KUALA LUMPUR: Imagine having your dream wedding reception in an elegant hall, then afterwards walking right out the door to hang out with Malayan tigers, zebras, pandas or even penguins at Zoo Negara.
This was how two lucky couples, employees of the zoo, got to celebrate their nuptials.
And soon, other animal lovers, too, can get hitched at Zoo Negara when its wedding packages are opened to the public, targeted to start after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
For zookeeper Mohd Hafizi Azahari, 29, and assistant veterinary officer Mustaza Syirin Mustafa, 30, having a wedding where they fell in love three years ago was an experience to be treasured.
“We are grateful (for the opportunity) and lucky because we didn’t get to have a reception after our nikah (solemnisation) ceremony on March 6, ” said Mustaza Syirin.
Zoo Negara customer service officer Mohamad Rafiq Syafiq Mohamad Salehudin, 27, and zoology officer Nursyahidah Ismail, 25, were also celebrated as newly-weds by the zoo, where they began their courtship two years ago.
The couple, who also did not get to have a wedding function after their solemnisation on March 27, jumped at the chance after Nursyahidah’s boss Dr Mat Naim Ramli floated the idea of hosting theirs at their workplace.
“Getting married at the zoo is unique, not to mention the pictures are different from typical wedding photos, ” said Nursyahidah.
Zoo Negara deputy president Rosly@Rahmat Ahmat Lana said weddings are among the zoo’s initiatives to earn extra income.
He credited Dr Mat Naim, the zoology, hospital and veterinary service and Giant Panda Conservation Centre director, with reviving the programme.
“We used to host weddings at the zoo but the response wasn’t good as the cost was too high, so it was discontinued some years back.”