loudly and proudly to some 90’s throwback jams. This wedding was a total blast from start to finish—my very favorite kind to be a part of!
If you’re reading this, you might already be thinking about how cool it would be to get married at the zoo yourself. There are actually lots of beautiful spots (both indoor and outdoor) on the Franklin Park Zoo grounds to hold your ceremony and reception! With their wedding being a smaller-scale event, Danya & Chris were able to easily fit all of their guests in the classroom in the Tropical Forest. This particular venue within the zoo also happened to have the exact vibe they wanted—lush, green, wild & exotic. Other options include Pine Knoll, a tented area near the giraffe exhibit, and Nature’s Neighborhood, a farm area complete with a barn and adorable animals. You can reach out to the zoo’s private functions department directly if you’d like to learn more about hosting your wedding there!
And if you’re looking for the perfect photographer for your unique, non-traditional or DIY wedding, I’d love to chat! Just drop me a line here! ❤️
Planner/Day-Of Coordinator: Graceful Events and Designs
Catering: Saloniki Greek