Giraffes, monkeys and meerkats will all be guests of honour as an animal-loving couple plan to get married at Twycross Zoo.

Jeanette Roberts and Matthew Carter, from Hilton, wanted a wedding day with a difference so they picked a venue where they had one of their first dates and will be getting up close and personal with the animals at the zoo, which is 13 miles outside of Burton on the A444.

Some of their guests may at first have thought at first they were monkeying around when they announced the venue but the couple are dead serious and they even plan to feed the giraffes after the ceremony on Saturday, September 23.

The latest arrival at Twycross Zoo in the Midlands, snow leopard twins, who made their first public appearance on 12 July, have now been named by the members of the zoo.
The sisters are now four months old and visitors can often see them playing in their habitat by the zoos Himalaya Centre.
Eva meaning life
Ceba meaning dear to hold
Snow leopards Eva and Ceba playing at Twycross Zoo

Jeanette said: "We've always loved the zoo. One time when we were at Twycross, Matthew saw a sign advertising weddings and joked that we should do that for our wedding.

"When he popped the question, I suggested Twycross. I don't think he was being serious when he first suggested it at the zoo, but I was."

The couple will have a drinks reception outside the gibbon enclosure and, after getting hitched, will lead the bridal party into feeding the animals. Jeanette and Matthew will feed the giraffes while other guests get to also hand out treats to penguins, otters and meerkats.

She said: "We're not very religious so we didn't really want to have our special day in a church, and one of our first dates was to Twycross Zoo, so it made sense really. We never really wanted a typical sit-down wedding from the start.

"For the wedding we're getting married in a room next to the reception, followed by a drinks reception outside the gibbon enclosure. Straight after that, we're having an animal feeding encounter.

"We love all animals but we had already fed meerkats and I didn't want to feed penguins or otters due to the smell of fish. Plus, giraffes are gorgeous."

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Jeanette, 28, said people should not be limited by tradition and encourages them to do what suits them as a couple.

She said: "If you want a traditional wedding then you should absolutely do that. I'm not opposed to tradition. But people shouldn't feel like that's the only option.

"There's going to be about 70 day guests and 150 evening guests, as we have a big family. All in all, it's costing us less than £10,000, as the zoo's fees for accommodation and food came up to about £6,000.

"There has been a mixed reaction from my family and friends. Lots of my friends are all for it and think that it's really cool, but some of my family want me to have a traditional marriage. I think their biggest problem is that they don't know what to wear, or what to put on their feet."

She and Matthew, 29, who works for at the Royal Derby Hospital, met eight years ago on a night out with a mutual friend. They quickly became firm friends and then started dating before getting engaged in July last year.

They do have their own animal at home - a cat called Smithers - who they think is is just purr-fect!

A representative for Twycross Zoo said around 15 to 20 weddings are held there every year. They usually hold their receptions in rooms that can fit up to 250 people.

The orangutans are always popular at Twycross Zoo

There is no fixed price for the wedding, as they do bespoke quotations for various requirements and say every wedding is different.

Twycross does not conduct the marriage ceremony, meaning that the couple had to book a Leicestershire registrar to conduct the ceremony.

Entry to the zoo is included in the price for booking the venue, so wedding guests can wander around the zoo as they please. They are given wrist bands so that they can enter and exit at will.

Jeanettte said: "For our honeymoon we're going to Croatia. We're waiting until next year to go on a perfect trip - a safari."

Another unusual wedding of Burton couple

Jeanette Roberts and Matthew Carter are not the first couple in the area who wanted their wedding to be a bit different and reflect their interests.

Burton Albion mad couple Rich and Rebecca Seagrave saw their love of their team influence their big day. Groom Rich, bridesmaids, best men and flower girls all wore black and yellow suits and dresses. The song the Brewers players run on to the pitch too played as happy couple cut the cake at their reception with the room decked out in black and yellow.

Bride Rebecca Wilding opted for traditional white dress for the big day but she had bought into the black and yellow theme, other than she turned down Rich's request to get married at the home of the Brewers at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton as they got hitched in Belper. The cake even had a definite Brewers theme that could not be missed.

Here are some other unusual places you can get married at:

Tree Top Escape - Devon

What makes it unique: TYu can get married in a treehouse.

The Tree Top Escape is a charming hideaway located above land, surrounded by rolling valleys and stunning views. It’s the perfect spot for an intimate wedding with capacity for just 14 guests and a luxury two bedroom tree house for the wedding couple and two guests for overnight accommodation, says

Waterton Park Hotel – West Yorkshire

What makes it unique: The stunning moat that surrounds it.

The venue itself is a Georgian mansion surrounded by a 26 acre lake – that’s what gives it the wow-factor. It’s a truly magical setting that will transform your wedding day into the vision you’ve always dreamt of.

Coca-Cola London Eye – West London

What makes it unique: It’s the London Eye!

One of London’s biggest landmarks since 2000, Coca-Cola London Eye allows couples to celebrate their wedding day and appreciate stunning views of London from 135metres above ground level. If you love the city and want some incredible pictures to look back on from your wedding day, we would highly recommend this city wedding venue.

Bath’s Historic Venues – Somerset

What makes it unique: The history and natural beauty of each space.

With four spaces - the roman baths and pump room, assembly rooms, guildhall and the Victoria art gallery - there's plenty of choice when it comes to picking a place to say your vows. Our personal favourite is the roman baths themselves. The mist and steam that flicker throughout the romantic setting really do make this such an enchanting place to get married.

Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and Mansion – Kent

What makes it unique: The incredible on-site animal reserve.

At Port Lympne, couples can say their vows in a number of different locations - from the Italian-inspired terraces to the beautiful indoor rooms. Couples and their guests can also go on a VIP safari to the African and Asian Experience, where you can even feed giraffes!

There are also nine unique ways to stay the night after the wedding from a sleepover in the historic hotel to staying inside a tiger's world at Tiger Lodge.

The Crypt at Bleeding Heart – East Central London

What makes it unique: King Henry VIII had his three-day wedding feast here in 1531.

Home to historic royalty since the 16th century, the team at The Crypt at Bleeding Heart sure do know how to hold an extravagant do. Standing at 600 years old, this venue is steeped in history and has a charming and magical ambience because of that.

Spitbank Fort – Hampshire

What makes it unique: You can only access this venue by boat.

This world-famous sea fort has transformed itself into a unique and totally out-there wedding venue. Spitbank Fort can only be accessed by boat as it sits one mile from land. As well as being totally unique, the fort is also accommodated with luxurious bedrooms, a Jacuzzi and reception space to host 60 guests and sleep 16 overnight.

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