Engaged couple gets a ‘no’ for reception at armory, alternative goes wild

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Mike Nosek and Clara Quadra had invited 300 guests from around the world to witness their big day, a July wedding at church and the reception at the Connecticut Street Armory—one of the few venues large enough to hold that many people.

So when National Guard officials did an about face, in December, and told the couple they would not get the armory, they Called 4 Action, and initially the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs indicated the armory might still be available.

An old shooting range at the armory left the building contaminated with lead dust, and the National Guard would not allow private events. But Military and Naval Affairs told Mike and Clara most of the lead dust had been removed.

By February it became painfully apparent, the armory would not be available, so the couple found another venue, which as it turns out is even better—the Buffalo Zoo. Just ask Clara, “I was very excited, I tried to keep it inside.”

After a tour of the zoo’s features, last month, Clara said she and Mike decide to take a walk on the wild side, “When we found the area by the polar bear exhibit, she showed us the walkway and where we could set up. I was like yes, this is where I need this wedding to be, and now it is happening.”

Mike couldn’t believe they would start their life together among the animals, but he is excited, “Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought the zoo does wedding receptions, but here we are.”

Buffalo Zoo’s Private Events Coordinator, Courtney McKenna, said the zoo has booked 6 wedding receptions so far this year, and more than 35 other private events. Mike and Clara’s July 1 bash is the largest wedding reception. To book private events at the Buffalo Zoo.

“We are going to have a blast with Mike and Clara. We’ve got two tents coming in, sound, dance floor–all the works. We are going to do a great pig roast, big menu. So yes, it is going to be great.”

Now, when Mike and Clara describe their wedding, they won’t have to use the zoo as a figure of speech, as Mike put it, “That is true, I have to keep minding my speech when I am talking to people about it, and not say oh, it is going to be 300 people, it is going to be a zoo.”

Clara and Mike said, the novelty of the zoo setting might actually be a draw for some of the invited guests who were riding the fence. They said the “curiosity factor” might have convinced a few relatives to come check it out.

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