Every little girl dreams that one day her prince will take her off by carriage to a castle and marry her. But of course these little girls grow up and humdrum reality makes them realize that this is just a fantasy. Or is it?
What if I told you that you can get married in a castle in rural Netherlands…and for way less than what a major hotel in your home town would charge for the same services? With air fares getting cheaper every year the distance doesn’t have to be an obstacle for a small wedding party.
In my case I had the advantage that my Dutch bride’s family all live in Holland so the challenge was to get just myself, Stella (my “Dutchie”) and my daughter, who was doing double duty as the maid-of-honour, to the venue.
Granted that this ceremony was our second as we had been married a few weeks before in Nova Scotia, our place of residence. This was where all the paperwork was done. The major reason for two ceremonies was that both our fathers were in their eighties and travel was problematic, so we simply “brought the mountain to Mohammed” and had weddings in two places so our dads could both attend.
Castle Sterkenburg centers around a 12th Century tower with the rest of the castle having been updated to something straight out of 18th century Vienna. Loaded with antiques, each room was huge and exuded charm. Stella and I were lodged in a suite worthy of Empress Maria Theresa while my daughter was exiled to “the Tower”, not as bad as it sounds as the room was large, quite round and luxuriously appointed in a more Medieval style.
The day of our wedding found us aboard a carriage drawn by two huge black Frisian horses, much to my horse-loving daughters delight. We were greeted with applause by our guests who were scattered on the bridge which crosses the moat.
The ceremony was ably performed by good friend Father Henry, my daughter providing a très romantique version of the Elvis classic, I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. Afterwards a champagne toast, four course dinner and an exchange of toasts and stories.
They say one picture is worth a thousand words. If so the following video is worth a million. Check it out.
If You Go… Castle Sterkenburg
Co-authored by George Burden and Stella van der Lugt
Castle Sterkenburg from the air – courtesy Castle Sterkenburg
All other photos by Stella van der Lugt – All Rights Reserved