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Say "I Do" at the Zoo

Bethany & Jeff

Photography by: Lauren Fryer Photography / Wedding Date : June 12
Head-Over-Heels at The Veranda
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wedding vendors

  • Photographer: Lauren Fryer Photography
  • Bar Service: Cowgirls Unlimited
  • Bride's Dress Shop: Classy Concepts Bridal
  • Bride's Hair: Beauty Concepts Salon
  • Caterer: San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium
  • Ceremony & Reception Venue: San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium
  • DJ: Ray Borden
  • Photo Booth:
  • Rehearsal Dinner Venue: San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium

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    Say "I Do" at the Zoo

    How did the two of you meet?
    Jeff and I met through a mutual friend freshman year of college. It turned out we had some of the same science classes and we ended up studying together. Eventually those coffee-filled, late-night failed attempts at studying turned into Jeff asking me on an official date, to the local zoo of all places, and him changing from a biology major to a finance major. I guess I wasn’t much of a study partner because we never had a class together again.

    How did he propose?
    Jeff and I had our first date at Cameron Park Zoo in Waco our freshman year at Baylor. Since then, we've enjoyed visiting various zoos the past few years. One of my favorite zoo memories was when we got caught in a downpour at the San Antonio Zoo. We ended up waiting it out on a small gazebo overlooking the zoo. Fast forward five-and-a-half years, it was a Saturday and I had flown into San Antonio for the weekend. Saturday morning, we woke up to a steady rain and Jeff suggested we head to the zoo—and I figured, why not! I remember walking into the zoo against the flow of traffic and the ticket lady stressed that there would be no weather refunds of any kind. Totally drenched (and Jeff completely soaked due to his refusing to put on his jacket because of the ring box sticking of his pocket), we wound up back at the gazebo to get out of the rain. Sitting on a bench, overlooking a quiet zoo, Jeff got down on one knee and proposed. When we started planning our wedding, we both really loved the idea of tying the knot in a place that meant so much to both of us.

    What three characteristics made you fall for your husband?
    First off, his patience! He’s also loyal and is always challenging me to be a better person.

    What was the inspiration behind the design of your wedding?
    I wanted something that looked elegant but was still simple enough to fit in with the natural beauty of the zoo. The gold and navy worked well together and helped me bridge the two ideas. 

    How did you decide on the vendors you chose?
    Lots of phone calls and emails. I planned the whole wedding while being six hours away, so I went with companies that not only had great reviews but were easy to contact and willing to work with me over phone, Skype, or email. 

    What was it like working with Lauren Fryer Photography?
    Lauren was amazing! She worked magic with her schedule to meet with Jeff and I whenever I flew into town (usually around holidays or busier times). For our engagement pictures, we had an extremely small window where I was in town and Lauren braved 35-degree temperatures and sleet to do an outdoor photo shoot with us downtown by the Pearl Brewery. On our wedding day she was on top of every detail and did a phenomenal job taking beautiful images.

    What was the most trying part of the planning process?
    Trying to coordinate with the venue over every small detail before the wedding. Working through room layouts and trying to describe detailed décor and food ideas via email was tough. Plus, because it was located at a zoo, our wedding was a little out of the norm and posed its own set of challenges. Overall, it was worth it but it was definitely trying to plan a wedding from a distance in a nontraditional location.

    Did either of you have a bride/groomzilla moment?
    Jeff did a really great job of keeping me much calmer than I expected to be the week of the wedding. The only moment I remember coming close was when the flowers I bulk ordered to DIY all my floral arrangements didn’t show up on time. They eventually arrived a day late but were pretty badly damaged. We made some of them work, but it was a stressful experience driving around San Antonio flower shops the day before the wedding trying to collect white roses.

    What element of the wedding exceeded your expectations?
    Walking into the downstairs of Africa Live after dinner and seeing all of the candles and décor just kind of blew me away. It was amazing to see it all come together.

    What was your favorite memory of the day?
    My favorite memory by far was when Jeff and I did a final dance. Our guests went out and started lining up with sparklers and left the two of us a minute to just let the day sink in and slow dance to one of our favorite songs. It was a really nice way to wrap up such an amazing day.

    What was his favorite memory of the day?
    According to Jeff, “The first look. Seeing Bethany for the first time and having a moment to let it all sink in. It made me realize that no matter what happened the rest of the day, it was going to be perfect. It really helped me get over my nerves, relax and enjoy our wedding day.” 

    If you were a guest attending your wedding, how would you describe it?
    My hope is that they enjoyed it and that it was unique. We wanted it to be fun and entertaining. It went by so quickly but between the carousel, the music, the photo booth and the animals I think it was definitely a memorable experience. 

    Besides marrying the love of your life, what was the most important part of the day?
    Finally seeing all of the hard work from the last several months come together. I had so many family members and friends who went way above and beyond the week of to help me pull off the perfect wedding and it was great to just relax and enjoy the final product. 

    What are your plans for the future?
    We relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are currently setting up our first house together. The near future consists of figuring out the future and recovering from wedding exhaustion.

    What advice do you have for brides/grooms planning a San Antonio wedding?
    Take advantage of bridal shows. It was great to talk to companies in person and be able to meet with so many potential vendors in just one day. Just be sure you take notes because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget which vendors you really liked.

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