Coen & Ilona - Omni Mobilae, The Netherlands

Coen & Ilona love travelling and adventure and more than anything, enjoying life together. Ilona describes Coen as positive, confident, disciplined, fit and organised. She sees herself as a realist who loves to binge on Netflix and in support of Coen, dares to step outside her comfort zone. They balance each other out, expand their own boundaries together and most importantly… grow together. I see Coen as the calm that keeps Ilona grounded and Ilona as the little voice that encourages Coen and keeps him focussed. Together, they make a great team, love listening to music together and laugh a lot!

This is their story:

On the 21st of September 2008, Coen & Ilona officially became a couple. Their journey however, started in 2005, they just didn’t know it back then…

Zwolle Loveshoot

They knew about each other whilst at the same Student Union (Oikos Nomos, Zwolle). In 2005, Ilona was a mentor and Coen a freshman, but they never had much contact during this time. They were also both in other relationships which then came to an end around the same time, in the summer of 2007.

Ilona explains that she went out quite often during that summer. One night, whilst at the ‘Het Vliegend Paard’, Coen and his friends were there too and Ilona told a friend of hers that she’d loved to kiss Coen :)

Unfortunately, after this night, life had other plans and Coen left for Curacao on an internship. He was away for 6 months... Ilona also went away to Sweden, which meant that they did not see each other or have any contact for about a year in total.

Towards the end of the summer in 2008, the ‘GRAS week’ (student introduction week) started in Zwolle and both Coen & Ilona were mentors to the new students and had mutual friends in the Student Union (Laurens & Marieke) who were a couple, so their paths started crossing… Ilona and Coen were mentors in different groups which got added together to make up the numbers and then… (I was told) the sparks flew!!!

Halfway through the ‘GRAS week’ Ilona felt that there was something between her and Coen. By the time the weekend broke, Ilona was with her friends when she received a text message from Coen. Whilst Ilona was both excited and surprised by this, her friends were not surprised at all. They all said that they could tell that Coen like her too :)

Zwolle Loveshoot

They started messaging each other more often and ended up at the bar together on the evenings that they had socials. They had discussed having a date to the ‘Rijksmuseum’ together, but still… Coen did not formally ask Ilona out.

Ilona now shared her concerns with a friend, when the friend asked her why SHE did not just ask HIM out? So… the next day… Ilona sent Coen a text message saying:

When are you finally planning to ask me out?

Less than 5 minutes later… she received a message back asking if she’d like to go to the movies :)

It was on a Thursday night that they had their first date to the movies and were both quite nervous about it. On their way to the theatre, they walked past a pub called ‘Cafe de Gezelligheid’, forgetting that another Union had a social there on that evening. Once they passed the pub, the word about them being out together was out! As the biggest gossip of the Union had seen them and they knew that he would be telling EVERYONE! :)

After a month of dating and on the 21st of September 2008, Ilona asked Coen outright, what their relationship meant to him. This is when Coen asked Ilona to officially become his girlfriend.

They were now officially a couple and also still ended up going to the Rijksmuseum, as they had discussed :)

Zwolle loveshoot

On the 31st of December of 2017, they were in Sydney, Australia, enjoying the celebrations at Harbour Bridge with friends of theirs, Gaby and Ray. Ilona and Ray had started the ‘countdown’ to midnight, when Coen turned to Gaby and asked her to film him with his phone. Even though, only seconds away from midnight, Gaby started filming him without question!

Coen got Ilona’s attention, told her how he felt about her and then… went down on one knee with the fireworks going off in the background. Ilona was so overwhelmed that she said ‘no’ in disbelief… but when Coen asked her:

Do you want to marry me?

Ilona answered with an overwhelming ‘YES!!!!!’

Wow… What a perfectly timed proposal with all the fireworks… in a beautiful location and with friends present! Well done Coen!!!

Ilona said that the day after Coen proposed, she had a feeling of total peace, it was like a world of worries had been lifted from her shoulders :)

After some careful planning and whilst conducting a house move between Amsterdam and Zwolle during the final weeks before their wedding, Coen & Ilona were married on the 8th of June 2019 at the beautiful Omni Mobilae, Heino.


They had hoped for a personal forest wedding experience, but unfortunately the weather had other plans… So instead, we all got to witness the magical atmosphere of fairy-lights hanging from trees inside a barn-like location with beautiful decor and loads of candles. Both their wedding and reception was at Omni Mobilae and their catering was done by ‘Pop-up Paella’.

Omni Mobilae
Omni Mobilae

I asked Coen & Ilona what they were most nervous about on their day, and they said it was for the ‘First Look’ and saying their vows to each other.

First Look Zwolle

Ilona was worried about her make-up as she knew that she would be emotional… but Marlon, Ilona’s make-up artist, did an amazing job as her make-up stayed perfect all day!

Omni Mobilae

They also explained that during their vows, they were only focussed on each other and that because of this, they ended up not being nervous at all.

When I asked Coen & Ilona what their favourite part of the wedding was, they said: 

Saying our vows to each other.


An amazing party where EVERYONE was dancing!!!

Omni Mobilae

The whole day was filled with love and laughter and shared by friends and family who came from all over to join in their celebration.

Coen and Ilona wants to extend a special thanks to the sisters of Coen (Rian Huijsmans & Danielle de Jager), who were their ‘masters of ceremony’ and who ensured the whole day ran smoothly! It would not have been possible without all the help from these two :)

Omni Mobilae

They also wanted to thank Jaap, their wonderful officiant who is also the cousin of Ilona. He conducted the ceremony (one of their most precious moments of the day) in such a personal and heartwarming manner, that the moment will for ever be memorable and Coen & Ilona believe that this is mostly thanks to Jaap!

Ilona explained to me that their wedding, was the first that Jaap officiated! She told me that he did not normally do weddings, but that because of his great sense of humour and his wonderful way with words… they asked him as they felt that he would be perfect for them. When they asked him, he admitted that he had been thinking about officiating weddings for some time… so Coen & Ilona’s wedding would have been a good test for him.

Omni Mobilae

I think I speak for all the guests who attended when I say, you did an amazing job Jaap! Please keep doing weddings!!!

A few more special details from their which they wanted to mention was:

  • The beautiful decorations which were done by her nieces and aunt at her father’s home.

  • Their wedding rings, which both contains half of the ring which Ilona’s grandmother received from Ilona’s grandfather, on their 25th Wedding Anniversary.

  • The Polaroids, made by all the wedding guests and which hung on a wire frame. This is now in their living room where they still look at and appreciate the photos each day.

  • The world map, containing personal travel tips, which they received from their family and friends and will use as inspiration for their future travels.

  • Last but not least….. the HAKA done by Fam. Huijsmans which was fantastic and totally unexpected!!!

Overall, they described their wedding as being relaxed and personal where everyone was talking to each other. The day just… flew by!!!

The dansfloor was opened with ‘Bloom’ from Paper Kites, which was played by their live band, The Tributes! This song is very special to Coen & Ilona and the words ‘Can I be close to you?’ from their song, was also printed on the front of the wedding invitations.

Their advice to other couples?… Do it!!! This is especially aimed at Rian & Dirk and Paula & Jens! Hint hint ;)

Okay, enough talk. Here’s some more images from their day: