Joe & Liz, West Palm Beach Wedding at the Palm Beach Zoo

 

Every once in a while, I meet someone who gives me the “I feel like we should be friends” vibe.  It comes unexpectedly and seems to follow no particular pattern for the person chosen and feels a little bit like Cupid has been busy shooting people (in a non-creepy kind of way).

I was contacted by Liz last year about her wedding and after making all her plans for the wedding she got word that the venue she’d selected for the wedding had been bought by another company who was changing the appearance of the location.  Liz searched for another location only months prior to her wedding and in a wonderful twist of fate, her ceremony and reception was moved to the Palm Beach Zoo.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “A wedding at the zoo?!”  Yes.  A wedding at the zoo, which wound up being a stroke of genius.  Let’s start at the beginning:

The boys got ready at the South Sail Motel in Palm Beach Shores, Florida, which is seriously one of the best hidden gems in our area.  I’ve been driving to the Keys to get the ‘somewhat nearby vacation’ experience when I should have been going to the South Sail!  This place is phenomenal!  It’s a short swim across a body of water from the hotel to Peanut Island, which I am told is a good place to go for fun on the weekends.  But I digress…

The boys were hanging out, drinking, talking, eating and spending some time together prior to the wedding while the girls were getting pretty.

Speaking of pretty- how about these flowers?  I loved them.

And speaking of girls, I loved them too.  See the pretty brunette on the right?  Her name is Noelle too.  First Noelle I’ve met outside of the mirror.

Now, remember when you were confused about the whole wedding in the zoo idea?  This is why it was genius.  The Palm Beach Zoo has an area that is filled with these super cool replicas of Mayan pyramids, complete with statues, obelisks, walls with replicas of Mayan writings and other generally interesting locations.

And Liz is easily the most adventurous person I’ve ever photographed- never even looking at me funny when I’d say “I have this crazy idea” (more on that later).

This tree in the Palm Beach Zoo separates the park into 2 areas.  We traipsed over it at night, in complete darkness in order to take photos there again later (more on that later).

So, during the ceremony, a peacock started squealing because one of the bridesmaids did a little shuffle while walking down the aisle.  This had everyone laughing.  It set the mood well.

Joe’s vows had me in tears.  It was a problem.

It had Liz in tears too… let’s be real- we were all in tears.  I love when boys get emotional!  What happened to Boyz II Men?  Those were some emotional boys!

Now, are you ready for the most emotional hug you’ve ever seen?

You see Liz’s face?  Look up ‘elation’ in the dictionary.  You’ll see her face as the definition.

So, after the ceremony, the cocktail hour was in the gardens and the animal handlers brought out a whole bunch of cool animals! Everyone was so excited coming up close to dingoes and giant lizards, sloths, owls and a funny little monkey whose name I can’t remember.

The owl was my favorite.  It had eyes that peered down into your innards and contemplated whether you’d be tasty.

The party then moved to a covered patio adjacent to the restaurant at the zoo.  Again, Liz and Joe were radiating with their love and happiness and you couldn’t help but smile.

Now, the DJ for this wedding was Len Baker of Custom DJ Services, who just happens to be the best DJ I’ve ever worked with! He did Jack and Lena’s wedding last year and the man can get everyone dancing like no one else! (Shout out! www.customdjservices.com)

And here’s the explanation to what I had previously mentioned:  Joe, Liz and I walked through the zoo in complete darkness to take a photo with this statue.  And let me tell you something- being in complete darkness in a place with alligators in the lakes, with the sound of animals all around you is a little scary.  Which goes to prove that Liz is fantastic for her willingness to traipse through darkness for photos.

Liz and Joe- you guys are fantastic!  Thank you for making me a part of your celebration!

 

 

Happy The Owl Did Not Think I’d Make A Tasty Snack,

Noelle

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