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Giraffe in front of Kilimanjaro mountain - Amboseli national park Keny

No wedding is easy to plan, and when it comes to planning a zoo-themed wedding, things can get a little more complicated. If you’re actually hosting your big day at an animal sanctuary, you’ll have even more to consider! Let’s go ahead and take a look at how to plan for this amazing and unique wedding theme, and what resources you have at your disposal. 

How to Plan a Zoo Wedding

When planning a zoo wedding, there are a few very important aspects you need to think about, so let’s see what they are.

FYI, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. 

Location

The very first thing you’ll want to do when planning a zoo wedding is decide where you’ll have it. While you don’t have to host it in an actual zoo, it really does add a fun element to your big day!

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Start by calling local humane zoos (skip the ones that lock animals in tiny cages, as it’ll make your day depressing). I also love animal sanctuaries! We have an amazing wolf sanctuary nearby that hosts weddings.

Look for options that have wedding packages first. These places already know how to throw a zoo wedding, so you won’t have to do quite as much work on your own.

Another fun idea if you’re planning a same-sex wedding- host it near the penguin exhibit in honor of this beautiful gay gentoo couple!

Guests

Guest lists are vital to any wedding, so let’s start with the basics. How many guests are you inviting? And how many of them will be able to make it?

You need to know these numbers before you start ordering food and favors, so make sure to send the invitations with RSPVs.

If you’re hosting your event at an actual zoo or sanctuary, you’ll need to also ask how many people you’re actually allowed to have. What is the parking situation like? How will you get your guests there if it’s limited? Talk to your coordinator at the venue to find out the answers before you send out invites. Which brings us to…

Zoo-themed Wedding Invitations

We shared a few of our favorite zoo-themed wedding invitations, along with tips on when to send them and what to include in them.

However, if you’re in a rush, here is my personal favorite! Basically, choose something that you love that really fits the theme. If you don’t want to go full-on safari style, greenery designs work well, too.

White and Golden Safari Invitations

Budget

The budget can be hard to manage at a wedding. There are always fantastic things you may want to buy, and you’ll need to plan it carefully. Try not to get every single thing you see, and talk with your partner about it.

For your zoo wedding, remember to factor in any costs associated with hosting your event at an actual sanctuary. Look for all-inclusive packages, if possible. If not, remember that you’ll have to pay for entry tickets, as it’s not really fair to expect your guests to shoulder that cost.

Decor

When to décor this type of wedding, it can be hard to find the perfect décor. Most of the stuff is designed for kiddie parties. However, we managed to put together a wonderful list. Check out our favorite zoo-themed wedding décor. I love love love this seating chart!

 Safari Seating Chart Zoo-Themed Wedding Décor Ideas

Music

You can’t have a wedding without music, can you? Generally speaking you need to choose something for the reception, your first dance, and your father-daughter or mother-son dance. For those, choose songs that have deep meaning to you, even if they don’t fit your zoo theme.

For the rest of the reception, though, sprinkle in at least a few of these amazing dance songs to include:

  • Africa by Toto
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
  • Wild Horses by U2
  • A Horse with No Name by America
  • Wild Wild Life by Talking Heads
  • Crocodile Rock by Elton John
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
  • Karma Chameleon by Boy George

You can find more ideas in this Ranker article.

Since I’m not stuck with Africa worming through my ears, here’s a video for you to watch so I don’t have to suffer alone. You’re welcome!

Favors

Favors are the best way for your guests to remember everything about your wedding, so make sure to include them. Here are some of our top picks for the best zoo-themed wedding favors. My favorite are these elephant keychains.

Wooden Elephant Keyring

Flowers

Of course, you will need incredible flower arrangements for your wedding, as well as a matching bouquet. Here are some great zoo wedding flower ideas you can use. Eucalyptus makes a stunning choice!

Also, you may be interested in some bouquet throwing alternatives, so you can hold onto your special wedding bouquet.

Greenery Wedding Eucalyptus DIY Box | FiftyFlowers

Timeline

When you’re done with all these steps, it’s time to think about the timeline. Think about when the reception is going to be, then place the ceremony, and continue with the incredible party.

Planners

This Etsy wedding planner will help you keep everything organized, while also maintaining the zoo-theme.

What Should You Be Extra Careful About with a Zoo-Themed Wedding

There are a few things that can make the special day a little less special, so you may want to think about them.

Weather

Make sure you check the weather on your wedding day, especially if you plan on having it outside. Also, have a backup plan in case it rains. Most venues offer at least a tent, if not an entirely indoor alternative. However, zoos may not have the necessary indoor space to accommodate a large party.

Venue policies

If you want to do something extra special, such as having your rings brought by your dog, make sure the venue allows it. Make a list of questions and preferences, and see what you can do.

Also, for animal sanctuaries, ask about any “don’t bring” or “can’t do” rules regarding flowers, noise, etc. The safety of their animals takes precedence over your wedding, so please obey any rules that they give you.

Sign the papers before the wedding

You don’t wanna crowd your day with signing papers and moving from one place to another. Take the time and sign the papers before the actual wedding, so you can only focus on having a great time.

Do everything your way…but show respect!

Every time, at a wedding, there are a lot of people with opinions, from brothers and sisters to parents. You need to remember that if you don’t like a certain idea, you can just say it. It’s one of the biggest days of your life, and there’s no reason to compromise.

That said, there is one person who trumps your preferences- the zoo director. Again, I can’t stress this enough- that zoo or sanctuary is a home to many creatures. You really can’t go wrong by starting your life together with respect for all creatures great and small.

Planning a zoo-themed wedding? Check out our guide to everything from find the perfect venue to giving guests adorable favors!

Now you have everything you need in order to plan the best zoo wedding party, so it’s time for a party! Enjoy!

Do you have any experience planning a zoo-themed wedding? Share your tips below!

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own blog.

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