The offbeat bride: Natalie, project support officer
Her offbeat partner: James, broadcaster
Location & date of wedding: Whipsnade Zoo, UK — October 2, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We both love zoos and when I discovered that a zoo not far from where we live was able to host weddings, I kept it in the back of my mind. This was before James had even proposed! Fortunately, he was more than happy to have the wedding there, too.
Our cake was different to most, too. Instead of tiers, we had steps, which matched the type of cake my parents had back in the 1970s when they got married. We used customised Kidrobot Munny figures for cake toppers too. Our table runners were pashminas I picked up at a market, and negotiated a really good deal with the stallholder.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was swift and simple, which gave us more time for the photographs and for our guests to go and enjoy the zoo later in the day.
Our biggest challenge: We spent nine months planning, doing a bit each weekend. There were times, even as close as a couple of months before the day, when we were wondering how all of our ideas would work together. What may appeal to one guest might not necessarily appeal to another, but you have to trust that every one there is there for you and will accept whatever you’ve done and the choices you’ve made.
Our colour scheme made it a little tricky at times. We chose autumnal greens, golds, and browns and it was limiting when trying to get that matches that. For example, I didn’t find bridesmaid dresses until four or five weeks before, and even then the dresses needed to be lengthened. I managed to find a good dressmaker though. Lucky for us, we were married off-season when they weren’t very busy.
My favorite moment: It was great to see everyone’s reaction to being at the zoo. We wanted our day to not just be a celebration of our commitment to one another, but also give people an opportunity to have a day that would be as fun, as interesting, and as enjoyable as it would be for us.
My funniest moment: Feeding the giraffes at the zoo in full wedding gown and suit!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Our tables! We’d seen these amazing crystal trees at a wedding fair back in February, which I really wanted. Our place holders were made by cutting up tree branches. I was petrified that the whole thing would just look like a mish-mash of different ideas but on the day, it all fit together well.
My advice for offbeat brides: Call in all the favours you can. For example, we asked James’ mum to make our wedding cake and his best man designed our invitations, table plan, and order-of-services. James even asked a very high-ranking person at a major record label if they could supply us a band for the reception. They couldn’t, but did send back a really sweet email saying that if they could have, they would have.
And smile sweetly when other people give you advice. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take it. Some had valid points, but in the end, James and I made the decisions that we thought worked best for us.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Rings: Smooch
- Favour chocolates: Chocomoo
- Wedding ring box: Etsy seller 19 Moons
- Photographer: James Keates
- Crystal trees: Bespoke My Day
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!