Hans & Joke, Ermerstrand, The Netherlands

I am honoured and overwhelmed to share with you the beautiful story of two wonderful people who's wedding I photographed recently, Hans and Joke...

When meeting a couple about to embark on their lives together with the celebration of a wedding, you can only pray that their love will see them through the tough times and that their relationship will stand the test of time. 

Meeting Hans and Joke and being a part of their wedding plans... was very different than any other wedding I've ever been a part of. Their love has already stood the test of time and in their happiness is a beauty that I could only wish for others (including me). 

They met on the 10th of August 1990 at a wedding of Hans' cousin (Jan) who was getting married to Joke's neighbour (Marja). It seems that it was 'Love at first sight' for Hans but Joke... played a little 'harder to get' :)

At the wedding, Joke sat with Marja's family because she didn't know anybody else there. At the end of the evening, Hans came to say his goodbyes to the Wedding Couple (in Dutch tradition you stand in a que and wait your turn to wish the couple your farewell and this way, everyone gets a turn to actually speak with the couple). Hans was standing in the que behind Joke when he suddenly came up to the side of her and asked her if she would like to go out with him some time. This totally caught Joke by surprise and she recalls that she couldn't really see what he looked like as it was getting dark by then and that her answer was quick and short:

"I can't, I'm going on holiday with a girlfriend tonight!". 

Joke explains that she was speaking the truth as she was going away with a friend for a couple of weeks and that Hans did not believe her. Joke told him to contact her in 15 days (but never believed that he would). 

These were the days before Facebook and Whatsapp so if Hans really wanted to get in touch, he had to make an effort as Joke didn't even give him her telephone number! 

Hans told me that he'd been secretly watching Joke all night during the wedding. Her blonde hair and infectious laugh had caught his attention, but he didn't have the guts to walk up to her and speak with her. At the end of the evening, he thought... "if I don't do it now... I'll never see her again!". 

Upon her return from the holiday, Joke went to see her neighbour (Marja's mother) to tell her all about the holiday. Whilst there, her neighbour's telephone rang.... and it was Hans...

Hans was asking for Joke's telephone number.

The neighbour passed the phone to Joke and Joke... gave her number to Hans. They agreed that he would call her that evening. 

Joke explained that Hans was a gentlemen and they spoke on the phone for quite some time before making arrangements to go to the movies together in 'Bonte Wever'. Joke recalls that it was a 'mega recreational complex' with restaurants, bars, movies, bowling etc. They agreed to meet each other at the  'Getouwenbar' after which they'd go to a movie. 

Joke said that she didn't really know what Hans looked liked and she didn't want to walk to the wrong guy at the bar (as it was always filled with singles). So... she went to her neighbour's house to look at photo's and the film of the wedding to try and see what Hans looked like before their date.  

On the night of their date, Joke was so nervous that she stopped her car on the emergency lane on the way there, in order to gather all her courage to actually see the date through. Everything changed the moment she arrived at the bar and saw Hans and she wasn't nervous anymore. Hans said that he too was nervous prior to Joke arriving and when he saw her... she was even more beautiful than he remembered from the wedding. Joke said that they recognised each other immediately and had a great time, from the first moment. 

The film was 'Gremlins 2' and during the whole movie... Joke secretly stared at Hans...

After the movie they went back to the bar and Joke describes the butterflies in her stomach and that there was clearly a spark. Hans explains that he was hoping that Joke would want to have a relationship with him. 

It was meant to be... and only the first date of many! 

They moved in together in February 1994 and almost 24 years after they first met and two sons later... Hans surprised Joke (on Valentine's day of 2015) early in the morning with a HUGE card... displaying the words: 

Will you marry me? 

Again... Hans caught Joke by surprise as she didn't expect this AT ALL but this time... Hans rendered her speechless and he had to ask Joke what her answer was to which she said: 

YES!!! Of course!!! 

Joke said that it took her a while to realise... that they were actually... getting married :)

I asked Hans when it was that he knew... that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Joke? And Hans told me that after only a few months, he knew... that Joke was the love of his life! 

Hans loves riding his Harley, visiting with friends, going for walks and doing work around the house and on his tractors. Joke's friends are incredibly important to her and she loves doing creative workshops. 

Together they love watching films, going to music concerts or going for walks. 

For both, socialising with their friends are very important and they wanted to choose a venue which reflects this. What better venue could there be for Hans and Joke than a Beach Bar? 

Joke and Hans opted for a 'First Look' before their wedding. This gave them a chance to spend some time together before the wedding and have a few photo's taken so that they didn't have to leave their guests again later on. 

Their wedding was at Ermerstrand's Beachbar and the atmosphere was relaxed and fun! They wanted one single location for the ceremony, dinner and party afterwards so that their guests didn't have to go to different locations and they made all the arrangements themselves. 

Joke's dress was from 'Assepoester' in Arnhem and Hans' suit from Schomaker in Emmen. 

All catering was provided by the venue, Bridal Boquet and corsages by Lubberman in Dalen, the music was provided by a Live Band whom Joke and Hans loved, 'De Moeflons' and almost most importantly... the ceremony was conducted by Ria Fenneman from Jullie Moment who beautifully told Hans & Joke's story, based on information gathered from the couple as well as their family and friends. 



When asked what their favourite moment from the wedding was, they said that they loved it all! From the 'First Look' until 0100 hrs the next morning. Celebrating with the people who mean the most to them... was simply wonderful. 

When asked which little details from the day meant the most to them, they explained that the candles which they lit during the ceremony were very special. One was for Hans' Father and the other for Joke's dearest friend, who both were sorely missed on such a special day and whom they know, attended in spirit. 

By their candles burning during the ceremony, it felt to Hans & Joke as if they were actually attending the ceremony with them. 

At the end of the night when all the guests had left... Hans and Joke blew the candles out together. 

When asked about what they were most nervous about, they answered: 


They loved every moment and just... let it happen... 

heir first dance song was 'Aerosmith - I don't want to miss a thing'. 

Their advice to future couples planning their wedding is to enjoy every moment and to ensure that you have a connection with the people you hire for your wedding. You need to trust them and their service so that you can have the peace of mind that all will go well on your day. It will give you peace knowing that the professionals have got it all in hand. 

Hans and Joke wanted to give a special thanks to a few people for making their day extra special: 

  • Twins Hair & Beauty in Dalen. Joke had her hair done for her wedding day and also a trial before the big day. She said it was a wonderful experience! 
  • Angelique - her nail stylist. The day before her wedding, Joke had Gel Nails done with Angelique and the day of her wedding, she received a hand massage and scrub whilst getting her hair done (amazing!). 
  • Jodys Beauty & Visage.  Jody did Joke's make-up for her wedding day (at the hair salon), provided a trial before the big day AND came to the venue on the evening of the wedding to do her make-up for the night time. 
  • Henk Folkers, who made a film of their big day and the couple describe him as 'not even noticing that he was there' and said that they were very happy with his service. 

They described their overall wedding experience as a SUPER WONDERFUL day which they were able to share with their sons (Tom-17 and Max-13), and that they have some priceless memories to cherish forever... 

Here are some photos from their day: 

Thank you for sharing this day with me!