How are you feeling?
Exhausted but energized, as ambivalent as that might sound. I’m exhausted after more than ten months of extremely broken nights. Luckily, slowly but surely, our nights are getting a little better, and we are going back to feeling ourselves again. At the same time, I feel very energized. Even though not much has changed and we are still living in surreal times, I do feel like it’s coming towards an end. Whether it’s because of the longer spring days, the better nights of sleep, or because I am working on exciting new projects close to my heart, it just feels like it’s the end of the old and the start of the new. I feel energized for what’s to come. And emotional, that I am too. Realizing our baby, Billy, is turning one at the end of this month. I was able to keep him so close for so long, but now he is becoming more and more a little human of his own. It’s scary how slow, but, at the same time, fast time is passing by. It’s the boys who are making me realizing that again and again.
What inspires you most about weddings?
The couples with their own unique love and story never cease to inspire me. I just love people and love love. As cheesy as that might sound. I love getting to know them as two individuals and as a couple in the months of preparations towards the wedding and getting to know their way of thinking and feeling. Individually and together as a couple. Then, seeing them feel all the feelings on their wedding day and enjoying it so intensely is what fuels me every time again. It’s people that inspire me. Always.
This editorial is photographed in a very special chapel. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind this unique space?
I always kept this place a secret instead of sharing it with my wedding couples. I fell in love with it when I saw it and wanted to keep this gem for ourselves, for when we were to marry one day. After two years of keeping this place a secret, it was our day. I was getting ready in the Secret Chapel, and we also spent our wedding night here while 35 weeks pregnant with our first son. In September 2019, I hosted my book launch in the same chapel with an intimate group of beautiful women I love. In December 2019, we spent our second wedding anniversary here while pregnant with our second son. I knew that one day I wanted to bring my boys here too. When the photographer contacted me, and I started brainstorming with the stylist, we knew pretty soon this had to be the place for the shoot.
As a mother, it’s important to take some time out for yourself. How would you recommend mothers, and women in general, do that?
As much as I wish I were the one to recommend other mothers and women, I am still figuring this out myself. I know I want it, and I know I need it, but I am not that good at actually taking that time for myself. It’s a process; I know it will get better at it as soon as they pass one year. It worked the same with my oldest son. At the moment, my work is my me time, and I take the time for a good massage every now and then.
Oh, and I do get better at asking for help. Whether it’s from my husband, grandmothers, sister, or friends, I believe that is one recommendation I can give to other mothers and women. It takes a village.
How would you describe motherhood?
Motherhood brings everything into perspective: the things you are worrying about aren’t really to worry about. As long as our babies are happy and healthy, all is good. Motherhood is one of contradictions. It’s soft but hard. It’s beautiful but ugly. It’s hurdles but painful. It’s easy but difficult. It’s insecure but certain. It’s an emotional ride, but the most heart-warming, loving, and rewarding one. Motherhood is about honesty and feeling all the feelings to grow together with our ever-growing babies.
What was your wedding like?
It was everything: intimate, personal, romantic. On a Wednesday evening in December, on the day we were eleven years together and one year engaged. We started pretty late in the evening, around six. There were only seventeen guests and us two. It was dark, rainy, but cozy inside of another small secret hidden chapel, Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder. A pianist was playing my mother’s favourite song, “She” from Charlez Aznavour, while I was walking down the aisle in her dress. I was holding the arm of my brother and carrying our thirty-five weeks old son in my belly. After the ceremony, we had a short chin-chin moment at the stairs outside before we went to the second venue for the dinner. I remember being completely dazzled by the beautiful table in what used to be the stables of Amsterdam’s last country house, Huize Frankendael. After dinner, I took off my shoes, and we danced in a circle around the table. Not until dawn, but it was perfect. Just perfect.
What advice do you have for women planning their dream wedding?
Always, always follow your own feelings and don’t lose yourself in all the options you will find. Don’t lose the essence out of spite, which is your love—the love you have for each other and the people around you. Also, don’t let others interfere with your wishes and needs. They will all ask, advise, wish, and need something, but this is your day, don’t forget that. And very important, don’t stress. Believe that what’s meant to be will always find a way.
There will always be something that will not go the way you had planned it. That doesn’t mean it goes wrong. It will just go the way it was meant to be all along. It’s the things that go differently that you and the guests will remember. It makes your day unique. It makes your day you.
Are you still working on an upcycled vintage bridal collection?
No, not anymore. That was a one-time collaboration that we showed in September 2019. But never say never, because it is something I strongly believe in—upcycling in the wedding industry. At the moment, though, I am working on two other projects close to my heart. Together with the three sisters from ORO Vintage Jewellery, we are creating a small collection of golden rings. A collection with a beautiful message and a part of the proceeds will be donated to VOW to end child marriage, of which I am a proud ambassador. We will officially launch somewhere at the beginning of May. Together with Annika Noordzij from Wild At Heart Bridal, I am starting an online platform for the bride that wants her wedding to evoke a sense of personality and let this naturally evolve into her unique wedding day. A platform to inspire, but also to guide and teach with our academy and creative directions service.
How has your career been impacted by the global pandemic?
A lot. Ever since we went in lockdown, it has all been about changing dates. Again and again … going from plan A to plan B while working on a plan C and D. I had 14 weddings planned for 2020, and only two took place just before the first lockdown in March. For this year, already five weddings are postponed, eight are still planned for this year, and five did not pick a new date yet. Normally I would already have some weddings scheduled for the next year, but now only two weddings are confirmed for 2022. It’s insecure, but as insecure as it is for me, I feel especially sorry and sad for my wedding couples—for all the wedding couples. The run-up to your wedding should be all about pre-fun and feeling nerves of excitement, not nerves caused by insecurity and ambiguity.
Though, in all honesty, for me personally, the timing of this crazy year somehow was perfect. Maybe a weird thing to say because my business has been down for already a year, but I am not good at taking a step back and now I had to. Time for myself and family was all I had longed for, for a long time—taking it slow for once in my life and taking the time to evaluate, reflect, develop, and just be. Just be without asking anything of myself and feeling the need to succeed in all that I do. Maybe that’s why I feel so energized now. I am energized for what’s to come and the new projects I have wanted to work on for so long and now finally have the time for.
On that subject, how has motherhood been during this time?
Not always easy, but things are sort of back to normal with the boys back to daycare for two days a week. Even though it has not been easy workwise and still isn’t, I do look back at the past months feeling nothing but thankful for my boys and the 24 hours a day spent with them. No one will ever take that away from me. Also, what I wrote in the above question, for a long time, I was hoping to get some time off from work or at least a small step back. So, as weird as it might sound, this pandemic time felt like meant to be. Mid-March, we went in lockdown here in the Netherlands, and at the end of March, my maternity leave officially started. Even though I had imagined my leave to be completely different, it was such a peaceful time at home with just Bond. I was not able to do anything or go anywhere. Just home. Giving my body and mind the rest it needed in preparations of bringing new life to earth. At the end of April, Billy was born, so I really used these past months to get to know Billy, get used to being a mom of two, and not do all too much for the first time in my life.
Describe your dream wedding dress:
I wore my mother’s dress which, to me, is still a dream of a dress. I don’t just have one type of dress that I dream of, but I do love some drama. I truly believe that less is often more for many things. But when it comes to fashion, I more often believe that more is more. And especially with your wedding dress, I think you shouldn’t go for the safe option. It’s your moment to shine, don’t be afraid to stand out, feel strong and feel sexy.
Lastly, who is your Mother Muse?
My forever number one muse is my own mother, who raised three young kids on her own after my father passed away in the most positive, loving, and open way possible.