A Nature-Inspired Wedding at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska

When trying to find a venue to host their wedding, Elizabeth Placek (33 and a cardiac nurse) and David Blumin (35 and an accountant) knew that they wanted something a little outside-the-box. “We like vineyards, hotels, beaches and country clubs,” says Elizabeth, “but felt that they didn’t represent us well.” Playing off their love of nature and animals, the couple decided to host the event at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. Not only was the venue totally unexpected and unique, the couple liked knowing that their money would be going towards conservation work. With the venue decided, all of the details fell effortlessly into place. Knowing that they would be exchanging vows outdoors in the zoo’s lush gardens, Elizabeth and David decided to keep the decor fairly simple to avoid detracting attention away from the setting’s natural beauty. To symbolize their union, the couple performed a tree-planting ceremony instead of lighting a unity candle, reflecting both their affinity towards the outdoors and the locale. Cocktail hour and reception were held inside the zoo’s aquarium, which provided endless entertainment for guests. Tables were set up throughout the facility to encourage everyone to explore the many exhibits and Elizabeth and David arranged for a number of animal encounters, having the zoo keepers bring out animals for guests to visit with and learn about, including a large tortoise, a hedgehog and a penguin. Bright colors inspired by the zoo’s gardens lit up the aquarium, while terrarium centerpieces introduced an organic feel to the space. “David and I wanted to create a wedding that truly represented us. It was less about making a ‘dream’ wedding and more about being true to ourselves,” says Elizabeth. “When we did this a great thing happened, our wedding became a dream come true.”