With ten minutes until our anniversary was over, we found ourselves on Île Saint-Louis, and I remember the thought crossing my mind that life isn’t perfect and planned, and that’s what makes it exciting. So, with Maddie sitting on the wall above the Siene, I read her the poem I had written, with the closing lines being “will you marry me”.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
M.H: I think our mutual love for adventure has meant we’re always finding ways to have fun together and keep life interesting. We both properly experienced the big world in 2013 when we did exchanges through university, Theo to Milan in Italy, and me to Brighton in the UK. Ever since then, we knew we wanted to head back to Europe, so in 2018 we packed our bags and after 4 months of travel, we decided to stay in Amsterdam. It was definitely not smooth sailing but we made it work, and ended up buying an apartment here. It won’t be home forever as we’re often wondering what next!
Aside from always planning for the next adventure, I’m the Head of Marketing for a Dutch handbag
company, and I love working with such an International team. In my spare time, I used to do our wedding planning! Which has now been replaced with Dutch lessons.
TdM: Ever since we’ve been hooked and spent as much time as we could exploring new countries, cities, and cultures. I work in a creative studio and write in my spare time, with my first book, Saga: A Clash of Jarls, coming out in early 2023. Other than this, we love spending time with friends and family, and hanging out together drinking coffee or beer at our favourite Amsterdam bars and cafes.
Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
TdM: I’m not much of a planner, but I had known for a while that I wanted to marry Maddie, and there
was something satisfyingly symmetrical about getting engaged ten years after we first started dating.
Living in Amsterdam, there are a wealth of beautiful places we could have gone for a long weekend,
and I began exploring options like Venice and Rome where I could surprise her by planning something. What I forgot to factor in is that Maddie is the planner. I can still remember coming home from work one day to the suggestion that we go to Paris to celebrate our anniversary. I didn’t want to give anything away, so agreed with the idea. It was touch and go with Covid, but we made it work and I spent time looking for non-stereotypical places we could go, that I could propose.
After some research, I found Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. After walking to the park, by way of a wonderful bakery and wine shop, we arrived, but everything went wrong. First, there were children playing around us at the first spot I had picked out, then ravens everywhere at the second. When we finally found a lovely spot by the pond, a bride and groom came and took their wedding photos right behind us and I realised that Parc des Buttes-Chaumont wasn’t going to be our place after all. I had booked a beautiful restaurant for us with a seven-course dinner and wine and I got it in my mind that we could sneak around the back of Notre-Dame de Paris and have the view of the Siene to ourselves, and that I could propose there, as it was all blocked off for repairs. However, Maddie wasn’t all that excited at the idea of an evening walk. We did walk a fair way, but not far enough to reach Île de la Cité. With ten minutes until our anniversary was over, we found ourselves on Île Saint-Louis, and I remember the thought crossing my mind that life isn’t perfect and planned, and that’s what makes it exciting. So, with Maddie sitting on the wall above the Siene, I read her the poem I had written, with the closing lines being “will you marry me”.
Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
M.H. Italy holds some special memories for both Theo and I, and after a little research, we had our hearts set on Abbey San Galgano. We wanted to keep things simple and not overly curated. We wanted to look back on our photos in 50 years and not regret our outfit or hairstyle choices! I think the venue and location itself inspired the mood of our wedding, simple and refined with a little colour bringing in the warm tones of Tuscany. I didn’t want a too rustic or overly decadent style wedding which I think can often be the case in Italy; We found a happy medium.
TdM: Italy was always the top location for us. It’s always held a special place in both our hearts, and we
wanted to share that love with our friends and family. We didn’t want anything over the top; I kept
saying I didn’t want a circus wedding. If we could find it, and we did at Abbazia de San Galgano, we also wanted somewhere that we could visit again in the future, maybe with a family of our own.
Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?
M.H. When planning an Italian summer wedding, you know that it’s going to be hot, but nothing could have prepared us for our 36oC wedding day. Some of our guests even bought sweat towels to the ceremony because the chairs were directly in the sun! My poor bouquet was already drooping heading down the aisle.
TdM: The translator. We had trouble finding someone who could translate the ceremony for us, which was conducted by the local Mayor in Italian. Thankfully, Maddie found a friend of a friend who was happy to help us. In the event, he wasn’t able to translate everything for us, but the mayor had such a wonderful character and personality, that the interchange between the two of them made the day all that more entertaining.
Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?
M.H.: I’ve always loved shoes so it was no surprise that this was my first wedding purchase. I found them on sale and I just figured I would find a dress to match the shoes. Even pre engagement I’d always loved the idea of a timeless silhouette. In the Netherlands, getting married is as common as you would think, so I was restricted by my wedding dress shop options. This was also between 2020 – 2021 so finding a dress outside of the Netherlands was not an option as I didn’t want to take the risk. My dress was actually the first I tried on in the last store we visited. I had two friends with me who teared up when I put it on, which really made it feel like the one. All my bridesmaids and my mum were in New Zealand at the time, so none of them actually saw my dress until the actual day. The morning of the wedding was such a special moment; all of them seeing me in my dress for the first time.
TdM: Over all, I wanted something classic and timeless that I wouldn’t look back at one day and wonder
what I was thinking. However, one thing that was unique in the look were my cufflinks. In 2020 my grandfather passed away, and due to Covid, I was unable to get home to New Zealand to say goodbye. My brother, who was also one of my best men, was left a pair of golden cufflinks when he passed
away. He knew how upset I was to not be there at the end, and so had them repaired and polished and gave them to me as a wedding gift, and I wore them on the day.
Ceremony location: Abbazia San Galgano (organised via the Agriturismo), @abbazia_san_galgano / Reception location: Agriturismo San Galgano, @sangalganoagriturismo / Photographer: Céline Chhuon, @celine_chhuon_photography / Videographer: Pablo Figlia, @pablofiglia / Celebrant: Legally, the marriage in Italy has to be performed by the town mayor / Entertainment: Dolce Beats / Planner: No wedding planner. The venue, San Galgano Agriturismo was amazing, particularly Niko who helped us with everything / Flora: Puscina Flowers, @puscinaflowers / Catering + Beverages: All provided by the restaurant at the venue San Galgano Agriturismo / Cake: Dolci Passioni di Elisa Gjini, @dolcipassioni_di_elisagjini / Stationery: We used The Knot (With so much information, it was best to provide it digitally) / Registry: Contribution to artwork (custom piece) made by Colette Vermeulen / Bride’s Dress & Veil: Alexandra Grecco, @alexandragrecco purchased from Wild At Heart Bridal, @wildatheartbridal / Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren, @ralphlauren / Groom’s shirt & bow tie: Profuomo, @profuomo / Ring/s: Lyppens Amsterdam, @lyppens_amsterdam / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo (Mair 90 Leather Pumps), @jimmychoo / Groom’s Shoes: Hugo Boss, @boss / Earrings: Ella Palm, @ellapalmlondon / Hair + Makeup: Alena from Bezal Makeup, @bezal_makeup / Fragrance: Jo Malone, @jomalonelondon / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dissh, @dissh / Bridesmaids’ Shoes: Castañer, @castanerofficial / Groomsmen’s Jacket & Shirt: Country Road, @countryroad / Groomsmen’s Trousers: Ralph Lauren, @ralphlauren