Alyssa & Kyle’s Seattle Zoo Wedding

* Alyssa, Program Coordinator in a Medical Clinic & Kyle, IT Engineer * Photographer: JayLee Photography * Soundtrack for reading: “The Best is Yet to Come” by Michael Bublé *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: One part traditional wedding, one part homemade craftiness, two parts: LET’S GO TO THE ZOO!—served over candlelight.

The Info—Photographer: JayLee Photography / Venue: Woodland Park Zoo / Cupcake Tower: Trophy Cupcakes (“Seriously the best cupcakes in Seattle.”) / Decorations: Handmade by the couple with glassware from Ikea, origami paper from Daiso, hanging lanterns and manzanita branches from Save on Crafts and odds and ends from Target / Alyssa’s Gown: David’s Bridal with some miraculous alterations done on-site (“The only dress they had with that design in the entire country was four sizes too large, we still aren’t sure how they brought it down that much, but it was amazing.”) / Alyssa’s Shawl: Knitted herself with yarn from The Weaving Works / Alyssa’s Shoes: $12 sandals from Amazon (“Seriously.”) / Kyle’s Suit: Suit Supply / Kyle’s Pocket Square: Brooks Brothers / Kyle’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds, thrifted / Kyle’s Tie: Traditional wedding tie from Kent Wang, an engagement gift from his father / Flowers: An engagement gift from Alyssa’s mother: a beautiful set of hair clips, boutonniere, and bouquet from Blue Petyl made of buttons and fabric flowers, including some from Alyssa’s mother’s own wedding dress

Other cool stuff we should know about: As you can tell from the photos we had our wedding at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Alyssa lived not far from the zoo when we first started dating so it became an important touchstone in our early relationship, and we were very glad to use it as the backdrop of our wedding. We chose not to have any attendants and walked in together instead of the bride being “given away.”

Paper cranes folded by Alyssa were the main decoration; some were gathered into bowls with candles as centerpieces while others were strung onto ribbon as garlands to decorate pathways. We still keep some of the garland hanging in our house as a keepsake, and several friends and family members took strands home as well. In lieu of a traditional wedding cake and guest book we had a cupcake tower and a wishing tree, also made by us! Guests wrote greetings and wishes and hung them on the branches of the tree making for a unique keepsake.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Alyssa: My favorite was having Mac, my younger brother, do the ceremony. That and having all our friends and family in the same place at the same time. It was the first meeting for many of them and it was wonderful.

Kyle: My favorite part was actually before the wedding. One of the benefits of the zoo was being able to wander the grounds in our wedding finery as it was closing but before the ceremony started. It made for some great pictures, amazing memories, and more well wishes from other visitors than we knew what to do with.

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  • MM

    So now I’m sad that my wedding will not feature a Sea Otter. But seriously, lovely wedding!

  • carrie


    That’s all I got. Also, I’ll take those purple heels if no one wants ’em. Finally – congrats! :-)

    • Maddie

      Significant otter. You slay me. :)

      • carrie

        Otters are me and my guy’s spirit animals. For your LOLing pleasure:

        and the ever famous:

        We have a painting of this in our place.

      • carrie

        Also, sorry for the OT post with the otters – they make me stupidly happy, as do wordless weddings, and to have a wordless wedding WITH an otter…well. Just excited. But so sorry to have gone OT on this gorgeous wedding!

        • Rebecca

          I am soooo jealous that the otters were out! They are always hiding when I go. We finally resorted to going to the aquarium during otter feeding time so we could get our otter ogling in.

          (For reference, the Seattle Aquarium has sea otters and river otters. You know, just in case you find yourself in need of that sort of info)

          Love the paper cranes!

  • The candlelight looked so warm and beautiful!!!

  • Gorgeous wedding, and I love the zoo! What a great location. And beautiful dress- it looks stunning on you. Also, I adore the face the little kid is making at the table. Too precious!

    I’ve been looking into locations and dresses recently. I know the zoo had special significance to you, but does anyone have tips for finding a location? Perhaps something a bit off the beaten path but economically friendly?

    Thanks for sharing! Congratulations!

    • Kris

      It really depends on whether you want an outdoor or indoor ceremony.
      If you like outdoor ceremonies national and local parks, campgrounds, nature reserves, amusement parks, random fields, and backyards are all options. I’ve even heard of someone having their wedding on a campground near an on-going circus then going to the circus as the afterparty. Most national and local parks are very cheap to reserve and you can either use provided pavilions or erect tents. Backyards are another great option because they can be free!
      If you prefer indoor settings check out (obviously) zoos, aquariums, museums, discovery centers, local college and university rooms, your favorite restaurant or bar, theaters, unused or vacant warehouses/business, historical houses, VFW halls, or worship centers.
      I got lucky and my MOH found a beautiful pavilion at a very small local park, it was so nice she actually wanted to use it for her wedding! It has both indoor and outdoor space and is very secluded so we don’t have to worry about random people showing up. For 1 whole day and 2 half days it cost less than $200 and that includes seating and chairs for 80, a projector, and unlimited use of the entire property including the lake.
      Sorry if some of these options are boring or obvious, I struggled endlessly with finding a reception site in my small town until I found the park pavilion!

  • Woodland Park Zoo is one of my favorite venues EVAR. Especially the roaming popcorn-mooching peacocks.

    Also, I love your purple heels. :)

  • Emily

    All of this is so awesome! I especially love the cranes. Swoon.

    • Yes!!!! We loved ’em too! So much, in fact, that we gladly took some home to decorate with.

      And seriously, there were like a billion of those things. Alyssa has some crazy origami skillz.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I love that you gave us all the relatively inexpensive, normal retail details.

  • Everything about this is just so phenomenal.

  • KC

    You are so stunning! And I am so impressed that dress came from David’s Bridal – either you sprinkled some serious magic happy-wedding pixie dust over it or they’ve really stepped up their game since the last time I was in there!

    • KC

      (also: otters! origami! oooh!)

  • Ahhh! How cool. You guys rock. Congrats!

  • Well, this wedding is just so charming I can hardly stand it! The otter, the paper cranes, the carousel, etc, etc. Congratulations, Alyssa & Kyle!

  • Shayna

    Don’t tease me like that! You promises me a handknit wedding shawl, I’ve looked through the photos 4 times, no shawl! Alyssa, are you on Ravelry? I’ll find your knitting pictures there (please?).

  • Kayla


    Ahem. Please excuse the internet yelling. We were at Woodland Park Zoo when I decided I was going to marry my fiance. We take his kids there about 25 times a year.

    And you got married there! Congratulations! And holy moly, that is so awesome. Also, thank you for being the reason I know about zoo weddings. So cool.

  • deelirium

    omg, I am loving the cranes!!! I’ve folded over 1,000 in my lifetime, and I’m considering doing them as my escort cards. Table number on one wing, name on the other. I haven’t tried it out yet though.

    • Jen

      try it! I think that would be awesome :)

  • What a really cool wedding, would love to get married at the zoo.

  • Carbon Girl

    That dress is so gorgeous. I have never seen a wedding dress like it! Was it shorter in the front? I cannot believe you found it at David’s.

  • Hi all, bride here. Thank you for all your lovely comments! I wanted to assure everyone that the dress was indeed from David’s – I had the same thoughts (and a small panic attack when I walked in and saw the sea of white), but they were incredibly helpful and nice people and the seamstresses were THE BEST. It was a bit longer in the back – it had a tiny train. Nothing that I had to pin up later, though…I’m way too lazy to mess with that :P. And as for the shawl, there are more pictures here: – it’s the pink one right at the beginning (I have a ravelry account but I never update it, sadly). My mom and two of my good friends were also wearing shawls that I made, and those are on there too :). I also wanted to mention that if you’re looking for an affordable venue, the zoo seriously fits the bill. It was the cheapest place we looked at, by far, and the staff was amazing. Oh, and Josh and Ali were seriously one of the best parts of our day- by the end of it we felt like they were really good friends that were there to help us celebrate :). Thanks again for the kind comments, it really made our day!