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A Zoo Wedding

Updated on July 25, 2015

An Elegant Wedding in a Unique Location, the Local Zoo

Create a memorable wedding experience while supporting your community with your local zoo. This page has wedding tips, decoration ideas and DIY projects for a zoo inspired wedding.

Thousands of dollars are spent on weddings with a large chunk of the wedding budget spent on location, food and drinks. Why not support your local zoo with some of those wedding dollars and pull off an elegant and fun zoo wedding at the same time.

We chose the zoo for the beautiful setting it provided via the colorful natural foliage and landscapes in the animal habitats plus the fun lighthearted atmosphere. As a bonus we felt good knowing our wedding dollars were helping out our community.

This page shows off a few details of our wedding and will hopefully help other couples come up with inspiration and ideas for their own celebrations, whether they are at the zoo or not. Congratulations!

All Photo Rights on this Page are Reserved by Nibbled.

Zoo Wedding Table Decorations - Animal Print Table Runners, a Simple Touch to your Tables

We used the generic white linens that came with the the room rental but spiced them up by buying yards of zebra print fabric and placing a thin table runner down the center of each table. They were 9-10 inches wide. To keep things from looking too wild we stuck with just the zebra print. Our colors were black, white and red so this fit well with the overall themes. Small doses of animal print go a long way.

As shown in the picture above, the tables were also sprinkled with red rose petals and had cootie catchers with an animal theme printed on sparkly paper. The cootie catchers were just another fun craft project that acted as a conversation starter for the mixed side guest seating.

Zoo Centerpieces: All about the Feathers - Feathers, Candles and Animal Labels. Oh My!

This centerpiece idea is simple, elegant and easy on the budget. Use crystal clear labels that are compatible with your home printer (I bought mine here). Search online for free clip-art images of animal silhouettes. You could also print out your wedding logo, your names or anything else you'd like to decorate the candles with on these labels. The labels stick right to the candle and aren't visible unless you look really close.

Save money by buying white candles in bulk, the ones shown are 3"x8" by Yummi. Slip the candles into a vase to protect the flame from any other table decorations and the guests. I used freeze dried rose petals to fill the base of each vase, but you could use sand or vase gems as well. The vase pictured is a rental, but inexpensive glass cylinders would work with this project if you prefer to purchase.

For the feather wreaths take a Styrofoam wreath that will fit around the base of your vase. You may have to cut the wreath in half for it to fit. Mine were split in half due to the wide fluted base these vases had. I used toothpicks to keep them together and arranged the feather boa to hide the split. Take a white feather boa or any colored boa you desire (Note: If you plan to use colored feathers you may want to spray paint the Styrofoam wreath to match.) and simply wrap the boa around the wreath securing the "rope" of the boa with hot glue in several places. I found inexpensive children sized boas for less than a dollar a piece and used 2 per wreath.

These feather wreaths would also look very beautiful hanging on a set of doors. If you can find Styrofoam letters, or get creative and make them, you could even hang your initials up. Best part is you can find boas in almost every color combination imaginable.

Wedding Centerpiece Supplies - The best part of wedding planning for crafty brides!

Shop around and check your local craft store, dollar store or hunt around online supply stores for deals. forums and will often have brides hosting post wedding "garage" sales. Shop early and always Google for coupon codes.

Avery Easy Peel Clear Return Address Labels for Inkjet Printers, 0.5 x 1.75 inches, Pack of 800 (28667)
Avery Easy Peel Clear Return Address Labels for Inkjet Printers, 0.5 x 1.75 inches, Pack of 800 (28667)
I not only used these to decorate the plain white candles, but used them to address our invitations, thank you's and Christmas cards.
FloraCraft CraftFōM Wreath 1.25 Inch x 5.8 Inch White
FloraCraft CraftFōM Wreath 1.25 Inch x 5.8 Inch White
To fit around a flared base, cut the wreath in half and stick it back together once around the vase with toothpicks.
White Feather Boa
White Feather Boa
Find the cheapest ones you can. Child sizes work great for wrapping around the wreath. White feathers help blend into the white wreath letting you be a little more sparse with your coverage.

Another Feather Centerpiece Idea - Eiffel Tower Vase with Ostrich Feathers

This is another simple to construct centerpiece with lots of wow factor. The ostrich feathers make this project a bit more pricey than the boa wreaths. We mixed the combination of low and tall centerpieces in the room.

Rent or buy tall Eiffel tower vases and fill them with colored sand. This adds stability to the tall vases. You can place them on a mirror and surround with votive or tea light candles for an extra touch. The heat rising from the candles will make the feathers float around a bit.

The top of the vase has an upright floral foam belle bouquet holder. Arrange 20-40 Ostrich feathers by sticking the stems into the floral foam to fill out an umbrella of feathers. The fullness you desire determines the number of feathers. The more feathers, the more expensive the centerpiece. The length of the feathers will also determine the look, mine varied from 17"-23". I also had a pack of much cheaper 6"-9" feathers I used to fill in the tops or any holes.

For a more in-depth tutorial check out the page: Ostrich Feather Centerpieces.

Tables and Seating Card Ideas - Name your tables with an animal theme

A very simple table map will help guide your guests to their seats for a sit down dinner. To keep with the zoo theme we named the tables after animals and placed a simple black card with white letters framed in metallic silver at each table. The guests picked up their seating assignment card right by the table map. Just be careful the animals you pick are flattering, your aunt may not appreciate being at the hippopotamus table!

Wedding Cake for a Zoo Wedding - Keep it Simple by Adding an Animal Print Ribbon

Again just a touch of animal print goes a long way. We could have gone all out and wild with the animal print theme, but in trying to keep an air of elegance to the reception we kept the cake "tasteful" by just selecting zebra print for the middle tier only.

Animal Print Shoes - Just a touch of animal print accessories adds a little style and fun

Leopard Print Flats
Leopard Print Flats

Leave the full animal print bridesmaid outfits for the wild bachelorette party, but you can still add a kick of fun to your wedding attire with animal print shoes.

I wore these comfy leopard print flats while running around and getting ready for my day. I slipped into my wedding high heels for the ceremony, but come dance time these comfy flats were back on my feet. The animal print is both sexy, unexpected and fun. When used in little doses like on shoes, a ribbon or on a clutch it keeps the look classy and not too Las Vegas-ish.

Animal Print Special Occasion Dresses

Several of my guests asked if they should wear animal print to the wedding, my response was to smile and tell them to wear what they are comfortable with (no one showed up in animal print BTW). But, Animal print certainly adds to the fun and you could very well make the dress code for your event a "Wild Print" affair and let your guests join in the themed wedding fun.

Bouquet Gems - Another simple Zoo detail

Adding gems, wraps and ribbons to your bridal bouquet is a popular trend. Here is an easy way to add a subtle zoo wedding touch to the ceremony, even better if you have a family heirloom animal themed broach or pin. My traditional bouquet gave a nod to the animals with a pretty giraffe broach. Post wedding, it's a treasured trinket in my jewelry box. Check out my other lens all on bridal brooches.

Go Wild with your Garter - Have a little fun

Whether you elect to do the garter toss or not, you can still surprise your groom with a little wild animal print below the skirt.

A quick search on and you can have a garter customized in any way you want.

Pack your Purse - Dab tears with an animal print handkerchief

Boston International Wild Thing 4-ply Pocket Tissues, 15-Count
Boston International Wild Thing 4-ply Pocket Tissues, 15-Count
My mother-in-law found these cute little handkerchiefs. I carried one with me down the aisle and kept the rest of the stash in my clutch for the reception. They also come in Cheetah.

Keep Little Ones Busy - A zoo themed activity coloring book!

A coloring book doesn't take a lot of time or effort to personalize and can keep children at your wedding happily quiet and busy during down time. I Google image searched for some black and white outlined clip art and used MS Word to layout the pages. I had copies made because my desk jet printer ink would smudge when colored on. I tied little bundles of crayons together with ribbon in my wedding colors and left the books and a monkey bowl full of the bundled crayons next to the seating cards.

A Bowl full of Monkeys!

Made from a barrel full of monkeys

It's barely visible in the coloring book picture above, but I used this fun monkey bowl to hold the crayon bundles. I also made some extras and gave them away as prizes at my bridal shower.

This is a stinky craft project, best done with the windows wide open or outside on a grill. However if you like crafts this one is probably right up your alley!

Check out this fantastic tutorial on how to make your own Monkey Bowl at the blog Deep Fried Kudzu.

It's All About the Details - Even if the details mean a pair of wedding doves

I picked out this cute little pair of doves knowing they would be tucked into a tree style floor candelabra we rented, also know as wild wire, that just so happened to have a wire nest. My father-in-law suggested using a scrap from the bridesmaid fabric to weave in and out of the wire nest. It was just one of those cute cheap little details that ended up creating this lovely photo... but what I remember most about this pair of love birds, is while I was standing in the craft aisle at Hobby Lobby trying to decide which set of doves would work best, a very loud woman guffawed into her phone about how tacky wedding doves are while staring right at me. By the looks of what was in her basket, my dove detail probably put her pink ribbon wrapped fish bowl to shame.

Wedding Logos - An easy theme to carry across your Wedding Stationary

Graphic design is a hobby of mine, so I took a lot of pleasure in designing my own wedding stationary from the programs to the thank you notes. But the most useful thing I did was create a wedding logo. Even if you don't know how to use design software there are plenty of tutorials on how to use PowerPoint or Word to create your own unique logo that you can use on all types of items. For a small fee I will create one for you, for more information contact me via my lensmaster page.

Shown here is a layered ceremony program, a labor of love... and paper-cuts. The logo and elements from it, decorated our RSVP, thank you notes and even popped up on our candles in the centerpieces. I've seen other brides go as far as to hand paint it onto their aisle runners or project it onto their dance floor. Try this link for more ideas on using a wedding logo or monogram.

Fun with Photos - The Zoo Animals get in on the Wedding Day Action

We had a blast walking through the zoo with our photographers for our couple session. Plenty of fun textures, scenery and animals to include gave us a mix of traditional and not so traditional photographs. The atmosphere relaxed us and they snapped a lot of natural fun loving pictures we will cherish forever. This giraffe shown here was enthralled with my bouquet. At one point I asked my soon to be husband to hold it and our photographer noticed the giraffe craning it's neck for a better look at the goods. Love it! I wonder if he noticed the shiny giraffe broach?

We Hosted a Cocktail Hour with the Animals - Private use of the zoo was pretty awesome!

Our zoo offered free entrance to the entire facility for our guests. This also included after hours private viewing of the exhibits, prior to and after the ceremony. We invited our guests to come early and take advantage of the free zoo time, as well as holding our cocktail hour outdoors to encourage a stroll around some of the exhibits after the ceremony. I think those with little ones really enjoyed this part. Plus there is something fun about being dressed to the nines in a place like that. The zoo also offered a package that would bring certain small critters to the reception, but we declined the option as it just didn't feel right to serve dinner with an animal side show at a wedding.


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