Wedding 101. Getting married at the zoo - wedmate
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Wedding 101. Getting married at the zoo

This is the first article in wedmate’s Wedding 101 series where we get the lowdown from brides about planning their special days. First up is Rachel, newly-wed to Michael Slack on the 10th October 2015 after dating for ten years. Location of the wedding: The London Zoo.

How did you meet your husband?

We started talking over MSN Messenger (way back in 2004) after being introduced by my boyfriend at the time. After that fizzled out, we started talking on the phone and after a couple of months arranged to meet under the initial close supervision of my Mum.

Tell us about the proposal

Mike proposed on the last night of our holiday in Iceland after an amazing seven-course tasting meal at a beautiful restaurant. He was hoping to ask me under the Northern Lights, but unfortunately they never made an appearance.

Did you know exactly how you wanted your wedding to be?

No, at the beginning, we had no clue. We just tried to focus on the things that would really make the day special; family and close friends, something we wouldn’t normally get to do, beautiful scenery and delicious food. There were a few things that I knew I really wanted as we went through the planning process, including a vintage Routemaster bus to take the guests to the venue and then come to collect myself and my bridal party, and a naked wedding cake.

Who helped you most when planning your wedding?

My main helpers were definitely; my husband, for listening to every idea and helping me make all the decisions and decorations (at 1am two nights before – I’m sorry!), and for suggesting the table themes; my mum, for all her advice; and Gemma and Beth, two of my bridesmaids, for accompanying me to wedding fayres and organising amazing hen dos.

Saying that, everyone helped at some point or another! My other bridesmaid, Lisa, was my cake tester and Mike’s mum helped me find a lady to make my bouquets and sorted out all my bridesmaids’ hair accessories – I couldn’t have done it without them. A special mention should also go to my work colleagues who had to listen to me go on about it, especially when things went wrong.

As for planning it, once we found the venue, everything else slowly slid into place. However, it did help having nearly two years to plan it so I could take it at my own pace. 

What ended up being your favourite parts?

Definitely when I walked through the doors to see all those I love in one room and then I looked at Mike, beaming at me from the end of the aisle, welling up, and I started to get a little teary too. My other favourite moments include feeding the giraffes and watching the kangaroos box while eating the Wedding Breakfast – pretty surreal!

Tell us about what you wore and how you found your perfect dress

I wore a 1950s style dress from Lou Lou Bridal with Rachel Simpson shoes. Although very clichéd, my dress was the first one I saw. My Mum selected the bridal boutique as she wanted to take me somewhere that I could choose any dress I fell in love with, knowing she could afford them all. We were early so we walked past the shop to the café next door for a coffee and I just saw it there in the window.

If you could do it again, what would you change?

Honestly nothing. The day was so beautiful and I got some great advice to make sure to spend time alone, just the two of you, as the day flies by so quickly, which we did and it does!

Actually no, I’ve changed my mind, I would change something! I wouldn’t iron the bridesmaid dresses the day before as the dresses stained the iron plate purple, which then stained Mike’s shirt on the morning of the wedding. If I could do it again, I would definitely wait until I got to the hotel and use their steamer instead!

What have been your most memorable moments since getting married?

Well we’ve only been married a month so far but the honeymoon was fantastic and just generally being together, enjoying life as a married couple and getting mail addressed to Mrs Slack has been an amazing start.

Tell us about a wedding you’ve been to that was very different to yours

To be honest, I’ve only been to one other wedding as an adult and that was a very good friend of mine’s, who had an outdoor wedding with animals in a very cool venue at South Farm in Cambridge.

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