You might not immediately associate zoos with weddings, but you should. You might even find the idea a little odd, but it's not. Trust me and keep reading.
The Brevard Zoo is one of my favorite places to officiate wedding ceremonies. It has a lot of advantages for couples who love the great outdoors, but are not terribly thrilled with the idea of leaving the weather to chance on their big day.
Finding a beautiful venue in a natural setting that does not require a Plan B for inclement weather can seem a daunting task. Does such a place even exist? When a bride recently asked for suggestions for a simultaneously indoor and outdoor wedding venue, I immediately thought of the zoo.
I am a huge fan of venues that contribute to wedding day flexibility rather than hamper it. The Nyami Nyami River Lodge at the Brevard Zoo combines the best of both worlds. Glorious natural vistas and amazing wildlife with air conditioned comfort.
The covered deck overlooks the Africa exhibit. If you time it right, curious giraffes will wander over to see what all the fuss is about. Don't be surprised if you have some long necked wedding crashers at your ceremony, provided it begins before their bed time.
After the ceremony, move from the shaded deck to the air conditioned lodge for a reception that can seat up to 200 guests. Less if you want space to dance the night away of course, but I would still consider it among the larger function halls in the area. The lodge has a huge caterer's kitchen and its own spacious restrooms.
We're in Florida folks, did I mentioned it is air conditioned?
The lodge decor is suitably neutral to accommodate a wide range of colors and themes. I have seen weddings that captured a charming rustic feel and weddings that blew me away with their elegance. It really is a very adaptable venue. While you can reserve the facilities for just the reception if your ceremony will be held elsewhere, you will miss out on the bird calls punctuating your vows.
I will admit to a little selfishness on my part. This is a venue that is virtually effortless for an officiant to navigate. It is easy to prevent the groom from seeing the bride in the dress before the ceremony, a cinch to line up the attendants for the processional, provides a great line of sight to coordinate cues with DJs and musicians, and has a private entrance to the zoo that enables the wedding party to escape for incredible portraits while the guests are ushered into the lodge. Yes, crowd control is often part of my job too.
I have always been pleased with the professionalism of the coordinators on staff at the event. The Zoo obviously wants to make the wedding day as close to perfect for their clients as is humanly possible.
Perhaps the best part of the experience is the ability to add neat little special touches to your wedding package. You can arrange for admission to the zoo, tickets for the train or kayaks, special animal encounters, and more.
For more information, you can email their Event and Wedding Planner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (321) 254-9453 x 235. If you email, don't forget to include details such as your wedding date/time, and your contact information!
* Please note, I have no contractual relationship
with the Brevard Zoo. The contents are solely
my opinion as an independent officiant.