Fleur and Jaap are Dutchies living in London. They are very excited to live and work here, and they decided to invite family and friends to witness their ‘I do’s in the city that has stolen their hearts.
I am very excited to tell you about Fleur and Jaap’s wedding ceremony which took place this summer at the conservatory of The Horniman in South-East London. It included everything that makes a celebrant-led ceremony personal and unique!
They were keen to have a Dutch speaking officiant for the ceremony, and thanks to the magical powers of social media they found me (probably the only Dutch-speaking celebrant in London)! We met, and from the very beginning I knew that their wedding ceremony would be a very special event. They were an absolute joy to work with with their love, vibes, creative ideas and energy.
Over the course of a few months, we co-created a ceremony that was filled with laughter, a few tears, a variety of symbolic rituals and many personal touches.
Bride Fleur walked down the aisle to ‘The One’, by Kodaline. A beautiful and fitting start of this special moment in their lives:
“Cause our two
Hearts will make it easy
Joining up the pieces
Together making life”
Fleur and Jaap wanted to honour their Dutch heritage. Not only was the ceremony mainly in Dutch (with English summaries), it also had a variety of Dutch touches. The bride’s dress was made by a Dutch designer, and her shoes were bright orange, referring to the Dutch national colour. The groomsmen were wearing blue suits and orange ties and socks. The groom’s button hole and socks were orange too! The flower arrangements also had an orange touch.
I also decided to add some Dutch touches to my outfit. Both my dress and shoes were by Dutch designers and I had painted my nails orange. Details matter..!
Jaap and Fleur’s story together
The ceremony was all about Fleur and Jaap and their story together. They had completed the questionnaires I had sent them with loads of warm, hilarious, fun and moving stories and anecdotes and we could have easily filled the whole day sharing them! They had decided that they wanted to keep some of the answers a secret for the other until the day, resulting in some hilarious looks and spontaneous outbursts of giggles when I shared these on the day.
Jaap and Fleur had written their own vows. It was probably the most moving and emotional moment of the ceremony. Their words were so heartfelt and truthful:
“You are the one I want to keep doing amazing things with. Taking opportunities and enjoying every moment. Everything I do, I want to do with you. Together we can face everything that lies ahead of us. Because when I’m with you, everything is better, nicer and more beautiful than I can ever imagine.”
(From Fleur’s vow to Jaap)
“I can keep going on for hours naming things that make you the best person in the world for me. But they all say the same thing: I love you and I’m so keen to marry you. Because I can laugh with you, cry with you, argue with you and travel with you. And because whenever I think of the future, it’s always a future together with you. I can’t imagine a better person to share the rest of my life with.”
(From Jaap’s vow to Fleur)
How they involved family and friends in the wedding ceremony
Fleur and Jaap wanted to include their family and friends as much as possible. Jaap’s father read a speech and Fleur’s sister, who is a professional singer, sang one of their favourite love songs: Perfect, by Ed Sheeran.
They also asked me to reach out to a selection of friends to share a memory or fun fact about them. I incorporated these in my script as part of Fleur and Jaap’s story together. Another element that remained a secret until the big day, causing lots of laughs out loud!
Symbolic personalised wedding rituals
For Fleur and Jaap, champagne has always played a key role in their relationship. Every first day of the month, they share a bottle of champagne to celebrate their love. To honour this tradition (70 bottles of champagne down the line!) we thought it would be fitting to present their wedding bands on two champagne corks.
Another symbolic element we included were sealed letters with marriage advise, written and given to them by their parents – only to be opened if their marriage should ever face challenging times, or, should everything continue to run smoothly and happy, at their 40st wedding anniversary.
Traditional wedding elements with a twist
Jaap and Fleur’s wedding ceremony had all the elements one would expect at a wedding ceremony: vows, ring exchange, signing of the wedding papers, and the official first kiss. For each of these elements we co-created a form and content that felt meaningful to Jaap and Fleur. For some of their family and friends it was the first time for them to witness a celebrant-led ceremony. Many commented how impressed they were in how we framed these traditional elements in a way that reflected so truthfully Fleur and Jaap’ personalities.
After the ceremony we toasted with … champagne! Their first bottle as a married couple.
I wish these beautiful, fun-loving, spontaneous and vibrant people all the luck in the world and, to quote the song ‘Love You More’, by Racoon, that was played during the signing of the wedding papers:
‘May they love each other more and more’ – every single day of their life together.