Christiaan Bijl was born in Germany but grew up in the Netherlands while Stephanie Chagas-Bijl was born in Brazil but has lived half of her life in England. This diversity has its origin in the lives of their parents – while Chris’s mum is German and his dad is Dutch, Steph’s mum is English and her dad was Brazilian. Both were brought up in The Salvation Army, which is not only their church but also the organisation they work for. The couple met in Amsterdam in July 2013 while they were both taking part in the same Christian event for young adults. They became good friends, were married two years later and currently live in London.
One of the first things they did when they started planning the wedding was to sit down together and share particularities of each culture to then be able to decide what they were going to use for their own wedding day. The food and wedding cake also had specialities related to their four countries and in total the guests originated from over 15 nations! The ceremony happened in English and was led by a female minister of The Salvation Army, but the Bible was read in Dutch, a prayer was said in German and a song was sung in Portuguese!
When planning the wedding respect and understanding towards each other’s backgrounds are key and it’s a great opportunity to practice ‘give and take’ for married life! However, they can’t imagine their lives being any other way and enjoy the richness and diversity that the cultures bring into the relationship.
Documentary Wedding Photographer: Matt Badenoch Photography5