Creative and Unique Safari Park Wedding

Creative and Unique Safari Park Wedding

Kimberly and David’s San Diego Safari Park wedding ticks all the right boxes of a magical and extraordinary celebration. Modeled after the African Serengeti and the vast expanse of the Asian plains, what’s more spectacular than saying “I do” surrounded by amazing wildlife, a tropical lagoon, and lush savanna? With panoramic views of the park and San Pasqual Valley, the couple exchanged emotional vows with the most idyllic backdrop. 

The reception that followed at the Kijami pavilion is reminiscent of a luxurious South African lodge with vaulted ceilings and exposed beams, a baobab tree bar, a cozy outdoor lounge, and gorgeous safari-inspired accents. Floral arrangements by Simply Put Designs that echoed the colors of the savanna, along with emerald and gold tablescape details, added the right touch of glamor. The same deep jewel tone from the groom’s suit and wedding party attire beautifully tied in with the natural surroundings. 

The couple truly made their wedding dreams come true by tying the knot at one of their favorite places and sharing the experience with their loved ones. Scroll down to see every unforgettable detail of this San Diego Safari Parkwedding as captured by Sara Whitaker.

The Couple:

Kimberly and David

The Wedding:

San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego, California, United States

The Sweetest First Look

The most memorable part of our wedding was seeing my husband for the first time during our first look. It was great having that time just to calm both of our nerves and soak in the emotions.

A Personalized Ceremony

I loved how personal our vows were. Choosing our officiant to be one of our close friends was great because he knows how our love has grown.

Keeping A Loved One’s Memory Alive

My father passed away, and my Maid of Honor surprised me with a bridal locket with his photo to add to my bouquet. It was very nice having that. 

Why A San Diego Safari Park Wedding

We chose the San Diego Safari Park because it is one of our favorite places to go in our free time. My husband and I both love to travel. It just seemed like the perfect place. 

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Desert Born Studios
Ceremony Venue – San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Floral Design – Simply Put Designs
Cake – Flour Power
DJ – Electric Entertainment DJs
Videography – Pause Creative Collective
Invitation Design – Magnet Street
Makeup Artist – Makeup By Rachel Xoxo
Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Apparel – Friar Tux

 

Congratulations to Kimberly and David on their creative and unique San Diego Safari Park wedding. And big thanks to Sara Whitaker for capturing and sharing these breathtaking photos with us. 

Choosing a venue will be one of the first wedding planning decisions you will make. Explore our list of unique venues and just like Kimberly and David, feel free to get creative when finding the one that’s right for you and your partner.

 

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California Rustic Wedding at Cordiano Winery *

California Rustic Wedding at Cordiano Winery *

High school sweethearts Taylor and Tyler’s rustic wedding at Cordiano Winery was the perfect mix of romantic and whimsical. The couple hired Sisti & Co. to help them create a day that was an authentic celebration of their years of love. With soft pink decor, an abundance of pink and white flowers, and lush greenery, the couple’s vision of an intimate day at a winery came to life in a truly breathtaking way.

If romantic bridal fashion is your thing, we can’t wait for you to see Taylor’s Willowby by Watters a-line lace tulle gown paired with sparkly floral Badgley Mischka heels. The dress perfectly matched the dreamy vibes of the day. With all of the thoughtful goodness, we’re thankful that talented photographer and Junebug member Kami Olavarria was there to capture every sentimental detail—including portraits with the family dogs.

The Couple:

Taylor and Tyler

The Wedding:

Cordiano Winery, San Diego, California

A Memorable First Look

The most memorable part of our day was the first look. We went back and forth on whether the first time we’d see each other that day would be at the ceremony or during a first look. Both shaking, and tears falling as soon as we saw each other—we are so over the moon that we chose to make that a special moment for just us.  It was a moment of excitement and relief at the same time that our day was finally here, and it was just getting started.

Personalizing the Ceremony With A Close Officiant

Neither of us are religious and we wanted our ceremony to still hold that level of importance. We chose a mutual best friend of ours to officiate. He did such an incredible job—you could feel the love, friendship, and humor. Everyone said that our ceremony was “totally us,” and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

A Sweet Wedding Day Surprise

I surprised my new husband with a gelato cart during the reception. It was worth it when I saw him dancing his little butt off with a cup of mint chocolate chip gelato and a huge smile!

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Kami Olavarria
Event Planning – Sisti & Co.
Venue & Catering – Cordiano Winery
DJ – Joe Cardillo
Invitation Design – Minted
Makeup Artist & Hair Styling – Elwynn and Cass
Wedding Dress – Willowby by Waters
Bridesmaids’ Apparel – David’s Bridal
Groom’s Apparel – Friar Tux
Rings – Robbins Brothers

Congratulations again to Taylor and Tyler on their rustic wedding at Cordiano Winery! Special thank you to Junebug member Kami Olavarria for sharing it with us. Check out more of Kami’s work on her profile in our directory of best wedding photographers in the world!

 

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Wedding theme: If Tim Burton and the Simpsons had a baby *

Wedding theme: If Tim Burton and the Simpsons had a baby *

Photos by Kevin Baldes Photography

Offbeat partner: Carrie Anne (Optional web site link)

Offbeat partner: Will

Date and location of wedding: Britt Scripps Manor, San Diego, CA,10/10/2019

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our wedding can best be described as if Tim Burton & The Simpsons had a baby. My husband and I are both extremely silly people, very much into pop culture and comedy, however we both are obsessed with the darker things in life; true crime, dark art, ghost stories and more.

We both knew out the gate that we wanted an October wedding. In fact, we decided to have our wedding cake entirely black and our toppers be Funko Pops, Beetlejuice & Lydia. We’re both Funko collectors so it was a nice, meaningful touch to us both. Being an artist myself, details were really important to me — to both of us, really.

All of our decor, centerpieces, signage and more were all handmade and designed by us, with skull accents on almost everything. As something unique for our guests we designed “limited edition” soft enamel coffin pins as their takeaway souvenir. In lieu of table numbers, we themed each table with unique names referencing some of our favorite actors, bands, fictional locations and more.

Each table was accompanied with a corresponding QR code handout we created to give more insight into each theme (see this Offbeat Bride article: Make these QR table cards)

My husband wore a snake pin, paying homage to his late Uncle “Snake” Johnny. All of our groomsmen wore Jack Skellington embellished ties; my husband a Skellington bow tie.

I purchased my dress on Etsy from a Lithuanian designer. Hilariously, I missed the initial delivery and ended up having to pick my dress up from our local liquor store.

Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was pretty non-traditional, and it really set the tone for the rest of the wedding. My husband made clear from the beginning that he wanted to walk down the aisle first by himself, a la Bride style.

So, he came out, shook everyone’s hands, high-fived like a celebrity, and then danced his way down the rest of the aisle to Green Day’s cover of the Simpsons. I didn’t know any of this until the next day!

Our wedding party came out to Florence and the Machine’s cover of “Stand By Me”, and then I came down the aisle to “Dreams” from the Cranberries. Our officiant is a mutual best friend of us both, and our favorite local bartender. I actually surprised my husband mid-vows with a champagne toast at the “altar”. He surprised me by incorporating some of my favorite song lyrics into his.

Here are our vows:

CARRIE’S: Will, my fox, my rock, light of my life. Where do I begin? I love you. I love you, Not just because you make PowerPoint presentations when you have something important you want to share with me or because you make me laugh until my whole body hurts. Not just because you take care of me when I’m sick, putting up with hours of trash TV, or because you make up songs to sing to our cat. Though I do love all those things, I love you because you’re my best friend and you make me happy all the time. I promise to be there to pick you up when you’re feeling down, and to make you laugh more. I promise to appreciate you, to challenge you, to love you unconditionally, and to support you as your best friend and now, your wife. Who knows, I might even let you win an argument once in a while. So, In our true fashion, I say we cheers. (Bring out champagne glasses) Cheers To more traveling, comedy festivals, haunted cemeteries, late-night burritos, all-day Video games and Netflix binges. Cheers To growing together and growing old together, creating together, and loving each other more each day. I can’t believe how lucky I am and I can’t wait to share my life with you forever. Sayers and doers. And we’re doing it. To us. (*clink*)

WILL’S: Wow. That was beautiful, just like my lovely bride to be. I knew I should have went first so now I’m going to have to call an audible. What do I say to the women who already knows everything about me. My numerous talents and single flaw? Helped me out of many a …(Paul Scheer impersonation) sticky situation? I first admired you for your artistic talents. Your passion towards your craft was like none I had ever experienced. Now that I have had the honor to fall in love with artist herself, I don’t care if you never sell another painting again – (turns to audience jokingly) Even though www.carrieannehudson.com is launching an amazing sale where anyone can get 20% off using the promo code wedding through this weekend. Artistically, you’ve turned me into Willverine, numerous cocktail napkins doodles and The Orange Powerpuff girl – spiritually you’ve turned me into the luckiest man alive. Do you ‘memba’ when I invited myself to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with you? I had no idea who they were but it was a reasonably priced show and a chance to go out with you again. Now, you laugh at my dumb jokes when no one does. You bring me Mexican food from Saguaros just because. Not sure what I did right to get to this day. But I’ll keep trying to stay this way, I know it’s love that’s got me feeling okay. In return, I promise that If you call then, I’m coming to get you – I would wash away your pain with all my tears – and drown your fears cause you’re a dream to me. Every morning is a blessing that I get to wake up alongside you and spend another day growing old together. Days that regardless of whether they are spent in richness or in poorness – poorness is underlined, we can cherish the simple things in life like eating ice cream on a bench or laughing at people who look like their pets. Days where we will experience it all, the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, and the creamy middles. I love you Carrie Anne, you are everything to me. My Narrator, my khaleesi, my best friend, my Pleasantville and now my wife (Borat!) and one day mother to my many, many children. Sayers and doers my love and we did it babes.

Tell us about the reception:
My husband and I met and live in San Diego, so it was important for us to incorporate as many local elements as we could, especially with his New York family flying out. Our chosen wedding venue actually ended up only being a 10-minute drive from our apartment.

The Britt Scripps Manor is a Victorian manor in San Diego, built in 1887 – a gothic dream come true. With this venue, we were able to host our rehearsal dinner, our wedding, and even sleepover in it. I asked if it was haunted and received mixed feedback – so I’m just going to pretend it is.

For cocktail hour, we hired a local pianist to entertain our guests with instrumental covers of some of our favorite songs. Guests enjoyed themed cocktails, made with a locally produced vodka – 619 Vodka (Hi Nick!).

We even rented a vintage photobooth from a local photobooth company for our guests to sit in, pull the curtain shut, and take some fun shots.

Finally, as a gift to my husband, I managed to trick my him into being blindfolded to play a “wedding game”, so that his favorite local band, Little Hurricane, could secretly set up and surprise him (and our guests) with an intimate acoustic set. Now this was no easy task. I had to coordinate with our groomsmen and bridesmaids months in advance on how to keep Will away from the venue the morning of the wedding so the band and DJ could do a sound check, not to mention figure out how to have them set up during the wedding without him knowing. Was it worth it? A thousand percent.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Our biggest challenge with our wedding was continuing with our plans of action, even if others disagreed with us. But in doing that, the biggest lessons we learned were don’t be afraid to do what your heart wants and don’t be afraid to venture from the norm. We put our feet down, and did our wedding our way. In the end, we had the best wedding we could have possibly imagined, and our guests really felt the same.

Vendors

Photographer (Main): Kevin Baldes Photography @kevinbaldesphotography
Photographer (Asst.): Red Def Photography @reddefphotography
Venue: The Britt Scripps Manor @brittscrippsmanor
Decor: DIY Bride Carrie Anne Hudson @carriehudson
Cake: Jenny Wenny Cakes @jennywennycakes
DJ: DJ Man Cat @djmancat
Band: Little Hurricane @littlehurricane
Photobooth: Union Booth @unionbooth
Dress: Jurgita Bridal @jurgitabridal
Bride’s Hair: Joanna Glam Dolls @joannalovescolor
Bride’s Makeup: Kyla Stuart @kylastuart_makeup
Groom’s Snake Pin: MoonRaven @moonravendesigns
Ties: Shop Disney @shopdisney