Real Weddings

A Classical Wedding in Venice, Italy

Photography by Alice Mahran

Drawn to the vibrant beauty and romance of Italy, Eva and Daan were married on a tiny island just outside of Venice city.  Inside a small church, the couple exchanged vows under an extravagant ceiling of suspended blooms. 

Ask dusk fell, guests were transported by boat to a historic palace engulfed by crystalline canals. Inside, an opulent reception dinner unfolded spilling with bold classicism and old world romance. 

Capturing every beautiful moment was renowned wedding photographer Alice Mahran. 

Our Story

Names / Eva Harkema & Daan Donders

 Wedding Date / 22nd June, 2019

Guest Numbers / 80


How We Met

We have known each other through mutual friends for years, however we never really engaged. On a boat ride in Amsterdam back in 2012 we really noticed each other for the first time and we talked for hours. A few months later we fell in love and we have been inseparable ever since.


Our Engagement Story

We were on holidays in Amalfi, Italy. We went for dinner in Positano and as we got back to our hotel, Daan proposed to me on the most beautiful terrace overlooking the Amalfi coast. A few moments after the proposal it started pouring with rain (it was the first time since months, what are the odds) and we had to quickly rush back inside. So far for the romance, but we were overjoyed.


Marriage To Us Means…

A celebration of the love we have for each other together with the people that are dearest to us in life.

The Setting


Wedding Location

As we have always loved Italy and it’s beauty, we definitely wanted to get married there. A few years before our wedding, Daan took me to a beautiful hotel in Venice (Kempinski San Clemente Palace) and we said that if we were to get married, this would be the perfect location. The hotel is actually a tiny island close to the city of Venice and the ceremony was held in the small Romanesque style church on the island: Chiesa di San Clemente. After the ceremony we took a boat ride to The Gritti Palace, which is a historic hotel on the Venetian canals with the most beautiful terrace of the city. The reception and wedding dinner were held there.



Classic and romantic, to suit our wedding venue. I wanted a beautiful soft color theme with suiting decoration to give honor to the stunning and traditional location.



I had a ladies lunch with the bridesmaids on my room where we exchanged gifts and got ready. Then my brother came to pick me up to walk me to the aisle. As my father passed away, my brother did the honors. It was such a beautiful and very emotional moment.


Alice Mahran. She truly is such an amazing photographer. The way she captured the beautiful moments and scenery of our wedding weekend is on another level. I am so thankful she was able to be there, as we will look back at the wedding pictures for the rest of our lives.



We worked with The Dreamers, a lovely couple from The Netherlands. Yaël and Hugo worked seamlessly with our photographer to make our wedding video. The photographs and video of our wedding captured the memories we will have forever.

Style Notes


Ceremony Décor

We wanted to create a romantic atmosphere that was beautiful but also timeless. We had a huge hanging floral piece with wisteria, peonies and roses. It matched perfectly with the beauty of the Romanesque church.


Reception Décor

We wanted a very elegant setting to match the Venetian style venue we had chosen. So, we kept the styling similar to the ceremony décor: romantic flowers such as peonies, roses and hydrangeas in white and nude, and lots of candles.

“After the ceremony we took a boat ride to The Gritti Palace, which is a historic hotel on the Venetian canals with the most beautiful terrace of the city.”

Wedding Planner & Stylist

House of Luce: Lucette and her team specialize in weddings in Italy and they really helped us realizing our Italian dream wedding. Lucette is such a warm and wonderful person and she really listened to our needs and wishes. Planning your wedding is a very personal experience, so it is really important you have that connection with your wedding planner.



I wanted the flowers to be classical and timeless. We also incorporated peonies, Eva’s father’s (who passed away) favorite flowers.


Geeske from La Lettre Kalligrafie made the most beautiful stationery for us. Her creativity and craftsmanship are very special.



For our wedding favors we had a welcome pack with Italian favors placed on the rooms of the guests.



Our wedding cake was a simple “naked” cake with summer fruits on top.


Food & Beverages

We had a formal sit down dinner at The Gritti Palace, a very classical Venetian venue.

Fashion & Beauty Notes


Bride’s Dress & Shoes

I wore a Galia Lahav custom designed dress. It was an open back design with all over hand embroidered lace. During the day I wore an overlay silk skirt and veil with matching hand embroidery, which I took off after the ceremony. My wedding shoes were custom made Jimmy Choo in cream silk.


Bridesmaids’ Dresses

The bridesmaids wore sand colored mermaid dresses, combined with floral head pieces.


Wedding Rings

My engagement ring is a platinum ring with diamonds and a white brilliant cut diamond. My wedding band is a matching thin ring layered with diamonds.


Jewelry / Accessories

I wore my mother’s diamond earrings.



The groomsmen wore their own black tuxedos and shoes.


Hair & Makeup

I wore my hair in soft curls with my veil on top. I kept my makeup natural with neutral tones and glowing skin.

The Details



We made our way through Venice with Italian Riva-style boats.



We wanted to stay in Italy for our honeymoon, so we went on a road trip through Tuscany. Our favorite place was Borgo Santo Pietro, the most beautiful hotel overlooking the Tuscan hills.


Gift Registry

Our gift registry was Hermès and we received the beautiful tableware “Bleu d’Ailleurs”.



Pauline Suidgeest was our celebrant. Lucette from House of Luce referred us to Pauline, and it was a perfect match. Pauline is such a warm and enthusiastic person; she really made our ceremony so much more personal and special.


Our Advice


A memorable moment…

The moment I walked down the aisle and saw Daan. It was so beautiful and emotional, it’s a moment I will never ever forget.


One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

You can never plan every detail and moment of the wedding, there will always be something you didn’t prepare for. So just let it go and enjoy, it will all be OK in the end.


If I could give other brides to be one piece of advice…

If your budget allows it, work with a wedding planner. Enjoy the wedding preparations and every moment of your wedding day, as it goes by so quickly. Also, invest in a good photographer and videographer, as they will capture the memories for years to come.


Sources of inspiration…

I got so much inspiration through Pinterest & Instagram, and also it was helpful that our wedding planner had a lot of experience and content to show us.


Our Contacts


Wedding Venue /  Kempinski San Clemente  

Wedding Planner / House of Luce

Photography / Alice Mahran

Videography /  The Dreamers

Bride’s Dress /  Galia Lahav

Bride’s Shoes /  Jimmy Choo

Bridesmaid’s Dresses / Custom made

Bridesmaid’s Shoes /  Bridesmaids’ own

Groom’s Formal Wear / Groom’s own

Wedding Rings /  Gassan Diamonds

Hair /  Mitzy Malu Mudde

Makeup /  Mitzy Malu Mudde

Stationery /  La Lettre Kalligrafie

Florist /  Munaretto Flowers

Cake /  The Gritti Palace

Catering /  The Gritti Palace

Celebrant /  Pauline Suidgeest

Honeymoon Destination Tuscany

Entertainment /   The Three Waiters

Transport / via Kempinski San Clemente



Find our handpicked edit of Venues from around the world on the Directory.