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A family-centred wedding at Dennenhof

A family-centred wedding at Dennenhof

Written by Katie Byrne

It was a double celebration for Heidi and Luke...


Heidi Vanbockryck and Luke Evans married on 8 April 2017, with their ceremony held at Chapel Ten Eikenen and the reception at Dennenhof.

Photographer: Dieter Decuypere at Speaking Through Silence

I went travelling in Australia for six months, staying in hostels. I started my Australian adventure in Perth; Luke was working in the mines in Western Australian on a FIFO basis and on his time off he stayed in hostels around Perth. Two days after I arrived in Perth, Luke showed up in the same hostel as where I was staying - the rest is history!

We wanted a relaxed indie-style wedding and decided to include our daughter Stella's baptism in the ceremony. One of my favourite moments was seeing her in the cape that my grandmother made for my mum when she was baptised!

My wedding gown was actually a Christmas gift from Luke, three years before we got married. Around Christmas time 2014 we were doing our Christmas shopping. I tried on my wedding dress, but decided not to buy it because it was pricey and I wouldn’t have many occasions wearing it.

We went on buying another dress, but Luke went back and bought me the Carla Zampatti dress as a Christmas present. At the time of his proposal I hadn’t had a chance to wear the dress yet, so I decided that this dress would become my wedding dress.

Instead of a traditional guest book, we enlarged a photo of our family (Luke, our daughter and me) on canvas and asked people to write messages on it, the idea being a traditional guestbook would rarely be looked at again, but the canvas photo is hanging in our living room and we can enjoy it every day.

For our favours, we filled mini jam jars with popping corn for guests to enjoy after the wedding, with a note attached to each reading 'Thank you for popping by'.

We handmade quite a few details, including our seating chart. At the entry of the evening venue, I put a frame with 2 half hearts. Each half of the heart was a map of the town where Luke and I grew up in.

For our tablecentres, we displayed large jam jars filled with lollies. On the jam jar, I put the table numbers.

I wrote the entire ceremony myself and made the booklet. As the wedding was attended by both my family (Flemish) and my husband’s family (English), I included both languages in the booklet. (Hats off to the priest, who fluently switched between Flemish and English sections!)

My advice for future brides? Delegate everything on the wedding day itself; ask bridesmaids, groomsmen or parents to look after a certain part of the day. Try to divide the day up between different people to keep it manageable for them.

Invest in a good photographer - the pictures are one of the only mementoes of the wedding!

Don't be afraid to ask for advice on how you should time different parts of the day; get a clear idea of how long you'll need for your hair/make-up, photos and so on so you can make sure the day flows smoothly. Make sure you remember to sit down if you can during the ceremony - your feet will thank you!

I have to share the amazing surprise we had when arriving at the venue we'd booked into for our wedding night. I had arranged for us to spend the night in Ter Dolen Castle, in Belgium, whre I used to work when I was at university. I made the booking in early 2015 as our original wedding date was in September 2016; however, owing to health reasons, we had to postpone it to 2017. When we arrived at the venue on 8 April 2017, the owner told me they actually stopped running the B&B side of business, and had moved into the castle with her family. But because we made reservations so long ago and because she knew me from working there, they had all arranged to stay somewhere else for the night - meaning Luke and I had the entire castle to ourselves.(Including the family dog!)

Steal their style...

Wedding dress: Carla Zampatti Groom's suit: Peter Jackson Invitations: Adorn Invitations Ceremony venue: Chapel Ten Eikenen (Zonhoven Belgium) Reception venue: Dennenhof 

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