News Release: Research

Jul. 23,  2009

Yerkes a Meaningful Spot for Staff to Tie Knot

News Article ImageYerkes employees Rachel Fest and Chris Souder

From Emory Report

An interest in and a career with non-human primates led to a marriage between two primates of the human kind.

Yerkes National Primate Research Center was the setting for the wedding of Rachel Fest and Chris Souder on Wednesday, July 15 at 1:30 p.m. in the courtyard. The bride is assistant operations manager of animal care at the main Yerkes Center, and Souder a supervisor of research specialists in the animal resources division. The entire staff was invited, says Fest.

“[Yerkes] was the only thing that really made sense, that seemed obvious,” she says. “We became engaged in October and wanted a small, simple wedding. We toyed around with the idea of having it at Piedmont Park.”

But the couple had never really spent any time at the city green spot.

Instead, they spent time at their jobs at Yerkes, both having been there approximately 10 years each. They met on the job and “all of our friends are there or have been there,” Fest says, having had a “series of very good friends” who’ve worked at Yerkes over the years and whose careers have taken them elsewhere.

So they sought and received permission from Stuart Zola, Yerkes director, to hold the wedding on site. “We decided on a Wednesday because that’s when most of the staff is working,” she says.

Denise Bonenberger, who also works in animal resources, served as Fest’s maid of honor. Souder’s twin brother, another Yerkes staffer, was in the wedding, and his best “man” (who’s a woman), was Kim Neu, a former roommate. Fest’s brother officiated (“He’s not a minister,” she explained.)

Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the conference room, catered by MyCafe on site at Yerkes, “the cakes and everything,” says Fest.

Later, they’ll take a trip to Vegas. “It’s time for annual evaluations,” Fest says, explaining the postponed honeymoon. “And we’re supervisors and managers.”

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