Kerstin Long’s mother always wanted her to marry Dutch. “My family is Dutch on my mother’s side,” she says. “She moved back to the Netherlands about fifteen years ago.” While Kerstin didn’t share her mother’s conviction, her mom should be happy that she met Sander Bijker in 2002 at the Dutch Ex-Patriots Club in Manhattan.
The two dated for nine years before Sander proposed. They began making plans and set their wedding date for May 20, 2012 at the Clermont Historic Site in Germantown. Kerstin says that they were immediately taken by the lush gardens that felt like outdoor rooms. “It’s usually just grass at historic places,” said Kerstin.
Sander and Kerstin ran into one major roadblock, however, when planning their wedding: they were in Europe—they’ve lived in Antwerp, Belgium now for more than five years—and they planning a wedding in the Hudson Valley. Still, they were determined for a stateside wedding because, Kerstin explains, “It’s where we met and fell in love, it had a better chance for good weather, it’s where most of my friends are, and there were more possibilities for the type of wedding we wanted.”
They enlisted the help of seasoned expert Jessica Herberger of Experience Events, who made it easier for them to plan their wedding from abroad. “I gave her details, a PDF, of information and everything that I wanted and she had it done,” Kerstin says.
Kerstin and Sander wanted their wedding to have the feeling of a backyard barbeque, but in a Gatsby-esque era. Casual elegance was the theme of the day, often with do-it-yourself touches. Kerstin designed the invitations on Photoshop and printed them with the online company Cards and Pockets. She also made the favors, beautiful arrangements of freesia with dragonfly stamps. And on the day of, Kerstin did her hair and make-up herself.
The affair was intimate, with 57 of the couple’s friends and family in attendance. The guests came from all over the world to help Sander and Kerstin celebrate: Holland, Belgium, Turkey, and even a few from our West Coast. It was without a doubt an international affair. The task of satisfying these different palates was put to Classé Catering. They rose to the occasion by providing a clam-bake/barbeque, complete with clams, shrimp, salmon, and potatoes tossed and served in fish netting. At the end of the day, the couple served s’mores to their guests to maintain the backyard barbeque atmosphere. “It was very low key,” says Kerstin. “Everything was perfect.”
The interior designer (her) and architect (him) duo are still living together in Belgium, where they are working on their first project as husband and wife: renovating their new apartment.
Jessica Herberger, Experience Events
2 Petra Lane, Albany
Joelle and the Pinehurst Trio
New York City
Designed by bride; printed at Cards and Pockets
5E 19th St, 2nd Floor
New York, New York