On a private French château in the renowned wine region of Bordeaux, Saskia and Kristian exchanged personally written vows. Allowing the historic estate to take centre stage, a simple, modern ceremony was styled with transparent ghost chairs and a backdrop of circular blooms.
As the summer sky was stained magenta at dusk, guests were invited to change into black tie before a surprise reception dinner. In the short intermission, planners Chloe Crouch Events worked their magic, setting up a dramatic tablescape for 120 guests that spanned an alley leading into the forests of the château.
Artfully capturing the magic were wedding photographers Suegraphy.
Names / Kristian Nooitgedagt & Saskia van Gelderen
Wedding Date / August 26th & 27th, 2022
Guest Numbers / 120
Budget / €100,000
“I walked out of the chateau down the aisle to Kristian, who stood waiting for me at the end of the aisle together with our children. My mother gave me away and I still get emotional when thinking about that moment.”
How We Met
We met ten years ago in a typical Dutch café in Amsterdam (where we both lived). Kristian was already there when I came in, and even though this café is always super crowded, we had each other’s attention the minute we saw each other. We started talking and we’re together ever since. Two children and ten years later, we got married in France.
Our Engagement Story
Kristian knew for quite some time he wanted to ask me to marry him, but he couldn’t find the perfect engagement ring. Or, as he says “I just couldn’t find the real ‘Sassie’ ring.” (Sassie is my nickname). He searched for about four months until he found the perfect ring at an antiquair – a ring originally from Spain made in the 1950’s. As soon as he had the ring, he went to my mother to ask for my hand. Two days later, he took me on a surprise vacation to Ibiza. I didn’t expect a thing about what was to come, as I was already so over the moon with this surprise holiday.
The day after our arrival, Kristian took us out on a trip with a traditional Ibizan boat, telling me we would have lunch in a restaurant close to the beach. He sailed to a deserted beach where we swam to the shore and got dressed for lunch (Kristian thought of everything and brought a waterproof bag for our clothes, ‘how clever of him!’, I thought, with me still not expecting a thing. Until we walked a couple of meters and I saw a private champagne lunch set up for us. It was at that moment that I realized, “omg is this happening?!” Kristian proposed and it was all tears for both of us. It was such an emotional moment, I just couldn’t believe that Kristian actually wanted to marry me. We drank champagne and were on the water for the rest of the day, listening to our favorite music and taking everything in. We stayed in Ibiza for three more days, enjoying our warm just-engaged bubble.
Marriage To Us Means…
Togetherness, truly choosing each other. Saying to the world, this is us, this is our family, we are together, we are so proud to love each other. And to be able to share that with our dearest and nearest.
For us, the most important things of our wedding were a weekend with family and friends, a long, sit-down dinner with good wines and good food, and an amazing party. We got married at Chateau Citran, a privately owned chateau in the middle of the vineyards in Bordeaux (Margaux) France. Kristian always knew he wanted to get married here, as he was instantly struck by the beauty and authenticity of the place. The chateau is surrounded by beautiful trees and it feels like home. Also, the chateau makes great wine, not entirely unimportant. As Kristian knows the owner, we were able to host our wedding here. It’s private property and not open for any sort of event. We however received carte blanche and were able to do everything exactly as we wanted.
Another reason for us to get married in France was the fact that we lived here for two years and fell in love with Bordeaux. Lots of friends and family came to visit during our stay here, and we have such warm memories of our time here. We really felt that this was the place for us to celebrate our love. One of the biggest logistic challenges for our wedding planner and the staff was setting up dinner. Kris had a vision of a long dining table for our 120 guests, set under the trees on the alley or pathway leading up to the chateau. However, the path was also the main entrance to the chateau, and we wanted the table to be a surprise to our guests. The dinner table could only be set up one hour before dinner time. Luckily, our guests needed to change their attire (during the day, the dress code was Tenue de ville and for the evening, we had Black tie).
Our guests stayed in a hotel that was fully reserved for our wedding and we had shuttles between the hotel and our location. So after the ceremony, guests were brought back to the hotel to freshen up and change into black tie. During that 1.5 hour break, the dinner table was set up. It was an extremely tight schedule, but our wedding planner pulled it off and our guests came back to a completely transformed location. Since we had a wedding weekend, we had welcome drinks at Chateau de l’Isle the afternoon and evening before the wedding, on Friday. We had a separate location for this, as we wanted to keep our wedding location a surprise until the actual wedding.
We instantly knew we wanted our wedding aesthetic to be minimal, modern, and chic. Usually, I’m about ‘more is more’, but for our wedding we wanted the décor to be understated. We wanted to let the chateau and the grounds speak for themselves.
We really wanted our wedding to be about our friends and family. So we planned several dinner parties and drinks with our ‘wedding group’ (the bridesmaids and groomsmen and their partners) the year leading up to our wedding. In July we had a pre-wedding five course summer lunch with our two families, our bridesmaids, and groomsmen, in my mother’s garden. We exchanged gifts there; I had bracelets with birthstones made for the girls and the boys got custom-made ties to wear on our wedding day.
During our wedding weekend, we stayed at Chateau Meyre with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. The night before our wedding, we had a late dinner at the pool. We danced, talked, swam… it was the best. For us, being together with our closest friends and family was everything and made our wedding so personal and full of love. It felt like we were on a holiday together. The people of Chateau Meyre took such good care of us and it absolutely made our wedding.
Our wedding photographers were Suegraphy, a Dutch photographer couple. They were one of the first things we booked; we saw their photos and fell In love instantly. They have a beautiful style and even more important, they are the most kind, positive and loving people. They helped us feel so much at ease and they took the most beautiful photos. When looking at the photos, I still cannot believe that this was our wedding.
We had our movie made by Oui et Oui films, a wedding videographer from Paris.
The wedding ceremony was in front of the chateau, with the grounds and gardens of the chateau behind us. There was so much green and nature surrounding us, that we kept it simple – white flowers, crystal chairs, and a small bench for us to sit on. We provided hand fans, drinks, and small candy during the ceremony for our guests, as it was quite warm. I walked out of the chateau down the aisle to Kristian, who stood waiting for me at the end of the aisle together with our children. My mother gave me away and I still get emotional when thinking about that moment.
Our reception was under the trees on an alley leading into the forests of the chateau. Once again, we wanted to let the surroundings speak for themselves. We kept it modern and simple, with tables dressed in white linen with large champagne bowls, decorated with white flowers. We wanted a lazy summer vibe. And obviously, we had more oysters.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
We had Chloe, our wedding planner from Chloe Crouch Events. She helped us so much regarding everything you need to think about when organizing and planning a wedding from scratch. We wanted to select and contact our suppliers ourselves, but after that, Chloe came in and made everything into the perfect wedding weekend. Everything had to be built up from the ground since our whole wedding was outside. There weren’t even toilets. It was like organizing a wedding in a large meadow in the middle of nowhere. Chloe took this on perfectly and our day went extremely smoothly. Regarding wedding aesthetics, we had clear ideas and very much wanted to do the styling ourselves. Chloe really understood our taste and brought us into contact with the best floral designer to achieve that style.
We started out with one flower, dried Lunaria. Kristian’s grandmother always had these in her home and we decided that these aethereal pods would be the main flower for the dinner table. We had a vision of a long white table with crystal chairs, and Lunaria in small, ceramic vases. For our floral arrangements during the pre-wedding drinks, ceremony, and reception, we chose Kristian’s favorite flowers, lilies, and my favorite flowers, peonies and hydrangea, all in white. Our floral designer mixed the flowers with dark, lush green leaves. I still cannot believe how spot-on these floral arrangements were. It was perfect.
“We returned to our wedding location and there it was – the perfect dinner table. I almost feel that dinner was the main event, as it had been our dream for so long to sit at a table together with all of our nearest and dearest, under the stars. Everything was so relaxed and I remember thinking, this is the best night of our lives.”
We wanted our stationery to be minimal chic and found Papel & Co online. They made the most beautiful Save The Dates and Wedding Invitations. The menu cards, place cards, and seating charts were designed by two Dutch parties.
We always feel that small favors get lost during weddings or are left behind. So we choose to make personal thank you gifts after the wedding. Once we received our wedding photos, we printed two or three photos per guest that were taken of them during the wedding. We put the photos In small boxes, together with a personal handwritten thank you note, and sent the boxes by post. It was a lot more work than we initially thought, but it was so nice to do this together and relive every moment of the wedding through our guests’ eyes.
We didn’t really feel like a ‘cake cutting moment’, so we had a Pièce Montée (or croquembouche: a choux tower – a traditional French wedding dessert) for dessert. It was a complete surprise for us how the Pièce Montée would turn out and what flavors had been used since our caterer had it made by a local pâtissier. It turned out amazing. It looked so beautiful and it was extremely delicious. The choux was filled with chocolate, caramel, and pistachio cream, and it was the best dessert we could’ve imagined.
Food & Beverages
We wanted the weekend to be full of oysters, wine, and cheese. We love French cuisine and we really wanted the French classics. So to accompany the welcome drinks on Friday, we had cheese and charcuterie platters, and crudité boards. On Saturday, we had champagne and oysters as the guests arrived (so before the ceremony) at the entrance. After the ceremony, more oysters and champagne, together with various small bites.
Dinner was a sit-down dinner with servers. We really wanted individual dishes, no shared dining, and Kristian really wanted entrecote. The only problem was that there was no kitchen, so preparing these dishes would be difficult. Eventually, we found the best caterer, who prepared everything in an open, outside kitchen. We had ceviche as a starter, followed by grilled entrecote or grilled artichoke. After that, we had a cheese course and for dessert we had our wedding cake – the Pièce Montée.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
I knew from the start I wanted a low neckline, sleeves, and some sort of structured lace. My dress was a custom design from Ersa Atelier, via Bloomfeld Luxury Bridal, and it was everything. The minute Kristian proposed, I knew I wanted to go to Bloomfeld for my wedding dress and it was the most special experience. The dress is so full of handwork, so intricate, with pearls and beading all over in the most amazing pattern. I felt one hundred percent me in that dress. I knew I only wanted one wedding dress, since there is only one day that you wear your wedding dress on, and I wanted to enjoy it as long as possible. On Friday, I wanted to wear my signature color, pink and chose a silk and sequin dress by Sisters the Label – very short with a low back. I wore silver velvet and leather Alexandre Birman knot-tie wedding shoes.
On Friday and Saturday, our children wore outfits by Bonpoint. They wore color on Friday, and on Saturday they were dressed in white linen.
Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories
Kristian and I really wanted the same wedding ring, so we chose rose gold wedding bands. My earrings during the day were from my mother: white gold diamond hoops with a diamond pendant. For the evening, I had large statement earrings in the shape of three stars adorned with crystals and pearls that I found on Vestiaire Collective.
Kristian wore a custom-made Cesare Attolini jacket on Friday, for which he went to Naples to have it made. On Saturday he wore a dark blue custom-made dress suit by SKIKK Tailoring. They also made his black tie outfit: a white smoking jacket with black trousers.
Hair & Makeup
I wanted big, messy hair and I wanted to look like myself, only amplified. Kristian always says that brides sometimes look like somebody else when they get married with make-up that they never use or a hairstyle that they never have. During the day, my make-up was a bronzed look with my hair a bit pulled back In soft curls. I also wanted a big, poofy veil, so I had a double veil and choose to wear it very high on my hair. For the evening, I went for full-on glam with loose, big hair and smokey eyes in golden tones.
Our guests flew in or came by train or car. We had shuttles between all locations, so nobody needed to worry about getting anywhere.
We went to Cap Ferret with our children, as this is the place we always went to when we were still living in Bordeaux. We love the mix of the laid-back atmosphere and French good living.
We did not ask for gifts, as everybody coming to France was the biggest gift of all.
Music is extremely important to me so I had very specific thoughts about the music during our wedding. I knew quite early that I wanted to walk down the aisle on a piano version of Diamonds by Rihanna, as that is one of our songs. We had a live piano player and singer during our ceremony, and he also played Sonate No. 16 in C Major by Mozart, as he is my favorite composer, plus ‘Tous les visages de l’amour’ by Charles Aznavour. I wrote a song for Kristian that I sang during the ceremony. I wanted this to be a surprise and since I had the feeling that Kristian already knew that I would sing something, I added an extra element of surprise by taking secret piano lessons so I could accompany myself on piano.
During dinner, we had I playlist that I created over the year before the wedding. It was a mix of guilty pleasures, pop, soul, 90’s R&B, and party songs, and everything was quite upbeat so we would really get the party started during dinner. After dinner, we had our party in a separate tent. We wanted an energetic transition between dinner and the party, so we had a saxophonist who came in just before dinner ended. He started walking along the table while he played these really upbeat house/saxophone songs and then started walking towards the tent. Everybody followed him and we walked in a huge line toward the tent while dancing to the beat of his songs. Once we were in the tent, our DJ took over.
On of our closest friends was our wedding celebrant and we choose him because we trust him so much and he knows us both so well.
We wrote our own wedding vows and it was one of the most intimate moments for us both to read those to each other. I was so nervous, but people later told us that they were moved by the honesty and authenticity of both our vows. For us, that was one of the biggest compliments we’d ever had.
A memorable moment…
I felt quite tense during the day since I was really nervous about the ceremony and there was still so much going on in my head. That all changed when we went back to Chateau Meyre after the ceremony and reception to freshen up and change our look for the evening. We returned to our wedding location and there it was: the perfect dinner table. I almost feel that dinner was the main event, as it had been our dream for so long to sit at a table together with all of our nearest and dearest, under the stars. Everything was so relaxed and I remember thinking: this is the best night of our lives. I think dinner lasted from 8pm until after midnight and it was everything we hoped for. And then, the most memorable moment, our friends put on the song ‘Les lacs du Connemara’ and everybody got up, stood on their chairs, and started waving their napkins – 60 meters of pure happiness.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
It Is a lot of work to build a wedding from the ground up, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…
Be kind to yourself. A lot of people say don’t stress about the small stuff, but chances are that you will. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you do worry about the best wine glasses or whether the table is two inches too far to the right. Also, surround yourself with people that are close to you. I am so grateful for my best friends and close family that were there for me during preparations and we had so much fun. We truly made memories for a lifetime.
Sources of inspiration…
We were one of the last couples within our group of friends to get married, so we had a lot of weddings over the past years and really knew what we did and did not want for our wedding. We had a few key ideas that were really important to us and we took them from there. We used The Lane and Pinterest to fine tune some of those ideas, but not too much, since we really wanted it to be us, and not a copy of other weddings. We wanted it to feel authentic, to feel the real love and I think we managed to do that.
Wedding Planner / Chloe Crouch Events
Photography / Suegraphy
Videography / Oui et Oui films
Bride’s Dress / Ersa Atelier
Bride’s Shoes / Alexandre Birman
Flower Girls & Page Boys / Bonpoint
Wedding Rings / Gassan Diamonds
Jewelry & Accessories / Vestiaire Collective
Stationery / Papel & Co
Florist / The House of Artz
Cake / Piere Mirgalet
Catering / Les Toques du bassin
Celebrant / Roeland Bloemen
Honeymoon Destination / Cap-Ferret
Transport / Relais de Margaux Hotel Golf & Spa
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