An Alcohol-Free Summer Gathering with Cake… and a DIY Dip-Dyed Wedding Dress!

Katinka and Andy met on Livejournal in 2008, and after finally meeting in person, it was love at first sight. They were married in May in Belgium and there wedding was themed around the things they love – Toy Story (check out the bride’s shoes!), summer gatherings with friends and cake!

“Whenever we have people over I bake cake and make lemonade”, began the bride. “We just sit and talk the afternoon away, enjoying our food and drinks and we play the occasional game of Kubb. It’s one of the things we love the most, so we just did that for the wedding, but instead of a small group of friends, there were about 70 people!”

“Our wedding was like an afternoon tea/ garden party, without the sandwiches and just more cake. Because cake makes everyone happy and that is exactly what we wanted. There were scones, cakes, homemade lemonades and hot beverages. We didn’t have any beer or wine, only some cider. I don’t drink any alcohol and Andy only ever drinks the occasional cider. We wanted it to be our day, our party. We would never have wine and beer at a party, so we thought, what the heck, why not just get rid of beer and wine for our wedding too?! This saved us a lot of money. The atmosphere was very relaxed. There were people playing lawn games, eating cake, talking, enjoying the sun. Just the kind of party we love.”

The wedding was held at the couple’s dream location, Tombeek Plage in Overijse. “The venue also determined a lot for the look and feel of the wedding. We found it three years ago and fell in love, so we wouldn’t have had our wedding anywhere else. The building was so beautiful with wooden floors and big windows and an unfinished look. The giant garden with big old trees, ponds and a small river, were just magical. It’s such a popular venue that they don’t actually have a waiting list to book your wedding. One day a year they host a lottery where you can go and if you win you can have your wedding there the following year! We did that three years in a row and finally got lucky! It was one of the happiest days of my life, hearing we’d finally get the wedding of our dreams.”

They also decided to ignore as much tradition as possible. “We both kind of hate going to weddings.” Katinka laughed. “We hate all the traditional stuff, we hate dancing, we hate getting home in the middle of the night… So we decided not to do any of it and just do what we love. Andy wasn’t wearing a suit and I dip-dyed my dress. We didn’t have a ceremony car, just drove our own Volvo. The whole party took place in the afternoon, everyone went home around 7pm. We had cake instead of a seated dinner and there was no seating plan. There was no DJ or dance floor and we didn’t do a first dance. We’re both really big music fans though (we go to tons of concerts and festivals every year) so which music would be played was very important to us. We carefully made a playlist in the months before the wedding, including all the songs that have a big significance to us.”

“The one thing I wish I’d known before we started planning was that wedding planners are worth way more than their price! We had been trying to organise our wedding ourselves for three years and it just wouldn’t come together. The moment we hired Hotel Chevalier, everything went so fast and smooth. They really understood what we wanted and were able to get all our suppliers to understand it too. The day was perfect thanks to them. It also made the whole year we worked with them a comfortable and relaxed year. Our caterer cancelled a month before the wedding and we didn’t even find out until our wedding planner had found us a bunch of alternatives who are still available. I wasn’t stressful at all, not even on the day itself. Everything was just perfect and I could be relaxed and happy.”

They did little bits of DIY including all the stationery and favours but the bride’s biggest project was her dress – which she bravely dip-dyed herself! “Orit, the designer of my dress, was kind enough to supply me with some extra fabric to do some tests on because she was so excited by my idea to dip-dye it. For months I was doing tests with different shades of yellow to find the exact colour I wanted. When I had finally found the one I wanted it was the wrong kind of dye and wouldn’t dye the silk so I had to start searching again. By this point it was only a month until the wedding! Luckily enough I quickly found the perfect colour in the right kind of dye. The problem was now that the setup required a lot of height and I wanted to do it outside, however it was raining every day, so I had to wait and wait. Then, ONE WEEK before the wedding it was finally sunny, but very windy, but I just went for it. Andy and me set the whole thing up. We had to improvise and use a lot of big wooden panels to make a wind-free space. I set up the camping stove and pot of dye, took a deep breath and put my dress in. It was exciting because with just one week to go, it was hit or miss, do or die (dye!)”

“It turned out just as I had dreamed and it was probably my favourite part of the entire wedding. I got so many compliments as no one knew what I’d be wearing. Many people had said they didn’t expect me to wear a white dress and it just wouldn’t have been me to wear a wedding dress. I always said I wanted to get married in a coloured dress, but I couldn’t find one I loved.”

“We have zero regrets about our wedding”, she concluded. “It was exactly what we wanted, we didn’t compromise on anything. The weather was perfect and everyone was happy. It was the best day of my life!”