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A Dutch wedding ceremony: 10 steps to the perfect order of events

Posted by Clover Jean on Wednesday 28th February 2018
A Dutch wedding ceremony: 10 steps to the perfect order of events

Good news. You’re getting married in the Netherlands. Congratulations! You will love the Dutch wedding ceremony. But first, before you plunge into the planning, let’s think about the order of events. In case you don’t know, there is a format you must follow. A wedding ceremony in Holland is a little different to an English one. How? The celebrant will pronounce that you are man and wife before the first kiss. Whereas, at an English wedding, that announcement is made at the end of the ceremony.

Another thing, exchanging of the rings happens immediately after you say, “yes, I do”. 

Once you know the rules and regulations of a Dutch wedding, you’re set to go. I’ll walk you through the whole process…

The authorities have a policy that bans non-Dutch citizens from officially marrying in Holland. Here’s what you need to do – first, get your wedding paperwork at your local register office. And then, with two witnesses present, obtain your license legally, prior to booking the big celebrations. You probably have some questions about the Dutch wedding outline of events, right?

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What will your ceremony be like?

The wedding ceremony is a combination of your promises, trust and friendship between each other. In other words, it’s a personal statement of your love, demonstrated publicly. What’s more, your hand-picked guests will feel like part of who you are and will happily celebrate your unity. In a nutshell, you’re creating cherished memories to last a lifetime, for you and for them.

How long will the Dutch wedding ceremony last?

Primarily, your wedding is the highlight of your trip to Holland. And, depending on which of the 10 key steps you choose (see below), your wedding ceremony will range from between 20 - 45 minutes.

What are the possibilities for wedding ceremony music?

In fact, music is a wonderful ambiance enhancer. Needless to say, you can symbolize the significant transition of your life with live ceremonial music. It will mark the milestone and make the day magical and memorable for everyone. Have a chat with your celebrant to find out more.

Dutch wedding ceremony

What will happen on the day?

Let’s dive in and look at the 10 steps for your perfect Dutch wedding ceremony…

1. Your arrival: The first impact will be your entrance. All eyes will be on you, lovingly of course. You can walk up the aisle (individually, together or escorted). Just imagine also, your favorite processional (instrumental) songs accompanying you. Or not. It’s your choice. Afterwards, you may stand or be seated.

2. The introduction: Secondly, the celebrant naturally mixes and mingles with you and your guests. This includes greeting and welcoming your close family and selected friends to the venue, on your behalf. In addition, they also mention any absent loved ones who can’t be part of the special occasion.

3. Words about love and friendship: Thirdly, the celebrant will gladly recite love poems, a prayer, give a blessing, or read a non-religious scripture. If you would like a wedding reading from the bible, this can be done on request. Please contact your celebrant directly to discuss the verses.

4. The meaning of marriage: This is where you get to showcase your personalized ceremony speech and story. Let your creative juices flow when writing it. Make sure to include important details such as your unconditional love for each other, shared values and future hopes.

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5. Wedding vows - yes, I do: Now you’re ready for another heart-felt declaration – your wedding vows. Use it to tell about your deep love for each other and stress your devotion and intentions towards your future spouse. As well, family and friends can also say, "we do" during this moment of confirmation.

6. Your confirmation: This is the exciting part. The celebrant pronounces that you are rightfully married and declares that you are now husband and wife.

7. Rings, hand-fasting or other tokens of love: Ready for the next cool part? It’s time to exchange rings, hold a hand-fasting ceremony, blending of sands ritual, unity candle or give another token of your love.

8. The kiss: The romantic moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here – the first kiss. Unlike any other kiss, this seals the ceremony of love and confirms the joining of two unique families. Afterwards, you and your witnesses sign a wedding certificate. That sanctions your symbolic marriage in Holland. To create an incredible atmosphere, include live music performance or play a track to accompany the proceedings.

9. The words of well-wishes: You will receive your symbolic marriage certificate by standing. Following on from that, there’s a reading of inspirational words of wisdom for a wonderful marriage. And, to top it off, the celebrant gives a parting speech, making your wedding complete.

10. Closing remarks and departure: Finally, you leave the venue and walk down the aisle together, now happy newlyweds. Your loved ones follow, as you walk or dance along to your recessional song (this can be played or sung live.)

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 Important note: The outlines above are examples of a Dutch wedding ceremony. However, you decide on the order of events according to your wishes and expectations. It’s your call to plan a wedding ceremony the way you like it.

So, are you excited about having a Dutch wedding ceremony? Don’t wait.

Contact your local authority today and get your paperwork sorted.

Good luck with all the wedding preparations.

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Clover Jean is an English wedding celebrant (officiant), entertainer and singer who lives and works in Holland. She specializes in destination weddings and conducts bespoke and stylish symbolic marriage ceremonies all over Europe.

View Clover's profile

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