Katelyn and Rob Blake said their ‘I dos’ at the zoo

The path of true proposals sometimes doesn’t run smoothly, and this was certainly the case for Rob. After deciding to propose to Katelyn during a holiday to Florida, and not really wanting an audience, he headed to the hotel’s private beach which was usually quite empty. “I took her down to walk along the beach when she pointed out that there was a man sunbathing. Panicking slightly, I dragged her back up and around the corner to the next part of the beach which was occupied only by the ducks. I got down on one knee to ask her the question, but just as she was about to answer, a boat taxi full of rowdy Americans went past, all shouting and clapping with the horn being honked… not what I had planned for a private proposal! Cue the foot traffic going past taking photos and chatter back at the hotel about the ‘proposal on the beach’.”

This didn’t stop Katelyn from saying yes, however, and the couple set about planning their Bristol wedding. As Katelyn wanted something different, and Rob wanted something fun where people had lots to do, choosing Bristol Zoo for both the ceremony and reception was the obvious choice, as guests also got access to the zoo. “After viewing it and seeing the leopard print carpet, there was no way Katelyn was changing her mind!” says Rob. This venue also gave Rob something he hadn’t thought he initially wanted. “A picture of me in a morning coat running away from a giant tarantula wasn’t originally on the list, but I still got it!”

The food at the zoo, by Levy Restaurants, was also a highlight. “We were spoilt for choice at the food tasting as it was all so good. The service was fab too. There were some dietary requirements we weren’t aware of that we told them about just before the wedding breakfast and they just sorted it, no fuss, no problems! They made our day run smoothly.”

The couple made a lot of the details for the day themselves, such as the seating plan and invitations. “This did become a bit of a chore as we’d based them on the children’s book ‘Dear Zoo’ with flaps and all! They looked lush though.” Talented Katelyn also taught herself to make icing flowers so she could craft the couple’s cake. “On the morning of the wedding, my hairdresser asked why there was a bag of icing sugar in the hotel room – I explained I’d only just finished putting the iced flowers on the cake and ran it over to the zoo in my pyjamas!”

The wind and the rain the night before the wedding wasn’t the best omen for a a day at the zoo, and the couple had prepared themselves with multicoloured umbrellas, but while it poured on the morning of the wedding, luckily the rain held off for the actual event. “I had a very muddy dress at the bottom but I was getting married in a zoo – I didn’t expect it to stay clean,” explains Katelyn.

Martin Dabek Photography was on hand to record the day. “Martin did an absolutely stunning job and was so relaxed as well. He blended in well, which gave us lovely natural shots, and he got some brilliant posed shots with his eye for an arty picture. He even listened to our silly ideas, such as pretending to run away from the giant tarantula!”
The party carried on into the early morning, which did take its toll on some guests. “There was one case of sickness, one case of sleeping head down on the table and many cases of drunken photo booth pictures and dancing,” says Katelyn. “Two people also ended up in hospital over the next couple of days due to dance-related injuries!”

The day was even better than the couple had imagined. “There are so many highlights, but having our wedding photos taken feeding the lorikeets and when the sea lion came to say hello was definitely one,” states Katelyn. “I bet Rob says his highlight was getting a signed congratulations photo from Michael Bolton as a wedding present.” Katelyn clearly knows her new husband well, as Rob says: “I think one of the best parts of the day was when the zoo closed to the public, and we went out for more photos. I also loved getting a signed congratulations photo from Michael Bolton, obviously!”

The laughter was the thing the couple remembers most of all, which is a great memento for any wedding. “It was such a happy day for us. We’d do it again tomorrow… without the invitation making!”