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Destination I Do

A Brilliant Wedding in Belgium

Words by Alicia Clark
Photos courtesy of K. Thompson Photography

As the clock struck midnight on the last day of January in 2008, love was in the air. It sounds like something out of a fairytale; two people meet on New Year’s Eve and end up spending the rest of their lives together. But this is no made up story, this is how Jennifer and Thomas met.

From their meeting to their marriage, Jennifer and Thomas’ love for each other and their friends and family was truly magical. Their destination wedding in Bruges, Belgium was a special affair the 39 attending guests won’t soon forget. After visiting together in 2009, the couple immediately fell in love with the location.

The couple had always wanted a destination wedding where their guests would have the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture, something they took into account when planning group activities.

A few days before the wedding, the bride and groom organized two events their guests could chose from. An afternoon tea hosted by the bride, including a chocolate tasting tour, or a brewery tour and stop at a local pub led by the groom.

The day before the wedding, all of the guests gathered together for a canal tour of Bruges followed by the rehearsal dinner at a quaint restaurant the couple had discovered on a past trip.

With the aid of wedding magazines, a local wedding planner, Internet research and Colin Cowie’s Extraordinary Weddings (click here to read our interview with Colin Cowie), the couple was able to provide their guests with memories to last a lifetime and a wedding a Disney princess would be proud of.

On the big day, the bride her parents and bridesmaids arrived in a horse-drawn carriage at the ceremony site, a 17th century Baroque cathedral.

For the reception, guests were transported in a 1930s vintage bus to De Pottemaecker, a restored 18th century barn situated in the Belgian countryside. While waiting for the wedding party to arrive, guests were served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

After dinner, cake and dessert, the band began playing and guests moved into the dancing area of the barn which included a lounge and bar setup. “I loved the idea of guests not sitting at their dinner table and instead at a bar stool or sofa if they were not dancing, so we incorporated this into our design and layout of the reception location,” the bride said.

For many couples, picking a favorite moment is difficult because so many of them were wonderful. “The entire day was more than we ever could have imagined and certainly one that we will never forget,” the couple said. “But if we had to pick one moment, it was walking into the reception for the first time being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. and seeing how happy and excited our guests were for us.”

Vendors: Photography: K. Thompson Photography, kthompsonphotography.com, Day-of Coordinator: Veerle Polfliet, Double You (W) Consult, w-consult.be, Reception Site: De Pottemaecker, pottemaecker.be, Wedding Gown: Carolina Herrera, carolinaherrera.com/en, Groom’s Attire: Jos. A Bank, josbank.com, Bridesmaids’ Attire: Dolly Pearl, Melinda Gown, dollypearl.com, Invitations/Menus/Programs/All Printed Material: Say Something Designs, saysomethingdesigns.com, Band: Practically Einstein, practicallyeinstein.com

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall2013/Winter 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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