In May of 2006, Adrienne Becht boarded a plane in Germany, headed to East Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a high school exchange student. She made many friends during her time abroad, but one stood out: Max Bissell. Four and a half years after they first met, Adrienne and Max reconnected and started dating, and six years after that, they were engaged.
With family and friends in Germany, Michigan, and across the globe, they decided to bring their guests somewhere else entirely: Amsterdam. “It’s the city Max and I first lived in together,” Adrienne explains. The bride is an architect, so the next task was finding a fittingly spectacular venue. The couple didn’t want a religious wedding but loved the architecture of Vondel Church—and thankfully, in Amsterdam, you can rent churches for secular events, meaning the couple didn’t have to make any sacrifices. For the reception, the pair wanted to celebrate outdoors, but they knew the weather would be iffy, so again they found the perfect balance: the glass-enclosed courtyard at the National Maritime Museum. They worked with two wedding planners, Weddingbliz in Amsterdam and Michelle Rago Destinations in New York City, to create a clean, simple celebration with soft flowers and accents of marble and copper. The couple also combined German, American, and Dutch traditions to celebrate with 200 guests on June 17, 2017.
Photographed by Liz Banfield, this Amsterdam wedding will have you booking plane tickets ASAP!
“Amsterdam is our favorite city, and we couldn’t wait for our guests to experience it with us,” says Adrienne of her Amsterdam wedding.
Adrienne and her bridesmaids spent the morning getting dolled up in floral-print robes. The bride gifted each of her ‘maids a pair of slide sandals and rosy-hued aviators to wear for the morning.
The bride’s stunning oval-cut engagement ring paired perfectly with silver Jimmy Choo sandals.
The bride’s gown was Vera Wang—with a few twists. “I thought I’d end up with a dress that was more traditional, but when I tried this dress on, my mom, sister, and I all started crying!” Adrienne remembers. The high-necked design was already quite sheer, but she had some of the lining removed from the tulle skirt to create a fashion-forward look.
Inside the church, arrangements of white flowers flanked the altar. The couple exchanged their vows in two languages, with Max saying his in English and Adrienne saying hers back in German.
After the ceremony, guests boarded four boats for cocktail hour, cruising along the canals as they sipped champagne and Heineken. “Max and I jumped from one boat to another to see all of our guests,” says the bride. Quite a feat in a ball gown!
The boats pulled up to the entrance of the National Maritime Museum, where guests headed to the interior courtyard for dinner and dancing. “The design of the space feels like a quaint square somewhere in Europe instead of a museum,” the bride says. “You could grab a drink at any of the bars, then meet in the middle of the square to dance!”
Tables were decorated with a mix of low and high arrangements above light-pink linens. Light-gray linen napkins were edged in copper and embroidered with the couple’s monogram, and copper flatware offset the marble-inspired paper chargers. The menu included grilled scallops, Dutch prawns, and braised beef with a sweet-potato terrine and baked shiitake mushrooms. The bars served gin, Schnapps, and Amsterdam beers. “We also love espresso, so we had a full espresso bar making drinks all night!” Adrienne says.
Instead of a traditional first dance, Adrienne changed into a cocktail dress and joined her new husband, their parents and siblings, and the wedding party on the dance floor for a choreographed dance to “Marry Me,” by Bruno Mars. “The band played until 5 a.m. We left our wedding as the sun was rising!” says the bride.
Ceremony Venue: Vondel Church || Amsterdam Planner: Weddingbliz ||New York City Wedding Planner: Michelle Rago Destinations || Ceremony Venue: Vondel Church || Reception Venue: National Maritime Museum || Officiant: Levensceremonie || Bride’s Dress and Veil: Vera Wang || Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Shiona Franke|| Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Elliatt || Groom’s Attire: Prada || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Samir Shah Manart Fine Jewelry || Floral Design: Koolhaas Concepts || Paper Products: TPD Design House || Catering: Maison Van Den Boer || Entertainment: Strijkensemble, KKCB || Rentals: Koolhaas Concepts || Lights & Sound: Bourgonje||Transportation: Rederij ‘t Smidje || Videography: Bruidbeeld || Photography: Liz Banfield