Fall Wedding at the Zoo near Chicago
A few weeks before Raquel and Mike were to get married their photographer could no longer photograph their day. This is when an amazing group of photographers came together to find replacements for her weddings.
Justin and I volunteered to photographed Raquel and Mikes’s wedding near Chicago at the Brookfield Zoo. We had a quick phone chat with the wedding planner and the couple to ensure we got to know each other.
We all finally met in person at the Zoo Headquarters and we were welcomed with open arms. The wedding party and the couple were amazing to work with! Super laid back, hilarious, and dinosaur lovers like us!
After the couple’s first look we traveled to meet some Giraffes! Here is where the couple got to feed three very hungry Giraffes! This was an amazing experience to witness! I fed one just before I left! All while feeling like the girl in Jurassic Park trying to feed the brachiosaurus!
The wedding party met us and we ventured around the zoo to different animal exhibits! It was awesome to see how excited everyone was when we arrived at each spot! So many HUGE smiles!
The ceremony was set near the Bears! Which dinner was sandwiched between a Brown Bear and a Polar Bear! One Brown Bear stayed in the water the whole time and swam up to the glass often! It was so awesome! Everyone big and small just loved it so much!
Raquel, what do you love more about Mike?
His calm and steady nature- I know we can get through anything together.
Mike, what do you love most about Raquel?
I love her ability to find the best in every situation.
The day described by Mike & Raquel!
Mike: My day was pretty relaxed. We had our rehearsal dinner with about 20 people, and I stayed at my parent’s place the night before. The next day I got together with my brother-in-law and best man for brunch, then get ready at my brother-in-law’s place before heading over to the zoo. After that, it was pretty much a whirlwind of pictures, seeing Raquel, meeting up our wedding party, the ceremony, the reception, the after-party, and sleep!
Raquel: My day was more involved but it was so great to get ready at our house and have a relaxing morning. My best friend/MOH made avocado toast, another brought my favorite donuts… it was a great morning. My MOH surprised me during our time getting ready with the fact that she had gifted us with the giraffe experience. I LOVE animals and was so excited. Another bridesmaid Steph surprised me with a zoom call with our girlfriends who couldn’t make the wedding and they got to see me in my dress and hair/makeup before we left the house. I was so calm all day and seeing mike during our first look was one of my favorite parts of the day- time really slowed down.
From there, everything went so fast!
Taking pictures around the zoo was so fun. I will never forget feeding the giraffes with their crazy long tongues. I felt like a celebrity driving around on the golf cart with zoo patrons yelling CONGRATS to us all day. It was really nice to take a few moments to relax before the ceremony. The bears were so fun and active!
The ceremony made me more emotional than even I expected and I tried to take it all in. The rest of the night was a blur of talking to everyone! Some of the moments I will always remember. Getting to go into the carousel that had been locked since March, taking super fun pictures, and then everyone gasping when I got grease on my dress. I was so happy that day I truly did not care but it was something I will always remember. Also, cutting our cake was harder than we thought with the tiers!
Advice for future couples planning their wedding day?
Be flexible. It makes the planning process so much easier if you listen to your venue on what they do best, and your vendors on what they can bring to the table. What we initially envisioned was not what we ended up with, but I think what we got, in the end, was much better. Having a wedding planner seemed like a nice to have before we really got into planning but she was invaluable throughout the process, especially in a pandemic!
Wedding Gown: BHLDN & Jenny Yoo as the designer
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azasie
Groom Suit: Bonobos
Florist: Zuzu Petals
Linens: BBJ Linen
Musicians: Style Matters
Wedding Planner: Rachael Steacy Events