I'll admit it: when I saw that Karl and Nanette of Luminaire Foto had sent us "a zookeeper wedding", I squealed a bit. How fun is that!? What I didn't expect was that the day would be this beautiful, the story this touching, and for it to so perfectly capture this (self-described) zoo couple. It's perfection!
Elizabeth and Scott met at (you guessed it) a zoo in Texas, where they both worked - Elizabeth with large mammals, primarily giraffe, and Scott with reptiles.
Elizabeth told us the story of one of their first dates, and of finally finding someone who shared her quirks and passions: I went over to his apartment and as he was showing me around I noticed that he had a DVD collection of old Wild America TV episodes with Marty Stouffer. I kind of knew in that moment that we would get along because as a kid I had watched that TV series religiously (it was on PBS) and had never met anyone else who also loved that show as much as I did... so much so that they had the DVD collection!
Scott and I both love biology, zoology, anything related to science and animals and we both feel so lucky that we have that in each other. I can't imagine being with someone with didn't share that passion. The fact that we are both zookeepers and in the same field only makes that bond stronger. Zookeepers are a weird breed of people and to find someone like me that can share in my oddities, passions, and interests makes me feel lucky.
As the two met at a zoo, were engaged at a zoo, and worked together at a zoo, it was only fitting that they would marry at a zoo... Naples Zoo in fact, where they both currently work. Elizabeth told us the story of how they wound up in Naples working together, which apparently isn't the easiest thing for zookeepers to do: After leaving Ellen Trout Zoo in Texas, I got a job at the Naples Zoo working with the new herd of giraffe. I moved down to Florida first and honestly, for about a month we weren't sure what was going to happen. Zoo jobs are super hard to come by so sometimes you just have to take what you can get to stay in the field.
By some stroke of luck, a position opened up at the Naples Zoo in the Show Department. Scott applied and got the job!! We couldn't believe it! And in another stroke of craziness, I was renting an efficiency in a four-plex and right after Scott accepted the job the efficiency right next door to me became available! Scott moved in to it and we lived right next door to each other until we got married and moved in to our first house together.
Elizabeth and Scott wanted to "own their history as a zoo couple", so the Naples Zoo was the perfect choice, allowing them to be surrounded by the animals they worked with and their new zoo family. The bride didn't want to go overboard with the zoo theme, choosing instead to let the gorgeous foliage and botanical gardens shine through the day. They settled on a vintage-inspired design with a citron and champagne color palette that blended perfectly with the natural surroundings; the zoo theme made a subtle appearance in their invitations (made by friends and featuring a fun zoo trail map of their relationship!), vintage animal postcard decorations, and their end-of-night exit on zookeeper bikes.
I asked the bride to share a few of her favorite moments and reflections on the day: The whole day went off without a hitch. One memorable moment was when the lions roared during the ceremony! It made everyone laugh and was super special to us. Our officiant also did an amazing job incorporating animals into her closing prayer. It was very appropriate and was a nice touch that she surprised us with. I'm sure most couples will say that the wedding always goes by too fast and that definitely was the truth. I would do the day all over again in a heartbeat. It was so much fun!
Congratulations, you two... here's to many more years of shared passions and quirks!
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens | Photography: Luminaire Foto | Catering: Artichoke & Company | Linens: Connie Duglin | Floral Design: Lyfe of the Party, LLC | Cake: Mikkelsen's Pastry Shop | DJ: Tech-Tronics Productions, Inc | Submission: Two Bright Lights