Elmwood Park Zoo Wedding | New Jersey Wedding Photographer | Kinsey and Mike
Okay honestly, I know I say it a lot but it’s so true, I have the BEST COUPLES that make my job SO MUCH FUN. And Kinsey and Mike are one of them that make it a BLAST. Kinsey and Mike celebrated their wedding at the Elmwood Park Zoo on a perfect fall day. It was amazing to welcome the cooler temperatures after a summer of hot, humid wedding days. I literally must have said at least 20 times that day that I couldn’t believe the amazing weather they had! Kinsey and Mike’s day was nothing short of perfection! I had so much fun celebrating with these two and their families and friends at the zoo!
Both Kinsey and Mike started their day getting ready at a hotel near the Zoo. The bridal details for their wedding were SO special. Kinsey wore a veil that has been worn by +/- 20 women in her family! The first time it was worn was on the exact date of their wedding, September 22nd, 1923 – 95 years ago – CUE MY TEARS! I was able to get some amazing shots of the veil with all the other details and I am just blown away by this amazing tradition! Kinsey also had several other special details including a bracelet that was made from the eyeglasses chain of one of her family members. And with all of these amazing bridal details came Kinsey’s dress! Oh my goodness did she look stunning in her dress!! After seeing her in it in person (she had sent me pictures and actually asked my opinion of two dresses when she was at the Bridal Boutique dress shopping!
After everyone finished getting ready, we went to Norristown Farm Town Park for Kinsey and Mike’s first look and some portraits. I asked Kinsey if she thought he was going to cry and she was like OH YES, he’s a crier for sure!! And she was so right! Mike’s reaction during the first look was SO sweet. As he saw Kinsey, he put his hands over his mouth and was totally speechless, then tears ensued for both of them (and me). It was one of the cutest reactions I’ve ever seen.
Following their emotional first look, we did the bride and groom portraits followed by some photos of the wedding party. They had the most amazing wedding party!! Everyone was so sweet and welcoming to me and my second shooter, Rosemary. And did I mention how much I LOVE small wedding parties?! It makes everything so easy!!
Once we were finished at the park, everyone hopped in the limo and went to the zoo. We had about an hour before the ceremony was about to start so we did the family formals and a few more bridal portraits and bride and groom portraits in front of the jaguar exhibit. Then, it was time to get everyone hidden away for the ceremony.
The ceremony took place in front of the bald eagle exhibit. (SO COOL) It was SUCH a beautiful ceremony – Kinsey and Mike exchanged personal vows and had everyone teary eyed. One of my absolute favorite parts of the ceremony was Kinsey’s grandmother who was the beautiful flower girl in a stunning red dress. Did I mention this day was full of incredibly personal details? I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.
After the ceremony, all the guests went straight to cocktail hour. They opened up the zoo for the guests which was really cool!! Everyone was allowed to wander around and see all of the animals (many were sleeping and it was starting to get dark but it was so cool that they let everyone wander!). And then the BEST PART…guests were allowed to feed the giraffes!! Everyone (especially Kinsey and Mike) LOVED this – it made for such a fun extended cocktail hour!! And some amazing and hilarious pictures of Kinsey and Mike feeding the giraffes a whole lotta lettuce.
From the cocktail hour, the guests moved to the pavilion for the reception. The room was absolutely beautiful!! The tables were decorated with green garland and flowers and each of the table card holders was made out of a plastic animal figure painted gold and cut a slit to put all of the place cards. It was such a cute addition to the tables and went SO well with the zoo theme! I even got to take some home (and am especially excited to add the elephant to my collection!)
Once the guests entered, the main events started happening! There were nine total speeches and one performance from Kinsey’s brother Jamie who wrote and sang a song to Kinsey and Mike (and played guitar). Each and every person who stood up to speak about the happy couple said how it was a match made in heaven. They spoke about what incredible people they both were and there were very few dry eyes in the audience (including me!) It was just so amazing to hear how loved and valued Kinsey and Mike were by their loved ones. Everyone wanted to say something about them and their amazing relationship!
All of the speeches were followed by beautiful parent dances and a perfect first dance between Kinsey and Mike. After dinner, the dance floor started rocking and it all started with one of the groomsmen break dancing to get everyone up and moving! I love the shots I got of this and the entire night as a whole! I was even able to sneak Kinsey and Mike off the dance floor for a few night shots in front of the Elmwood Zoo sign! It was such a perfect end to the night!
Kinsey and Mike, thank you so much for letting me join you on your special day! I had so much fun celebrating with you and your families and friends. I am honored to have been your photographer and friend through this process and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn about and share your love story. I know that you two have a lifetime of happiness to look forward to together! I cannot wait to hear about your Honeymoon to South Africa and Mozambique! What an amazing trip!!
Thank you to the incredible vendors who made this day possible!!
Nelly Arnold – Wedding Planner
Whipped Bake Shop – Wedding Cake
The Curvy Bride – Bride’s Dress Boutique
Maggie Sottero – Bridal Dress Designer
Bella Bridesmaids– Bridesmaids Dresses Boutique
Jenny Yoo – Bridesmaids Dresses Designer
Express – Groom Attire
Express – Groomsmens Attire
Berge Koksuz – Band/DJ
Marc Edwards – Ceremony Music
Leah Plenski – Hair Artist
Julia Gerson – Makeup Artist
Michael Tedeschi – Stationery Design
Springline Designs – Calligraphy
Elmwood Park Zoo – Catering, Ceremony Venue, Reception Venue
Keegan Bowman – Officiant
Park Avenue Limousine – Transportation