This Houston Zoo Wedding Was Full of Flora and Fauna

cathleen and winston wedding groom kissing brides forehead
Minerva House

Cathleen Cantrell and Winston Holloway were two-and-a-half years into dating when, over dinner at Brasserie 19 in Houston, Winston suggested they go to a movie down the street at the River Oaks Theater. The marquee beneath the big red "River Oaks" sign read, "You're my absolute favorite, will you marry me?" Cathleen was completely shocked when Winston told her the sign was for her.

Eleven months later, in April 2018, they were married at the Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston. Their wedding reception was held at the Houston Zoo, where Cathleen is a volunteer. "Our wedding was special because it incorporated our loves and interests," says Cathleen. "Our guests really saw 'us' throughout our wedding." A focus on genuine expression meant that every detail of Cathleen and Winston's wedding was thoughtfully selected and unique. Winston's career as an architect led to his "blueprint" design for the seating chart; his goofy streak inspired him to create a bust of himself for his wedding cake. Cathleen's love of animals shone throughout the ceremony and reception through a face painting station, Barnum's Animal Cracker favors, and a recurring de Gournay Amazonia print.

This thoughtfulness was also reflected in Cathleen and Winston's music choices. As a surprise for their guests, a gospel choir was hidden in the church where their wedding was held and, once Cathleen and Winston were officially husband and wife, revealed themselves by singing "Oh Happy Day," one of Cathleen's favorite songs. Similarly touching, Cathleen and Winston had selected their first dance song when they heard it on the radio months prior: When "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" by Louis Armstrong came on, they instantly turned to each other and said, "That's it! That's our first dance song!"

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Menagerie From Start to Finish

cathleen and winston wedding amazon themed invitation stationary suite
Minerva House

Cathleen loved her wedding invitations so much, they wound up being one of her favorite details of the whole day. The de Gournay-inspired design that appeared throughout the event's décor backed the invitation cards; the invites also incorporated a vellum inner-envelope with customized blue and white toile covered with zoo animals. Monogrammed crests and palm leaves polished the final design, which was created by Embossed Graphics of Texas.

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Amazonia Pumps

cathleen and winston wedding brides amazon theme patterned pumps
Minerva House

Much like the invitations, Cathleen's Aquazurra for de Gournay shoes (in the "Amazonia" print!) brought her animal theme to chic new heights.

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Not Afraid to Stand Out

cathleen and winston wedding bride wearing emerald ring
Minerva House

Knowing that Cathleen didn't want a diamond engagement ring, Winston chose an emerald solitaire, made by Lindsey Leigh Jewelry, instead. Cathleen ran a bridal boutique for several years—she now has an events company of her own—so feeling unique on her wedding day was incredibly important to her.

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Two Tries, Two Bows

cathleen and winston wedding profile of bride
Minerva House

At first, Cathleen wasn't sure if the classic, architectural Carolina Herrera wedding dress she ended up wearing down the aisle was "the one." The second time she tried on the dress, however, she knew: "I felt like Audrey Hepburn." The two bows—one for the ceremony and another for the reception—made the dress all the more appealing. "I'm a bow girl," says Cathleen.

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Texas-Sized Wedding Party

cathleen and winston wedding party standing on lawn
Minerva House

Cathleen had 18 bridesmaids (dressed in custom Lula Kate dresses that Cathleen helped design) and Winston had 11 groomsmen—talk about a Texas-sized wedding party!

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Looking Sharp

cathleen and winston wedding groom and ring bearer
Minerva House

Winston wore a Hugo Boss tux and custom Stubbs & Wootton shoes, which were embroidered with Cathleen's nickname for him: "Chief."

The couple's ring bearer looked adorable in a matching ensemble.

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A "Love Actually" Moment

cathleen and winston wedding ceremony in chapel
Minerva House

Cathleen and Winston's Catholic ceremony was held at Annunciation Catholic Church, where they asked a gospel choir (Love Actually style!) to stow away for the ceremony—only to burst out after the "I dos" singing one of Cathleen's all-time favorite songs: "Oh Happy Day."

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Butterflies in Full Effect

cathleen and winston wedding bride and groom kissing
Minerva House

Cathleen and Winston chose not to see each other prior to the ceremony—their last encounter had been at the rehearsal dinner the night before. "I was surprisingly nervous to see Win! I couldn't believe the moment was here and I really wanted him to love my dress. Butterflies were in full effect," says the bride. Winston was feeling excited, too: "Ecstatic and wildly overdressed."

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Chandeliers Over the Zoo

cathleen and winston wedding outdoor reception pink table settings beneath chandeliers
Minerva House

The Houston Zoo, despite housing a plethora of wild animals, was the perfect spot for the couple's glamorous celebration.

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Palm Fronds and Ginger Jars

cathleen and winston wedding outdoor reception table decorations pink and white roses and palm fronds
Minerva House

Pink and white garden roses, peonies, and ranunculus defined the centerpieces. These were placed between Cathleen's grandmother's collection of ginger jars and palm fronds over, of course, a de Gournay-esque tablecloth.

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Architecting the Seating Arrangement

cathleen and winston wedding blueprint seating chart
Minerva House

Winston, who is an architect, designed a seating chart like a blueprint so guests could easily find their tables. Cathleen loved orchestrating new friendships in crafting the table assignments: "I wanted to make sure everyone was getting to know fun guests we invited and didn't just stick to their normal groups of friends."

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Texan Cuisine

cathleen and winston wedding reception menu with monogrammed crest
Minerva House

Mashed potatoes with bacon bits and sour cream, short ribs, and remoulade peppered steak fries were only a few of the delicious options on the dinner menu. The menu cards included the monogrammed crest from the invitations.

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The Head Table

cathleen and winston wedding place setting with monogrammed napkin and napkin ring
Minerva House

The linens on Cathleen and Winston's table were yet nother nod to the de Gournay Amazonia theme. The couples' napkins bore their crest, as did the custom monogrammed napkin rings.

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Love and Reflection

cathleen and winston wedding outdoor bar near water
Minerva House

The reflection pond at the Houston Zoo was the perfect spot to dance the night away—and for an outdoor bar.

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Fairy-Tale Dinner Party

cathleen and winston wedding outdoor reception tables on either side of reflective pool
Minerva House

Two long rows of tables bordered the reflective pool, where a fountain erupted beneath the leaves and chandeliers. Winston loved the symmetry and linearity of the space.

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You May Kiss the…Owl?

cathleen and winston wedding bride and groom posing with owl
Minerva House

Cathleen has visited the Houston Zoo since she was a child and serves as a volunteer there. A huge animal lover, the bride was thrilled when she learned that she'd be able to see a few of the zoo's creatures on her wedding night (this owl, included!).

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Men and Beasts—Pastry Style

cathleen and winston wedding amazon theme painted cake topped with two elephants
Minerva House

The de Gournay Amazonia reared its head once more on Cathleen's cake, which was handpainted and featured a spray of greenery and two elephants on top. Winston's cake was a head—his head, in fact, complete with a marble cake interior.

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Party Animals

cathleen and winston wedding guests with elephant masks
Minerva House

Along with animal cracker party favors and a face painting booth dedicated to guests' spirit animals, Cathleen and Winston supplied some animal masks for those less willing to totally transform for the evening's entirety.

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Final Dance

cathleen and winston wedding bride and groom sharing first dance
Minerva House

Though the night was filled with special songs, the last one was extra special—Cathleen and Winston's final dance of the night was to the song "Sugar" by Maroon 5, a song that was extremely popular when the couple first began dating (and that shares a title with Winston's pet name for Cathleen).

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cathleen and winston wedding bride and groom with painted faces walking through sparkler send off
Minerva House

Photography, Minvera House

Venue, Annunciation Catholic Church (ceremony), Houston Zoo (reception)

Event planning, Holloway Events

Flowers, Lanson B. Jones & Co.

Rings, Lindsey Leigh Jewelry

Officiant, Father Leon Strieder

Stationery and Calligraphy, Embossed Graphics of Texas

Cakes, Cakes By Gina

Music, Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters

Rentals, Swift Events

Bride's attire, Carolina Herrera

Bride's accessories, Aquazurra for de Gournay (shoes)

Groom's attire, Hugo Boss

Groom's accessories, Stubbs & Wootton (shoes)

Hair and Makeup, Hey Lovely Makeup

Welcome boxes, A Signature Welcome

Day-of Coordination, Two Be Wed

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