What they wrote to me
After a few months and lots of “Wednesday-meetings-at-the-school-gate”, she bit us. Softly, like a tigress lovingly handling her cubs. We called her Rosalie (that’s actually her real name) because we thought it suited her better. But she became “Lieke” along the way. It reminds us of a song every time but that’s ok, she’s kind of a song anyway. She bit, because she discovered our plan to get married after 20 years together. A great happening we originally wanted to keep rather “sec”. But with the passing of the days, our original figments evolved to be more imaginative. It appeared that a lot of ingredients had been stowed in the waiting room while we, no doubt subconsciously, waited for our master chef to whip them up and serve a beautiful multiple-course feast. That’s why she bit. Because that’s what she does! A powerful ‘Liekemotif’ to pull our wagon train appeared at the virtual tracks by the school-gate.
Like cross-pollination we fired a mass of ideas to each other, only to realize with great pleasure that we are oh so compatible. And a little chaotic sometimes, but good chaotic. Notwithstanding that we are complete control freaks, Lieke somehow managed to give this a positive twist. It soon felt easier to hand things over. Mostly because Lieke herself raised the bar to a height worthy of Tia Hellebaut (Belgian Olympic Champion High Jump 2008). To us, it became impossible not to have great expectations for the wedding ceremony. Despite the feeling that we knew her quite well, we were just not sure how she would approach things, nor did we want to. The element of surprise needed to remain intact.
August 13th, THE day of our lives. The Lazarus-chapel magically transformed into a personalized mini-temple. From our lazy theater-chairs it soon felt as our eternal habitat, with all those sweet people there for us, us, us. I never thought that much attention at once could feel semi-comfortable. Lieke seamlessly guided us along a mysterious (to us!) path. One surprise after the other came in our direction. It was obvious she had given it her all, that she had had secret dates with our drafted speakers in the weeks/months before the big day. We got blown away to the point of excess waterworks for the best part of an hour.
Most of us will never know whether they have the potential to be a champion billiards player of a neurosurgeon, just because they never touched a cue or a scalpel. Not Lieke: she found “it”, the incredible luck to be able to use the right skills for the right purpose.
Lieke, thank you for being a fantastic part of our big day. Or how a present can just fall into your lap sometimes. Coincidence? Pointless to meander about it now but how happy were we to entrust all our secret little plans to you. We could name it fantahugealicious.
Els Adriaenssens, Bart Stroobants, married August 13th, 2014
What I can write about them
On August 13th, 1994 Bart and Els share their first kiss. Exactly 20 years later, on August 13th 2014, this exquisite duo shared another kiss and a ring. A very characteristic little chapel served as the decor for their union. Their little boy announced his mother’s arrival with great bravado and signed his name as a witness to their matrimony. A beautiful sight to see, especially for a weak-hearted storyteller such as myself. Secretly I’m still very happy to have dragged those two vintage theater-chairs, from the known Elisabeth Theater in Antwerp, to the little chapel. Great styling, inspired by the fact that a story of 20 years deserves a comfortable chair. Was it the run-down velveteen of the chairs or the people-packed chapel? Was it the unexpected rays of sunlight despite cloud-filled predictions? Was it Bart’s musical surprise for Els? Let’s say the sum of all of the above, was magic. And even though we’d shaped their story for that day together and even created a (crazy) little booklet about it, they were amazed and astonished speaker after speaker...
(just on a little parenthetic note: I make it an issue to offer clear and pragmatic advice to friends and family who are engaged as speakers for the big day, I believe it helps them overcome cold feet. And it adds to the overall quality of the ceremony. Because this costs a lot of time and energy my colleagues warned me to ‘stick to the couple’, as this is economically justifiable. I choose not to. The results are unmistakable and as a bonus I get to know more people.)
Back to August 13th, 2014. The result was unmistakable and magical. Against a backdrop of a picture-filled altar, a sea of gypsophila and hip succulents and all kinds of spells and sayings, 20 years went by. Without any theatrics, but with an abundance of love.
Kim van Semang http://www.kimvansemang.be/
Sebastiaan Blockmans http://www.bastiaanimage.com/
Video: Jurn van Herck
PS. I am not a wedding planner: my heart is 100% in writing and telling stories. I also told the story of Bart & Els in a blogpost. Enjoy the start of “our story together” – click here.