Local Couple Dedicated to Wildlife Marries at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

From a ceremony overlooking giraffes to a cocktail hour in the zoo’s manatee building, this wedding reflected the grooms’ love of animals.

Photograph by Sherri Barber Photography

For a couple dedicated to wildlife and conservation, it was apropos that Jeremy and Sam say their “I dos” at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Following a stint for both at the Kansas City Zoo, Jeremy got a job as a primates keeper in the Jungle Trails exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. 

The couple, who met while attending Ohio University in Athens, started the day off taking photos at Eden Park. Having seen each other’s wedding suits—fittingly from Bonobos—ahead of time, they each wore a bowtie that the other had never seen to add a special surprise. Their pets, a pot-bellied pig, a Shih Tzu, and a Great Dane, didn’t get left out of the photos, either.

Photograph by Sherri Barber Photography

Sam and Jeremy exchanged vows and rings, which were brought in on beds of moss, on a deck overlooking the giraffes. From there, they hosted a cocktail hour, serving drinks and Mediterranean appetizers in the zoo’s manatee building.

“Our guests were greeted by a dapper-looking penguin, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, and surrounded by rescued manatees and other marvelous creatures,” says Jeremy. 

The couple continued their wildlife theme at the reception, held on the back deck of the Base Camp Café, overlooking the zoo’s African animals. Happy Chicks Bakery made the vegan cupcakes and wedding cake, which displayed the couple and their furry family as a topper. 

Sam and Jeremy got the party started with a grand entrance into their reception. “We entered last—of course, to Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way,’” Jeremy recalls. “We danced until we couldn’t dance any more.”

Photograph by Sherri Barber Photography

Each guest was gifted a drinking glass with the couple’s save-the-date image and a small, magnetic painting, created by none other than Henry the Orangutan. Sam and Jeremy also gave their wedding party personalized caricature mugs and, for the men, commemorative bowties and suspenders. 

The couple couldn’t have picked a better-suited venue to start their life together. They have since moved to Asia, where Jeremy runs the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife in Laos, and Sam teaches English in Udon Thani, Thailand. 

“I’m lucky to have found someone crazy and supportive enough to move across the world with me,” Jeremy says. 

Click through our gallery to see more images from Jeremy and Sam’s wedding:

Venue & Catering: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical GardenDesserts: Happy Chicks BakeryRings: Larson Jewelers, StagheadSuits: BonobosBoutonnieres: Handmade by Sam | Invitations: CanvaOfficiant: Erin West | Drinking Glass Favors: Gretchen Meinzen | Caricature Mugs: ToonedUpGifts, Etsy | Bowties: Luwrine, HemmiDesign, Etsy | Suspenders: Pohvalin, Etsy

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