Tina & Nico's relaxed family wedding in a castle

Updated Oct 12 2015
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Photos by Jens Mollenvanger and Joris Casaer
The offbeat bride: Tina, Household CEO (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Nico, Web Developer and Javascript ninja

Location & date of wedding: Kasteel Van Brasschaet in Antwerp, Belgium –- June 26, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was small, less than sixty guests. Most of my family and friends are in Australia, so it was easy to kept the guest list down to close family and friends. IMG_6691

We had our legal wedding in May (a month before the castle wedding), which meant we were free to do what ever we liked; we decided to write our own ceremony and asked our fathers to officiate.

We made prize ribbon rosettes as place cards for all our guests, which they wore for the reception.

We didn't have a wedding party, just our families who each had a role to play in the ceremony. I have a group of close girlfriends and sisters who traveled over for the wedding; I called them my bride-slaves because they worked very hard to help pull all the DIY projects together at the last minute.

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Yay flags!
And of course we had the Offbeat Bride inspired "Yay" flags. 🙂

Tell us about the ceremony: We got legally married a month before our wedding, so we were free to do whatever we liked with our ceremony. We threw around a few ideas and decided on a ceremony that would involve our families because we know we will always be half a world away from them. We used Irish wedding vows that we found online because they spoke to us. IMG_6686

Our fathers conducted the ceremony, our elder sisters were asked to vouch for us as individuals and our mothers were asked for their blessing in this marriage. My younger sister did a reading from Dr. Seuss "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" We kept the ceremony very short (ten minutes max) and focused on the vows and ring exchange.

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Table decorations were vintage family photos

Our biggest challenge: I read too many inspiring wedding blogs. I had lots of ideas, but I fell into the trap of dreaming too much and not acting enough on the ideas. I had only just begun my DIY in the weeks before my wedding and was becoming overwhelmed. I was lucky enough to have kept a journal of my ideas and to have a wonderful sister, who in the week before my wedding turned the scribbles and sketches into reality. It's a good idea to communicate your ideas to people who can help you realize your dreams. IMG_6497

We were also very lucky to have the help of one of my husband's good friends who, at the last minute, set up a photo booth for us at the reception.

My favorite moment: For me the most meaningful parts happened before the wedding even took place. I hadn't seen my family for more than a year before the wedding. Spending time with my family and my husband's family together was really special for us.

My brother in-law gave a very touching speech. Nico and I met when his best mate and my sister got married. I was a bridesmaid and Nico was the best man. Which means his best mate is now his brother and that was the premise of the speech.

And the last dance, Nico and I were jumping around like maniacs inside a circle of family and friends, all shouting the lyrics to Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer." Apparently, it is a tradition amongst our friends in Australia, to end a wedding with a sing/dance along to this song. Great fun!

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Donkey ring cushion!

My funniest moment: The funniest moment was probably during our legal wedding ceremony when the officiant, after explaining the gravity of the decision we were about to make said "now, think carefully about it, I'll give you ten minutes to consider." My husband and I both burst out "MINUTES!?!" He meant to say seconds, but we both had to laugh imagining how awkward it'd be to sit there for ten minutes.
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My advice for offbeat brides: If you are a bit of a daydreamer, like me, you'll have plenty of good ideas of how you'd like your wedding to be. Just remember that if you don't act on these ideas they'll remain in your head.

I know everyone says it but it really is valuable advice, don't sweat the small stuff!

Don't be too proud to accept help.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. That is a beautiful wedding!!! Congrats!!

    I had the same issue with too much dreaming and no action. I had to take a moment and vision my day and simple write down everything I saw there. A lot of things are great ideas but some where not meant for my day. I am glad you worked it all out too. Nothing like feeling like you are trapped by your own ideas!!!

  2. Ha! I LOVE the first photo of the bride brushing her teeth! It's fantastic. And that cake is mind-blowingly awesome. Lovely wedding, beautiful couple! Congrats!!

  3. I've been planning on making our marriage legal just prior to the real ceremony and wedding day as well (maybe a week to a few days in advance). My vision was to be able to have our ceremony exactly how we wanted- very personal and intimate with just our family and no stranger as our officiant. But when I explained to my mom and dad and my moms entire family, they feel that I'm betraying them and wasting their time for coming to a fake wedding after we're already legally married. In the end, my parents refused to walk me down a fake aisle to give me away when I'm already "away." I was utterly shocked because my parents are not traditional in any way. They got married at the courthouse and had a party 25 years ago. But basically my mom's point is that she doesn't want the same for me. Did you have the same conflict? And do you have any advice? Love your wedding btw!

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