Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York

This post has been a little delayed. I had some questions for Lauren and Neil about their wedding, and they just didn’t have the time to answer them until very recently. But I mean, you can’t really fault them when this was their excuse, in an email sent to me in September: “Sorry for the slow reply. We’re both going to West Africa right about now for the Ebola outbreak, so things are a bit crazy.”

Just four months after their New York wedding at the Bronx Zoo, they were both dispatched to West Africa to help in the Ebola outbreak efforts, as disease investigators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I finally heard from them again in December, as they were safe and sound back home in Atlanta. These two are extremely intelligent; they are respected and admired in their professions; and they put their hearts and efforts into all the right things. It’s only natural that they gravitated toward one another back in 2011.

Lauren and Neil met as internal medicine residents at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Neil had to do a bit of mild stalking of this striking brunette to enable enough “chance” encounters for him to ask her out.  On their first date, they spent hours talking and laughing, never wanting the night to end. They both seemed to know they had met their match.

Lauren and Neil are both environmentalists, conservationists and animal lovers, and they wanted their wedding to reflect those passions. “The Bronx Zoo was a perfect location, since all the proceeds of the event supported the Wildlife Conservation Society,” Lauren said. “Neil and I had recently been on a weeklong safari in Tanzania, and from there we took a lot of inspiration – jungle fronds, dark woods, tropical flowers. It fit perfectly with the animal theme!”

They had their first look on the High Line in Manhattan, where a crowd naturally gathered as this gorgeous bride in red walked the steps down to meet her groom. It was Neil’s favorite moment of the day. “Lauren was so beautiful it took my breath away,” he said. “It was such an intimate moment even though a crowd had formed. It was a great start to an amazing day.”

That incredible red dress was not something Lauren had been searching for. She had been trying on dresses for several months in New York before ending up at Vera Wang and stepping into this unconventional gown. “Although I had tried on hundreds of beautiful tulle and silk confections, none had ever left me speechless in front of a mirror,” she said. “That is, until the day I slipped into Vera’s perfect red creation for the first time and knew that I never wanted to take it off again. I hadn’t known that I was looking for a red dress until I put it on – and then it just felt as if I had been searching for it all along because it’s the traditional Indian bridal color and it just felt so right.”

Authored by: Photographed by: MauricioCategory:  WeddingsDestination:  Bronx, New YorkVenue:  Bronx Zoo