Lotte van den Hout | Wedding Planner
Amsterdam-based wedding planner
Lotte van den Hout
works from home in a beautiful apartment
in the south of Amsterdam, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The details are impeccable, the apartment adorned with delicate dried flowers, lace pillows,
mermaid-inspired shell coasters, and large vases of fresh pink peonies. This is where she imagines and realizes stunning weddings both in the Netherlands and abroad. She's built up a
successful career in just a year's time, demonstrating to others that not only is her profession one to be taken seriously but that she is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. We
met with Lotte over ginger tea to talk about how it's going and her goals for the future. -
Text and photos by Margot van der Krogt
Tell us about yourself.
I studied Fashion Management at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). I had always thought that I wanted to work in fashion but after the first half year I realized it wasn’t for me. In any case, I decided to finish my studies and get as much out of it as I could: I learned a lot and even studied abroad for a few months. I also interned at the international photography magazine Foam Magazine for half a year, which was a great experience. When I graduated, I was contacted by the photography fair and festival Unseen and asked if I wanted to help organize the first edition back in 2012. I continued working at Unseen as a project and office manager until November 2014. That’s when I decided to leave my job and start as a wedding planner.
Had you always wanted to be a wedding planner?
I don’t know if it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I have been collecting romantic and dreamy photos of weddings as inspiration for my own wedding (as many of us girls do!) for years. Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to work as a wedding planner at some point in my life but thought, I’ll do that when I'm older and have more work experience. At some point I realized, why wait? I’m still young! If not now, when?
What draws you to weddings?
Last weekend, on the day of yet another special wedding, I realized once again how special my work actually is: I spread the love! (Laughs). But really, I help people to realize their special day, as cliché as that sounds. Everything I love, that I care about (and that I’m good at) come together in this profession: I’m a perfectionist, I'm a planner and an organizer. I like to create concepts and carry them out, and above all, I like to help others and bring them a sense of happiness. I’m most in my element on the day/weekend itself when carrying out all the production tasks. Together with a team of suppliers I’ve chosen, we strive to create something really beautiful. And on that day/those days, I'm also the hostess and the contact person for all the guests, who are all always so thankful for all the work I'm doing! It’s incredible.
What was it like to leave your job and start for yourself?
The decision to start for myself wasn’t hard to make, but I did find it quite difficult to leave my job because I was working with such a great group of people. And I really had to get used to working on my own, like how to best divide my time and when to call it quits at the end of the day. I had to tell myself to take things slow; it was quite a challenge to give myself that time and to accept that not everything would be perfect the first time around. But I’ve learned so much about my work and myself already, and I’m still learning every day.
What does it take to become a wedding planner and what do you do?
I believe that “You don’t become a wedding planner, you just are one!” But I decided to follow a course at the Wedding Planners Institute to really take this step seriously. When I finish, I’ll have an official degree and I think some couples will value that. For a wedding planner, there’s no set job description: I help people leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day itself by taking things out of their hands. I don’t work with fixed packages, I believe in custom-made wedding planning; when I meet a couple, we decide together how I can best help them. It’s really a joint effort.
You’ve said that a "wedding planner’s personality is as important as liking her style”.
I really mean that! It’s important that the couple and I have a good relationship – I should feel like a best friend helping out on their special day. But style is important as well. My style is quite simple; I believe in less is more. I spend a lot of time researching suitable locations and prefer those that aren’t official wedding locations. People often think they can just find a reasonably priced space and ‘dress it up’ but I don’t think it works like that. Location is everything; like placing a long table in the middle of the street, creating a moment of calm in the midst of the chaos of the city, could be stunning. And I think it’s important to bring back a personal element of the couple so that the guests really feel like it’s their wedding, however small that personal element may be. It could be incorporating the bride’s favorite flower in the table-setting or one of the groom’s favorite dishes. It should be something that really defines them!
Tell us about the weddings you’ve done so far.
I’ve done six weddings to date. One of my first was for a couple who wanted a wedding 'for everyone, by everyone'; the guests were all asked to contribute in some way. They were divided into groups (one group would take care of the wine, the other the flowers, etc.) and I coordinated all of this. It was such a beautiful idea and the day was so special: It started with a 'procession of love' through the city, departing from where they met, then past 12 places that were important to them, like the place where they first kissed. There was another wedding that was more classical. It was a four-day celebration in the winter and on the day of the ‘I do’s’, we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow and the winter sun was glowing in the distance; it was beautiful.
A few weeks ago I had two weddings in one weekend. One was a magical garden wedding near Amsterdam, where the guests were taken to the wedding location by way of a Moroccan procession of belly dancers and camels. The other was an intimate wedding in Spain; I can't even put into words how beautiful it was. Everyone who was there decided that there's one word to best describes that weekend, and that’s love.
Where do you see yourself in one year, five years or ten years?
I hope to have my own studio soon so that I can welcome couples in a space that really defines who I am and what I stand for. I also hope that the profession will be taken more seriously (there’s still a certain taboo about ‘wedding planning’) and that people embrace it instead of thinking, oh, that’s not for me. I spoke to someone yesterday who said that even though she really enjoyed planning her own wedding, she really regrets not asking someone to be there the day because her parents missed so many important moments while arranging everything. It’s interesting that wedding planning is actually more widely known and accepted outside of Amsterdam than here. I’m sure it’ll change soon: people living here, with their busy lives and demanding jobs, could really benefit from it! And my longer term goals are to work on more international weddings. It’s not a dream, but a goal, because 'goals are dreams with deadlines.'
And we can’t help but ask, is your own wedding in the works?
Not yet! But I have thought about it (laughs). I want to be engaged for at least a year; I think ‘fiancee’ sounds cuter than ‘husband’! I would love to have a wedding that lasts a year, and to celebrate every few months with smaller get-togethers. At the end of the year, we would finish with an intimate ceremony and a large party. Or the other idea is to travel the world, just the two of us. I think it would be amazing to get married in every country we visit according to their customs and traditions. Then we would head back home for a final celebration with friends and family. We’ll see, a girl can dream, right?
Thanks Lotte for this interview! For more information about Lotte and her work, visit her website . And follow along on Facebook , Instagram, and Pinterest .