Lynn and James, who now live in Canada’s Vancouver, met in Belgium. They returned last year to marry in Ypres in a sweetly beautiful and intimate celebration. The morning of the wedding started in a rustic 1850’s farm house,  with the reception taking place in “the Belgian style”: delicious food and partying till the wee hours, all captured by Jelger + Tanja Photographers. We love the couple’s simple yet vital advice on planning a wedding: “This this is the most important thing: you are going to marry the love of your life and everyone is there to celebrate with you.”

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HOW THEY MET

“James and I met in Ypres, Belgium, where James was on a battlefields tour with the British Columbia Regiment. We were in the same pub and immediately connected. Because James did a Europe tour afterwards, he decided to visit me again in Belgium. We continued a long distance relationship for five months (with visits to Belgium and Canada) and after that, I moved with a Working Holiday Visa to Vancouver. After I became a permanent resident, James proposed to me on our favourite viewpoint in Lighthouse Park, West-Vancouver.

DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

We officially married in Vancouver on July 25th 2015 at the British Columbia Regiment in downtown Vancouver. Because not all of my Belgian family and friends could join us, we decided to do a wedding party 2.0 in Ypres, Belgium on October 17th. In Vancouver it was a military wedding, so James wanted to wear his uniform in Belgium too. We went back to Ypres- which is half an hour away from my hometown- and our wedding pictures were also taken in the Flanders Fields (on the Kemmelberg in Kemmel). James and I had our first official date on the Kemmelberg, so this area and Ypres are very special to us. The after party itself was in a suburb of Ypres, called Elverdinge.

THE DETAILS

Because we were already married for three months, we didn’t feel the ceremony “pressure” anymore. Also, everything was arranged for us before our arrival, so we basically could relax and party all day and all night long. We didn’t use a wedding planner- when we booked the venue, we immediately had someone who was in charge of the venue and helped with the planning when needed. Because most of our life is based on travel and adventure, we thought a travel theme would be a fit for the wedding day. Our invitations were boarding passes and we used travel themed decoration. Makes sense because we are also two different nationalities/cultures that got married. We also went for a traditional Belgian style (a vintage car to arrive in, Flemish Schlager music, dancing until the morning light, etc.) The bridesmaids could wear a range of colours (Guava, Coral, Light Pink) and the guys decided to wear blue suits, so this would fit the military uniform.

MOST MEMORABLE

First of all: I am so happy Suere in Bruges made my wedding dress, which meant it was completely unique. Our best decision we made was to go back to Ypres to have our second party. When thinking back about the wedding, we both immediately think about the Flanders Fields. It had been raining for days before the wedding so I asked the bridesmaids to bring their farmers’ boots for the wedding shoot. We had a lot of fun in the fields, even got a little bit dirty.

James also thinks back about the history of the World Wars- this area has a long and famous history and for James wearing his Canadian uniform in the fields meant something special. This is also the area where he was on his battlefields tour, so it brought back some memories for him as well. We also went back for a picture in the pub where we met (Paljas, Ypres). It was a fantastic moment for us, sitting back at the table where we, then three years ago, chatted all night long. The after wedding party was also incredible. We loved that everyone was dancing and was having fun.

ADVICE

Our advice would be to plan a day that YOU want- not what other people would like you to do. We look back at our wedding and say: that was us. Enjoy it as much as possible, don’t freak out when things go wrong, because this is the most important thing: you are going to marry the love of your life and everyone is there to celebrate with you.”

Photography: Jelger + Tanja Photographers | Getting Ready Venue: B & B De Hulst | Reception Venue: De Lissewal | Bride’s Dress: Suère | Bride’s Shoes: Giada | Bride’s Bracelet: Stella & Dot | Bride’s Shoes: Gabrielli | Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal, Yzer Fashion, Sapho, Elena | Hairdresser: Kapsalon Zimina | Make-up: Amaris Izegem | Flowers: L’aturel | DJ: DJ Bartje | Bagpipe Player and Photobooth: Erik De Lombaerts | Stationery: Brenda Alexander- Penelope Fiber | Car Hire: Patrick Moerman

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