A tale of serendipitous beginnings, Marijke and Jip’s youthful encounter bloomed into a love story that, years later, saw them exchanging vows amidst friends and family on an idyllic estate in Provence.
Between rows of towering sycamore trees, their romance was celebrated at a ceremony set in the driveway of their French villa. Soft, dappled light dripped through the foliage above as guests were serenaded by a symphony of rustling leaves in the summer breeze. Whimsical floral arrangements, rustic wooden furniture, and earthen ceramics were infused throughout this woodland celebration. A warm palette of autumnal notes complemented their garden surrounds, creating the perfect balance of effortless style and botanic beauty.
Sun-drenched, barefoot, and wildly in love, they revelled in the magic of their surroundings, dancing on into the early hours of dawn. Capturing every detail beautifully was photographer Wianda Bongen.
Names / Marijke & Jip
Wedding Date / 10th August 2019
Guest Numbers / 120
How We Met
Jip and I went to the same secondary school. Jip was my good friend Steffie’s brother and she hated the fact that some of her friends fancied him. For a long time, I had to stop myself from thinking about dating Jip…but I never forgot about him. When we both finished school we went on to study in different cities, but we saw each other again in his favorite bar in our hometown and immediately hit it off. We started dating and the rest is history.
We were nervous to eventually tell Steffie, but luckily she was okay with it, more than okay, and we are still great friends.
Our Engagement Story
When we lived in Cape Town for a few months, Jip decided to buy an engagement ring and took it with him on our holiday in Mauritius. He hid it in his soccer socks as this was the last place on earth I would voluntarily look (smart guy). We had a reservation for a special dinner in a cabin on the water and Jip was waiting for the right moment… But the right moment never really came. The next day, we were lying on a beautiful beach when it suddenly starts pouring with rain and we had to run back to the hotel. Laying in bed, I said that I wanted time to stand still in that moment, then Jip fished the ring out of his socks and kneeled down to ask me if I wanted to marry him…it was such a beautiful day.
Marriage To Us Means…
For us, marriage is all about celebrating our love. The fact that you can give a kick-ass party in the South of France with all your friends and family does help.
Looking for locations was quite difficult as most venues don’t give you a lot of freedom when it comes to catering and styling, amongst other things. Jip found a website that rents out Villas in France and came across Mas Loisonville and it was perfect, they gave us all the freedom we hoped for. Because of this, we could celebrate our marriage with our own vendors. Keep in mind, when you’re dealing with people in France it is useful to be able to speak French because they don’t always speak English.
The venue was perfect. We stayed there with our closest friends, family, and our vendors we brought from Holland (around 30 people). It had a beautiful driveway with old trees where we had our ceremony, a patio where we organised the ‘I Do BBQ’ on Friday, and the reception with cake and champagne on Saturday. There was a porch that was perfect for our wedding dinner and another patio with enough space for the bar, band, and dancefloor. On top of that, there was a jacuzzi and heated pool we enjoyed to the fullest, a massive garden where we played games, and a pond with swans. There was enough space and possibilities for all our ideas, and it was already pretty without any styling. In other words, it was everything we ever wanted.
We had breakfast with all our guests in the patio and afterwards I went into hair and makeup with my mom and closest friends. Jip decided to use the time to perfect his vows.
Before we had to change into our outfits, we played a game with his best man and my maid of honour in the garden.
When Jip and his best man, brothers and father went upstairs to change into their suits, one of the masters of ceremony brought Jip’s favourite bottle of whisky and some cigars, a little gift from me to help him relax. He really loved it and enjoyed it to the fullest (luckily most of the whisky was consumed after the ceremony).
My mom and maid of honour helped me get dressed and we had a ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ moment.
Overall Aesthetic / Style
We made a mood board with some images that we really loved. It’s difficult to put a name to it, but to us, the style was fun, spontaneous, and relaxed with a touch of chic.
We originally planned to have our ceremony in the garden next to the pond, but when we arrived at the location and saw the driveway between the two rows of trees leading to the house we immediately changed our minds and decided to have the ceremony there. When the ceremony started, the wind picked up and I still remember the sound of the leaves. The styling team provided the lovely chairs and the florist added beautiful flowers in between the rows of chairs and created an amazing backdrop.
There was a bucket full of ice with drinks and a hand fan on each chair to keep the guests cool. Our masters of ceremony added tissues for the happy tears and some bubbles to blow at the end of the ceremony.
We sat down on a cute little couch instead of two separate chairs as we really liked the idea of being close to each other throughout the ceremony.
After the ceremony, it was time for cake and champagne. Our masters of ceremony added a personal touch to the champagne by adding a picture of us in each glass. There were speeches by my mom and maid of honor, and we took some group pictures on the driveway. I know not everyone likes those, as they are not the most spontaneous photos, but we are very glad we did them. There were also several garlands with pictures of us with all of our guests – all these touches were quite heartwarming.
We met the whole team at work. We shot a wedding story for Engaged Magazine with Wianda (our photographer), Claire (videographer), Robin (stylist) and Judith (florist). We had so much fun, our cheeks literally hurt because we laughed so much. We instantly knew we wanted to work with all of them and when we received the photos and video of that wedding story, we were convinced. We didn’t need to look any further!
The styling company Te leuk Trouwen offered their expertise and took care of all the styling. They brought all the necessary items like chairs, tables, cutlery, plates, and glasses, but also a giant chess set, inflatables for the pool, and a complete bar installation with a big truck from the Netherlands to the South of France.
We really had a say in the styling and they listened, advised, and let us choose between plates, glasses and chairs. We loved the freedom because we could really make it ours.
We didn’t hire a wedding planner as we thought we could do it ourselves. We sometimes looked back on this decision and hated ourselves for it, but in the end, everything turned out well thanks to our friends, family, vendors, and especially our team of masters of ceremony.
Wianda Bongen photographed our wedding. We are in love with her and her work. She’s incredibly sweet, makes everyone feel at ease, and she’s able to capture moments like no one else. She’s completely invisible while taking photos. Really, you don’t hear her camera click or see her in the corner of your eyes, so no moment is ruined or feels staged.
Wianda created something really special and captured our wedding in the most beautiful, pure way. We were blown away when we clicked on the link she sent us after the wedding. I don’t want to spoil it for future couples, but you’ll see she’s a real perfectionist from A to Z. She doesn’t just send you a gallery…it’s breathtaking.
When we saw a video Claire (Blond & Blauw Films) had made, we fell in love with her work. We contacted her immediately and luckily she was still available.
Claire captures the moments that matter. She captured the most emotional and intense moments as well as the fun and spontaneous ones while no one noticed that they were being filmed. It is those real moments and her way of capturing, framing, and editing that makes her work as good as it is.
We could already relive our wedding when we were on our little honeymoon because Claire sent us a preview within a few days and the preview was already so good.
Since the wedding, we have watched the video several times with our friends and family, with just the two of us or sometimes alone and every time we watch it, we get emotional and very happy.
My dress was designed by Edwin Oudshoorn and was entirely made by hand in Amsterdam. The dress is called ‘Evie’ and is a lightweight silk georgette and embroidered tulle gown, combined with layers of soft tulle. The hand-embroidered details, beading, and flowers added an extra touch of romance, but it was edgy and sexy too, with the second and third layer being see-through.
I was so scared that Jip wouldn’t like it, as it’s not a traditional dress and he always said he’s not a big fan of tulle, but he absolutely loved it!
J’Adior Slingback pump by Dior.
I found my shoes while shopping with my maid of honor. We went inside Dior just for fun, but then there they were – the perfect nude colored shoe. Although they were a bit high at 10 cm and a bit expensive, they were completely worth it because I wear them for every special event we have. They also look cool under a pair of jeans and I am happy that I can wear them without getting sore feet.
Our ring carrier Thijmen looked so cute. He was wearing a dark blue pair of shorts with braces and a cute light blue shirt underneath it. He was really looking forward to it and did a great job!
Our rings were by Nadine Kieft Jewelry, we chose gold wedding bands because it looked best with our skin tones. Our wedding rings don’t look the same, but they are made out of the same piece of gold. My wedding ring fits around my engagement ring and Jip’s ring is hammered. An idea that arose because he’s a drummer.
Jewelry / Accessories
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…
The day we officially got married in the town hall of Nijmegen, my mom lent me my grandma’s earrings and she gave me a gold bracelet. It was such a beautiful gift and I was blown away. She asked Nadine Kieft who designed our wedding rings to design a bracelet that would match Jip’s ring and it’s so pretty. I wear it every day.
On our big day, I didn’t wear my grandma’s earrings, because I found a pair by Maison Sabben which were perfect for the dress and my mom agreed.
My best friend lent me her ring and gave me a jewelry box with old and new photos of our adventures together.
I hear you thinking…where’s the blue? Well, they wrapped the gifts in blue wrapping paper, haha!
“We often had to take a few steps back to realise what’s really important.”
Jip wore a dark green custom suit designed by L’Atelier, a cool, modern tailor in Amsterdam. Jip asked me to join him on his first appointment and it was a whole experience. Pascal helped us define what we were looking for and what would look best on Jip. His dad joined him the day his suit was ready for collection and they bought a pair of shoes at Zwartjes Amsterdam, so it was such a special father and son day.
Hair & Makeup
My friend Sina who is a makeup artist did my hair and makeup and I’m so grateful for her. She made me feel really beautiful. I went for loose, wavy hair and a golden makeup look. I have light blue eyes and because of the brown and golden tones, they really popped.
Stationery / Invitations
We designed our save the dates, invitations, welcome notes, menu cards, signs and thank you notes ourselves. We looked for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. Our invitations were printed by Made For Moments and the welcome boards and signs by Te Leuk Trouwen.
Favors / Bonbonnierres
All our guests received a ‘kater kit’ which means a ‘hangover kit’ at their arrival. It’s a bag with water, some tissues for the happy tears, gum, earplugs, and paracetamol.
A year later, all the guests received a letter with a thank you note and photos of the wedding. Every time we visit friends of ours, we see photos of our wedding on their bulletin board, fridge, or even framed, and it’s heartwarming.
Flowers & Bouquets
We chose natural, earthy, and coffee tones and were blown away by Judith Slagter Florist. I really have never seen such beautiful flower arrangements.
Emilie was the only one of the wedding crew that we didn’t know before we went to France. The location recommended her, and we are so happy they did. When we reached out to her, we found out that she was Dutch as well! That made communicating a lot easier.
We found some cakes on Pinterest we really liked and Emilie said she could make them come true. We visited her the week before our wedding as she lives nearby the venue, and she showed us her work and let us taste some of her pies. We couldn’t wait to eat them again at our wedding. They didn’t only look good, but they tasted even better!
She added fresh flowers, figs, and lavender to the cake and you should see the sugar roses she made, just unbelievable.
Food & Beverages
On Friday night we had an ‘I Do BBQ’ which we organised ourselves with help from our friends. On Saturday, all the food was taken care of by Denise and her colleague Chantal. We met Denise, who owns her own catering company, in high school. Her company is called De Keuken van Denise and if you are still looking for a caterer…don’t look further. I promise you, you won’t regret it. We wanted a sit-down dinner with tapas and started with some cheese since we were in France and had fish, meat, and vegan options with loads of vegetables for our main, and some chocolate for dessert.
Denise and Chantal were brilliant. Everyone loved their food, and it was amazing to see that only two people cooked all that food for 60 people.
We went to Bali after we got married officially the year before and it was amazing. We made a few mistakes though, for example, we went to three different places in the first five days. We would recommend staying in one place for at least five days instead. You really need to rest after you get married as it is such an overwhelming experience. After the adrenalin wears off, you’ll be tired for a few days after.
We asked guests to contribute to our trip to Japan and we also received some very special gifts. One was a box with a gift to open every day for one month, another was a box with 12 letters with a surprise each to open every month for a year, and the last was a gift we were only allowed to open after five years!
Ceremony Song ‘Bloom’ by The Paper Kites.
First dance ‘Shake Your Tail Feather’ from the Blues Brothers.
Jip’s dad is in a band and they played at the wedding and were incredible. They made everyone dance! When they finished playing, our friend Basten jumped behind the DJ booth and played until the early morning. Jip and I left our own wedding party around 5 are and the last guests left around 6 am! We still listen to the playlist he made.
When we decided to get married in France we immediately found out it wasn’t going to be easy. Aside from the language barrier, it is almost impossible to get officially married if you aren’t French. This prompted us to have an official wedding in the Netherlands. Once we were officially married, we could ask whoever we wanted to officiate the ceremony in France. For us, this was an easy decision, my friend and Jip’s sister Steffie.
She is brilliant with words and knows both of us very well. Luckily she said yes and felt honored to do it, and she did such a fantastic job. She made us laugh and she made us cry. She compared our love story to famous love stories and guess what, ours won.
We wrote our own vows. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to get our thoughts and feelings on paper and although it was nerve-racking to read them out loud, it made the ceremony even more personal and special. So if you’re unsure about it, I would say go for it, it’s definitely all worth it in the end.
Any Other Special Details
One of Jip’s friends brews beer. Jip asked him to brew a beer that I would love and presented it at our party. Jip even designed the bottle with a picture of the two of us and named the beer, ‘You, me, Oui!’
Jip and I gave my two cousins, who were our masters of ceremony, a little gold pendant with an engraved V as a thank you gift. The V stands for our last name, Versluijs. I have one as well and all three of us wear it every day. We gave Steffie, who married us, a little ring for her pinky finger.
Sources of Inspiration
Since we were one of the first couples to get married in our group of friends, we hadn’t really attended a lot of weddings ourselves. Luckily there’s Pinterest and Instagram. Although it can also make you go completely nuts since there are so many possibilities. We often had to take a few steps back to realise what’s really important.
A Memorable Moment
When the girls jumped up on the wall and started to throw lightning sticks into the crowd while the band was playing; the whole atmosphere, energy of the music, and the people together with the hot air and the night sky made it such a special moment.
If I Could Give Brides to be One Piece of Advice…
Our best advice would be don’t try to create a perfect wedding, but make it your wedding. It’s about the two of you and we think the personal touches are the best part.
I found the majority of magazines, websites, and articles about weddings to be centred on women. For me, this was a bit strange, as marriage is something you do together with your partner. Try to plan the wedding together, and really listen to each other.
It depends on the kind of wedding you have in mind, but we were engaged for about a year and a half and really needed that time to plan our marriage. If you give yourself enough time to organise your wedding, you minimize stress and might even enjoy the whole process.
It probably sounds cheesy, but being surrounded by all your loved ones is the biggest gift of all. You’ll feel so much love so try to enjoy it to the fullest because the day will fly by.
Photographer / Wianda Bongen Photography
Bride’s Dress / Edwin Oudshoorn Atelier
Bride’s Shoes / Dior
Pageboy / Zara
Grooms Formal Wear / L’Atelier
Wedding Rings / Nadine Kieft
Hair & Makeup / Sina Stoelzle
Florist / Judith Slagter Florist
Cake / Tea Time Patisserie
Catering / De Keuken van Denise
Wedding Stylist / Te Leuk Trouwen
Venue / Mas Loisonville
Entertainment / The Willies
Videographer / Blond en Blauw Films
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