An Elmwood Park Zoo Marriage Showcasing Vietnamese Traditions


The pair adjusted into áo dàis for the reception.

Elmwood Park Zoo wedding

Stephanie La and Craig Walters Jr. at their Elmwood Park Zoo marriage ceremony / Pictures by Bianca Tang Photography

Giraffe feedings! Animal encounters! Weddings at Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown hardly ever cease to delight. This summertime marriage is significantly distinctive — not only did the pair decide on the venue for the reason that they needed a little something just one-of-a-sort for their guests, but they also filled it with nods to their Vietnamese American heritage. Bianca Tang Pictures snapped just about every adventurous and touching instant in this article.


At times, distance can be a superior factor. Stephanie La, a neurophysical therapist who grew up in Lansdale and attended Temple, related with Craig Walters Jr. on OKCupid only soon after she expanded her courting-locale radius from the Philly location to the Poconos.

“He gave me butterflies that I’d in no way felt just before,” claims Stephanie of her very first impression. “He also experienced a really peculiar position involving tombstones.” (Craig owns Walters Monument Corporation in Summit Hill.)

On their very first date, Stephanie, who is Vietnamese American, discovered that CJ was section Vietnamese on his mother’s facet. While he did not discuss the language and was not acquainted with the society, he commenced to find out a lot more about his heritage immediately after that get-jointly.


CJ ended up remaining the initial and only person who obtained far more than a 2nd date out of her. He also received a “Yes” when he proposed 6 a long time later on. Two and a 50 % a long time soon after that, on June 12, 2022, they reported “I do” at Elmwood Park Zoo. They chose the the venue for the reason that they have “been in and attended numerous weddings” and desired one thing one of a kind for their 125 attendees.

The festivities combined American and Asian traditions. One of Stephanie’s most loved facts was altering into their classic apparel — áo dài — for the reception. (The bride wears pink to signify luck, and the groom wears blue.) “We wanted to highlight our shared cultural heritage and how very pleased we are to be Vietnamese American,” she says. A twist: CJ’s attire was custom-sewn in Vietnam because of his height.


The groom also wore a present from his mom — cuff hyperlinks with his late father’s fingerprints on them. His father had handed away eight months prior to the wedding, so the day was bittersweet. But CJ credits his father for guaranteeing it didn’t rain all through their festivities — despite the forecast. “My prayers were being read so we could have the marriage ceremony we dreamed of,” he suggests.

The few was wed in front of the eagle exhibit the ceremony arch highlighted crane garlands that were hand-folded by the bride’s sister/matron of honor.


Visitors later on participated in a giraffe feeding, rode the carousel, and went on a image scavenger hunt all through the zoo.

The relaxation of the evening showcased far more animal-impressed pleasurable. The cocktail hour was inside the big-cat show. There were being themed cocktails — the Moscow Mule and Jaguar Mojito. And the cake-topper featured two giraffes in like.

Dancing was a highlight, much too. For the father-daughter dance, Steph and her father started off with “Forever Now” by Michael Bublé in advance of switching to “Daddy” by PSY, which led to an impromptu K-pop flash mob.


And right after that? The few set their sights on their honeymoon in Japan — marking CJ’s very first time outside of the North American continent.

THE Aspects
Photographer: Bianca Tang Images | Venue & Catering: Elmwood Park Zoo | Arranging/Layout: Alta Celebration Household | Florals: Bride and maid of honor | Bride’s Robe: Morilee from Stillwhite | Bridesmaids’ Apparel: Birdy Gray | Hair: Jeannie Pham of Simplicity Salon (Stephanie’s aunt) | Groom’s Apparel: Tommy Hilfiger | Enjoyment: DJ Binh Nguyen | Cake: Bredenbeck’s Bakery & Ice Product Parlor | Invites: Really Partaking | Videography: I Pick You Studio | Officiant: Michael Sacks | Rings: Bixlers (engagement ring) Etsy (marriage band)

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