Working on a fairy tale

Working on a fairy tale

05/11/2023 - 15:00

‘Now go and work on your own fairy tale!’ was what Daphne Donkers was told after her work placement at Efteling. And that’s what she did. In addition to her job in logistics, she is also a Wedding Planner now.
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A Wedding Planner!? You!? Her colleagues at Vanderlande, a big international company in future-proof logistic process automation looked surprised. ‘I do understand,’ says Daphne, ‘they know me as a pragmatist, a go-getter, down to earth. The sweet and dreamy connotation attached to weddings perhaps doesn’t quite fit that picture.’ 

I knew very well what I did not want 

Daphne Donkers studied Logistics Engineering at Breda University of Applied Sciences (formerly: NHTV) and has worked in logistics since she graduated (2017). ‘After secondary school I was very  adamant about what I did not want to do. I didn’t want to work in the care sector nor work with people, but I didn’t know what to choose,’ Daphne says. ‘I’m in a very different position now. As a Wedding Planner you’re engaged in caring, especially unburdening people, and I’m the one helping people make choices.’ 

Sister of 

Making choices was what she herself didn’t always find easy. ‘My study career coach was to blame for it becoming logistics anyway,’ laughs Daphne. ‘Hey, wait a moment,’ I thought, ‘I’m not going to fill lorries, but I soon found out that that isn’t the right picture at all. Technology appealed to me, so I thought of Industrial Engineering and Management, but my sister already studied that. I already was the ‘sister of’ everywhere and wanted to choose my own direction. So I opted for the professional bachelor’s programme in Logistics Engineering at NHTV. My first work placement was at Fokker Landing Gear. It was a research placement, and so different from what I was used to doing at MBO. It took me a while to get used to it, but I eventually landed well.  

Work placement at Efteling 

After that, Daphne started a work placement at Efteling. ‘A work placement in fairyland is always inspiring of course,’ Daphne continues. ‘I worked out a recommendation to lay out the central warehouse in Kaatsheuvel better. Thousands of spare parts of all the attractions are stored there. Somebody worked there who had been working there for many years, and who knew how to find everything flawlessly. I thought up a system – and worked out a recommendation – with which everybody can find what is needed quickly. Attractions can’t be closed for refurbishment too long of course. The spare parts of Joris en de Draak must be at the front as they wear out faster than the ones of an attraction like Droomvlucht.’ 

All of us will be married soon! 

And when did your own dream take off? What does the idea of becoming a Wedding Planner come from in the first place? ‘I’ve wanted to become one ever since I was a child,’ tells Daphne, ‘I was some 10 years old when I saw the film The Wedding Planner and I thought: I’m also going to do this some time! Yes, really, I’ve always said that ever since. My friends said “Get a move on, all of us will be married soon!” During the corona pandemic I made the decision. I had time because it wasn’t possible anymore to do a lot, so then I started to do the Wedding Planners International course.’ 

Subject Matter Expert  

‘Although my colleagues at Vanderlande looked surprised, they did support me. My supervisor was directly enthusiastic. I’ll also get the chance to combine my two jobs soon and I’m very happy with that because I don’t want to give up my job in logistics. I’ve just started a new job. As a Subject Matter Expert I look at how we can improve and align processes in our plants together with colleagues in Spain and the USA. I went to America in January for the first time in my life; that was super cool!’ 

Las Vegas 

Organising a wedding in Las Vegas, fully taken care of? Could we shortly have that arranged by you? ‘In the Wedding Planner course you learn, above all, how you should tackle things as an entrepreneur; how do you set up a good business plan; how do you distinguish yourself from other Wedding Planners? The latter is mainly for me in my pragmatic approach. Although Las Vegas may be very pragmatic, it doesn’t really suit me. However, I don’t rule out things of course,’ says Daphne. 

My first real assignment 

How do you proceed then? ‘Usually, people themselves already have a very good idea of what they want. I come up with some options, work them out in a plan, complete with possible suppliers and costs and then I let people choose. It’s a lot of arranging and planning; you’ll have to get everything and everyone in the right place at the right time, just like in any other logistic project actually. That’s why it suits me well and I enjoy it so much. I’ll have my first real assignment in July; that’s for someone I know through my studies. Quite exciting!’ 

Fairy tale wedding 

‘By the way, I also got to know my boyfriend during my studies, in the very first week, during the introduction. We’re getting married next year!’ Daphne says beamingly. Congratulations! And how will your fairy tale wedding look like? ‘I already have some ideas, but nothing specific. In a natural environment, with lots of wood, that’s for sure. Family and friends around us. We’re getting married in winter, so no idyllic eating outside at a long wooden table is in it for us. Next week we’re having a look at a first venue. Work out three plans, my boyfriend said, and I’ll make a choice!’ 


Interview by Maaike Dukker - 't Hart