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FAIRYTALE WEDDING OF MY DREAMS

Lily+Nigel|©WitPhotography-126

Our magical day in June


Life has been busy to say the least. It’s almost two years after our wedding, I am a mother of my daughter Yuna Jade now. I wanted to share our beautiful wedding for quite some time, but life happened. Lots has happened. I am finally sharing all the ins and outs of our magical day in Goes. I don’t even know where to start. Luckily, I can relive that day through all these photos and video. 

I am looking back at a perfect day. It really exceeded all my expectations and after reading my story you will understand why. I know it’s very common to feel the stress level rising once closer to the date, but as all couples have experienced in the past years, it was a real rollercoaster of ups and downs due to Covid. 

We got engaged in 2018. Planned the wedding for 2020, which we had to cancel due to COVID. In March 2021 we decided to proceed with the plans to have the wedding in June 2021. 

In only 3 months’ time, we knew it would be a big challenge in these turbulent times, yet we accepted the situation. With the measures changing weekly, we had a plan A to plan F ready to rumble. Honestly, I think I only dared to take this challenge because we hired a wedding planner. I wouldn’t have wanted to call all vendors all the time and be as flexible as possible. I know it wouldn’t be good for my mental health back then. It’s a luxury position really, I know, but it was really worth it, especially with Nigel and me very busy with our work and social life.

Anyhow, we had three months to plan the whole shebang. The big picture was already painted since we canceled the wedding the year before. Still, besides the location, dress, and photographer, we had to find all vendors in a short period of time. 

We did it though! We hired all vendors and the best thing is that they were all very flexible, in case we had to postpone everything again.

I present plan A – F with you next, so you have an idea of what we were dealing with at the time. 
We were soooo lucky that the restrictions were eased down on our wedding day. That was the biggest present the government could give us. It meant we could go ahead with Plan C instead of E or even F. 

PLAN A TO F (due to Covid)

Plan A
This is the pre-covid plan. The very best scenario was that we were able to invite all our 70-day guests and 110 guests in total. We would have a full day together with a ceremony, dinner and a big party at the end. 

Plan B
This was the first plan after Covid hit. Our guest number was reduced to 30. Other than that we had hoped we could still keep the concept of plan A until the end. 

Plan C
Our guest number would be reduced to 30. It would be a half-day event, as there are time restrictions until 10 PM. With this plan, we could have dinner inside at two big tables after the ceremony, but no party at the end. 

Plan D 
Everything was the same as C, but the dinner would be all separated into smaller units for each household. 

Plan E
As the lockdown was stricter than ever, we weren’t allowed to sit inside with a group of people. The ceremony would be safe, as we planned it outside already. We made a plan to have dinner outside on the terrace as well, out in the open, between the other hotel guests, and only until 8 PM.
There were smaller details to take into account here. We had guests who needed a screen to show us a surprise and we also didn’t know where to put the photo booth in this case.

Plan F
Postpone everything.

Arendsslot kasteel Zeeland trouwlocatie

The big day

Okay, and now, let me tell you all about our actual wedding day. How was I feeling? Stressed out about the weather and I was trying my very best to let it go. My biggest dream for this wedding was to have the ceremony outside in the back garden, something I envisioned the moment I visited Arendslot. You understand me when you see all the photos. Nevertheless, the weather forecast said 85% rain for the whole day. 

I tried not to be too bothered by it (In the end, luck was on our side, it didn’t rain a drop!). I was trying to focus on my final task the night before, which was writing my vows. Not sure why I postponed this until the last day, I guess I work better under pressure and all emotions were very raw. This way I only had one version, instead of keep looking and changing the words.

9.30 GET READY PART I
We were staying at Hotel Katoen for two nights. They kindly upgraded our room to the suite so we don’t have to change it the next day. I took a long bath and really tried to get in the zen zone with meditation.

The next morning I woke up there next to my husband-to-be. The hair and make up artist arrived at 9.30. We had an hour to do the first part, mainly curling my hair and the base of the make up. 

12.00 GET READY PART II
At 12.00 we arrived at the location where Nigel said our “say you in a bit” and went to our our seperate rooms to get ready for the big moment. 

Since it was in Covid times and the room wasn’t that big, I decided to get ready only with my make up & hair stylist and my maid of honor. When I realise the weather was still in our favour, I could let it go much more to be more relaxed and enjoy the moment. I expected to be much more nervous, but the relief of the weather made me super grateful and calm again. 

Also, I knew I was in great hands with Mimi for my hair and make up, while Daisy is arranging everything outside that room. I didn’t have to think of anything to worry about anymore. 

For my make up I wanted a glowy glass skin look. And my hair I wanted a classy low bun, with an elegant hair piece on the side.The result  was exactly what I envisioned. A little bit extra than usual, but not too much.

Wedding getting ready bride heels
bride getting ready make up
bride getting ready hair
Wedding getting ready bride

14.00 FIRST LOOK
I didn’t know this was a thing, until our photographer asked me if we’re planning a “first look moment”. Initially, I though Nigel would see me the first time when I walk to the aisle. However, after considering the fact that we could have our own private moment first and that it would relieve a little nerves, we gladly incorporated this in the planning. 

It’s a special moment for the two of us (and surrounded by many cameras). We weren’t nervous, just very curious to see each other, because until that moment, Nigel had no idea what my dress looked like. 

We made it a little bit playful, not too serious and emotional (my make up artist was happy for that after hours of work), and now we were really ready for the moment we were all waiting for!

Wedding First Look moment
Wedding First Look moment bride and groom
Wedding First Look moment bride and groom
Wedding First Look moment bride and groom

14.30 THE CEREMONY
My dad was waiting for me downstairs. He looked so good in his suit and I could see how proud he was. When Nigel and all flower girls and boys were at the aisle, we were waiting for the cue on the music to make the big entrance. I daydreamed about this moment and that moment was finally there. My dad and I weren’t too nervous, we slowly walked down the aisle. I remember to try to see all the faces of the happy guests first, but once I was in the middle, my focus was on Nigel only until I was in his arms again. 

We asked Nigel’s uncle, all the way from Aruba, to officiate the wedding ceremony. We wanted a reliable familiar face, who could make the whole thing more personal and memorable for us. And that he did. 

The most special part to me was the vows. Nigel is not someone with many words. I could tell he really did his best to make his vows special and balanced with funny anecdotes and serious vows and feelings. My favorite part is when he said a sentence at the end in Chinese: (I will love you a little bit more every day). 

Then it was my turn. All this time I thought, I got this. And when I got into the part where I described how lucky I feel with him in my life, I lost it a little. Tears of happiness overwhelmed me. You can hear most of it in the wedding video. It was a vulnerable raw moment of my love for this man that I can finally call my husband after 18 years! 

Wedding flower girls and page boys fairytale pink dress
Fairytale wedding chinese bride and father walk to the isle
Arendsslot outside garden Wedding location The Netherlands
Chinese Bride white dress outside ceremony at a castle in The Netherlands

“I can finally call him my husband after 18 years together”

Wedding ring moment
Wedding ring moment
You may kiss the bride moment wedding

15.00 MINI BREAK
We incorporated a 15 minute break for the two of us, back in the room, right after the ceremony. I can recommend this to every couple. Just to realize what just happened and have a moment to ground again. In the mean time all our guest were escorted to the orangery, waiting for another entrance of us, but this time as husband and wife. 

15.15 CAKE & TOAST
In the beautiful orangerie of Arendsslot we finally could greet our guests. We started with a cake moment, made by our talented friend Kina van Leeuwen-Helm. It was a stunning piece of art and most of all it tasted heavenly. 

Nigel and I always try to throw (birthday)cakes in each others face as a tradition. So when we had to feed each other the first bite, I was thinking that he would do that too (you can see my scared face in the video). Luckily my perfect make-up-face was spared. 
We toasted with champagne and then it was time to give everyone a big hug.

Classy wedding cake
Wedding cake moment
Wedding cake moment
Wedding cake moment

16.00 GROUP PHOTOS & CATCH THE BOUQUET
Due to Covid, we “only” had 30 guests and 4 kids. I kinda missed a few more close family and friends (they followed the ceremony via lifestream), but I have to admit that it was also kind of perfect to celebrate it in this intimate group of loved ones. I really felt like I had the time to enjoy the day with each and every one of them, without feeling overwhelmed. 

It was a good idea of the photographer to make a list for the posed group photos beforehand. This way, our wedding planner could find the right people together for the photos, which was very efficient, saving so much time and chaos. 

We assembled at the front of the castle to make the big group photos. Since we were all there anyway, we decided to throw the bouquet there as well. 
My friend, Aniek, caught the bouquet. The joke is that she is already married ghehe. 

Family and friends group photo wedding
Wedding catch the bouqet

17.00 PHOTOSHOOT
We planned an hour to shoot some photos and video content around the gorgeous castle. A team of 5 (2 photographers, 2 videographers & make up artist) people made us look good in front of the lens. It wasn’t hard at all, surrounded by only professionals (giving tips and directions) and at the same time chill and having fun. The result was even better than in my dreams. I will treasure these content forever!

GUESTS
In the meantime, our guests got some free time until the dinner at an other location. We planned a little itinerary for them in case they wanted to explore Goes a bit.
We gave everyone a map with our favorite hotspots of the town with our own photos. For example, you could find a spot at the harbour where you can take a lovely tourist photo, get a coffee at my favorite coffee place and yummy ice cream. We included vouchers with the maps, so our guests could have a “free” consumption at these hotspots. 

I came up with this idea, when we were brainstorming what we could organise for the guests to do in the two hour gap. As an avid hotspot explorer, I do this for a living. The reason why we chose Goes to have the wedding, is also because I had a press trip years before this (“What to do in Goes”). I thought this little town was so cute that felt like a little holiday, which was exactly what we were looking for. It was fun to receive all the photos of our guest following our customised itinerary.

Wedding shoot by WitPhotography Hashtagbylily
Arendsslot wedding location the netherlands
white peacock wedding location The Netherlands
Wedding photography location Netherlands with white peacock
Bride wedding dress with white peacock

Twinning with the albino peacock on our big day. There is a funny story behind it. At first we wanted to plan our wedding on a small island in Italy, because I fell in love with the albino peacocks there. It was a big surprise to see these elegant creatures on our day, as they weren’t there when we were viewing the venue before. 
It really felt like it was meant to be. They made it extra special and completed the fairytale picture. 

Wedding dress Eva Lendel
Ilse van Es Bloemen atelier Goes wedding bouquet
Lily Tjon Chinese Bride
wedding white doves
wedding white doves Arendsslot location

18.00 CHINESE TEA CEREMONY
From the castle it was only 7 minutes drive back to the hotel, where we also had the dinner. It was perfect, as we could go back to my room to change into our red Chinese tradition wear. Mimi refreshed my make up and did a whole new hair updo which fitted with the dress and accessories.
For us, it was also nice to have 30 minutes to chill a bit, before we went back into the crowd. 

We did part of the tea ceremony already the week before when I was officially married. Because my grandpa and grandma wouldn’t be at this party due to their vulnerability. It was still important to incorporate this part of my culture on this day as well. My family in law are not Chinese, but they were excited to participate in the ceremony as well. In the previous article you find all the traditional Chinese rituals we have done. 

Chinese red wedding dress
Chinese red wedding suit groom
Chinese wedding hair updo bride gold hair pieces
Chinese wedding wear bride and groom
Chinese wedding wear bride and groom couple
Chinese wedding tea ceremony tea set
Chinese wedding tea ceremony
Chinese wedding tea ceremony gold gifts

19.00 DINNER
The chillest part of the day was the dinner. Ilse van Es Bloemenatelier reused all flowers from the castle location in the smartest way. It completed the ambiance of the beautiful dinner location at hotel Katoen. At the end of the party they made small bouquets of all used flowers to give to our guests as a souvenir. Flowers are always a costly wedding investment, but this way we fully made the most of them without wasting it. 

We had a photobooth, which was simultanously the souvenir. I can recommend this for all big parties. I still see these photos hanging on the fridge or in the toilette when I visit my friends and family. Memories memories. 

We finally could sit back and relax at this point to enjoy our company. We got so spoiled with games, speeches and performances. It was all a surprise that made the day so wholesome. This is why we wanted get married, to celebrate our love with all our loved ones. 

I was still high on adrenaline, so I haven’t eaten too much of the food. But everyone really loved the three-course dinner. 

Although I would have loved to have a first dance with my husband and have a swinging party after. I was so grateful with the amount of things we could have done already under the circumstances. It was really the perfect fairytale day of my dreams.

Wedding dinner table setting
Wedding dinner table setting flowers
Wedding dinner bride
wedding photos
Wedding games bride and groom
Funny Wedding games bride and groom
Funny Wedding games bride and groom
Funny Wedding games bride and groom

After movie

The biggest investment of the wedding was probably the videographer. I value photos and videos so much, so we wanted the best of the best. 

Maru Films really delivered what they promised. The video still gives me goosebumps. I wasn’t sure if I should share it at first, because it’s so raw of my emotions. But what an art piece it turned out to be. They captured it exactly how I lived that day, beautiful, pure and happy.

Wit Photography

Special shout out to Renate van Dijk, for capturing all these beautiful moments to remember one of the most special days in my life. 

It was a pleasure to work with a professional as her and her second shooter. 

www.witfoto.nl @Witphotography

Wedding vendors

Venue: @Arendsslot
Photographer: @Witphotography
Videographer: @Marufilms
Make up and hair artist: @Visagiemimi
Wedding cake: @kina.helm
Dress: @Evalendel via @labellablanca.bridal
Chinese dress: Ali Express
Florist: @Ilsevanes_bloemenattelier

Dinner location: @katoengoes
Wedding planner: Daze events (doesn’t exist anymore)

LILY TJON

Lily Tjon Hashtagbylily

Chinese Dutchie sharing her love for Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Lifestyle & Culture. 

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