Serena + Mart

How did you meet?

We met at the birthday party of my best friend when we were still in high school. I was 15 and he was 16. I was immediately intrigued by him, but we were both very shy. By the end of the night we worked up the courage to give each other a hug when saying goodbye, the rest is history!

When did you know they were the one? 

When you are dating since 15, you don’t expect to stay together for the rest of your life. But at one moment in time we realised that we cannot picture a life without each other. It took us 18 years before we got married, but feeling of belonging was there for a long time.

What are your three favourite attributes of your partner? 

He is creative, caring, and works very hard. He is a professional musician and travels the world with his band. But he would bring a Tupperware box of food from the backstage back home because he knows I would like the food too. So sweet and thoughtful. We didn’t have a wedding planner and did everything ourselves. Including making spreadsheets with 26 pages, doing our own groceries, and fixing the audio system of the venue. Which was quite challenging considering we are from Amsterdam, the Netherlands and got married in Portugal. He is not just the love of my life, he is also my business partner; someone I can rely on. We can work very well together and I love it that he is supportive of all my weird plans. Like having a glitter station at the party or a pubquiz about the guests!

Who proposed and how? 

I proposed to him after being together for 16 years! We did a house swap in the summer of 2021 to Lisbon, Portugal. My Portuguese colleague stayed for 5 weeks in our house in Amsterdam and we stayed in their lively house in Lisbon. One day was my “break even day”: the day I was longer in a relationship with him than without him in my life. Which is pretty crazy since I was only 31. We booked a very fancy restaurant to celebrate. I didn’t know if he would propose to me… but a some point I figured that I didn’t want to wait. Since it was a last minute decision I didn’t have a lot of time to find a proper ring, so I proposed with a €2 ring from the H&M! That is typically us: we don’t care about the price, it is about the story and what it means to us. He said yes (after saying I was crazy 4 times) and also said that he wanted to propose to me too. Which he did 2 weeks later on a cliff in the Algarve.

Where did you fall in love with your dress and why? 

At Modern Romance in Hilversum, the Netherlands. During my wedding I was wearing Louis Flowy. It is such a beautiful dress!! It is light, yet big. The dress is not too girly or classic. I love the open, low back and the low front. And the best thing: it has pockets! The little flower petals fit very nicely in the Portuguese landscape. The minute I tried on the dress I knew it was the one. Like Harry Potter: you don’t pick the dress, the dress picks you. I felt the dress fits my personality and idea of the wedding: playful, sweet, not too static or formal, floral, sexy, and flowy.

What was the best moment for you at your wedding?

We wanted to get married in Portugal because we love surfing, the food, nature, people, and the culture, but mainly because the weather is better than in the Netherlands. Turned out it was raining all the time! There was such a big storm, we couldn’t even go surfing. However, fortune was on our side: we had just one hour of sun, exactly during our outdoor ceremony. We couldn’t be happier about it! The second we were done with the ceremony it started pouring rain. It is my favourite memory that I looked back while running inside, and seeing all the guests in their beautiful outfits running around with a chair on top of their heads. Chaos! The master of ceremony could save the DJ booth just in time!

What were your favourite details?

I love the fact that we decided to go for a destination wedding were our 50 guests stayed in the same surf house for 3 nights. Because everyone got to know each other really well. It was very special to get out of bed in the morning and to see all your friends sitting hangover at breakfast. To share not just the formal moments, but the real ones too. On the third night we organised a festival, including tickets, line up, glitters, DJ’s, outfits, shots, jellyfish lights, etc. It was lovely to put glitter make-up on my fathers face and see him blend in so well with me friends. At one point he was even leading a dance on the dance floor. I also loved the speeches and to hear the perspective of your friends and family.

What advice would you tell other brides?

Celebrate your love with your friends and family. Take a moment to stand still and reflect on the good parts of life, while you can. If you organise your own wedding, give everyone a little task. Not just to lease some stress. It will help them to feel like they belong and contribute to the wedding, and it is a nice way to mingle with the other guests while doing something practical. Make a very clear and detailed script with different scenarios, so you don’t have to make any decisions in the heat of the moment. Practical tips: get a manicure. I didn’t realise there would be so many pictures taken of my hands. Bring sneakers for the party and for the photoshoot.

Any standout vendors?

Yes, Dream Sea SurfHouse in Portugal! It was their first wedding and they did an amazing job, especially the manager Dinh. I would also like to give a shout-out to the photographers from Una Historia a Dois. Beautiful pictures and very professional, sweet people to have at your wedding.

DRESS: 

Louie Flowy

PHOTOGRAPHER: 

Una Historia a Dois

RETAILER: 

Modern Romance, Hilversum