The best alternative wedding venues

Some brides-to-be dream about getting married in a castle. For other couples the beach wedding is the dream. Both of those boxes are well and truly ticked here in Portugal. But we’re also blessed with a huge array of other, more unusual venues that with a bit of imagination and creative styling, can also make unforgettable wedding venues.

Alternative wedding venues

Hippy heaven

How about eschewing convention and the modern world and getting married in a yurt or tepee. Essentially, it’s the same as a marquee but with a touch more bohemian charm. Yurts can be beautiful, and you and your guests can also get to make full use of the stunning Portuguese countryside.

Industrial spaces

Portugal, like most of western Europe, has moved away from its industrial heritage. But it has left behind some incredible architecture. These spaces are often vast, feature interesting design and come at a fraction of the cost of more traditional spaces. And with then right design they can be really eye-catching.

Alternative wedding venues

Farms and vineyards

Here in Portugal, rural life still continues as it has done for centuries. And there are plenty of beautiful farms and vineyards that have all the facilities you need for a rustic wedding celebration.

Alternative wedding venues

 

Museums

Imagine getting married surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful artwork or important historical artefacts. Portuguese culture extends back centuries, and its museum buildings are some of the most beautiful in the world.

Alternative wedding venues

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How to dance the night away

Music is an essential part of any wedding event. But how that music manifests itself is entirely up to you. Your choice of musicians, music and entertainment depends on what kind of atmosphere you want to create, and can vary throughout the day.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular options:

The wedding disco

Largely out of favour over the last decade or so, the wedding disco seemed to have had its day. But if you have a passion for retro revivals, why not get a cheesy DJ up on the wheels of steel and bust some moves out on the floor? Just blame it on the boogie.

How to dance the night away

The wedding band

The band has taken over from the disco as the choice option for weddings. And the wedding band market has reacted in kind. There is a huge array of professional acts out there, playing all sorts of genres and even learning your favourite tracks to order. Can be great fun but you’ll pay for the privilege.

How to dance the night away

The classical approach

Certainly during the ceremony and drinks, why not add some class with a strong quartet or classical ensemble? There are even some classical acts that can jazz, rock or funk it up for the evening.

How to dance the night away

Off the wall

Or, you could decide to go in another direction completely. What about a German-style oompah band, or this being Portugal, some fado? Although it is supposed to be a happy occasion, so try and keep it upbeat.

 

How to dance the night away

A right royal affair

You might have noticed, but there was a wedding last weekend. And not just any old wedding. This one involved a real life prince and princess. Prince Harry wed Megan Markle on Saturday. Although this was slightly unusual in that it went against tradition, as royal weddings usually take place on weekdays.

A right royal affair

On the morning of the wedding, the Queen conferred a dukedom on Harry, making him His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex and Megan Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex. And although the wedding was on the same day as the FA Cup Final, brother and best man William skipped his duties presenting the trophy to be in attendance.

A right royal affair

The invitations, as is customary for royal weddings, were from Barnard Westwood, each printed in gold and black. And the service took place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, making them the 16th royal couple to tie the knot there.

A right royal affair

The cake was a lemon elderflower bake made by Violet Bakery’s Claire Ptak and the flowers are arranged by Philippa Craddock. Guests included the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Beckhams and film star George Clooney.

A right royal affair

With a choice of stunning venues and destinations, sumptuous food and elegant wedding design, you can enjoy weddings fit for a princess right here in Portugal.

A right royal affair

Portugal’s Venice: Getting married in Aveiro

With its network of canals, humpbacked bridges and colourful boats, Aveiro is one of Portugal’s most unique cities. Occasionally dubbed the Venice of Portugal, it’s a picturesque city best explored on foot or by boat. Many of these colourful vessels were once used for the slightly unglamorous job of seaweed harvesting, but these days they adorn the waterways and ferry visitors around.

Portugal's Venice: Getting married in Aveiro

The city hugs the edge of a coastal lagoon, rich in wildlife and birdlife, with many thinking the name of the town comes from the Latin word ‘aviarium’, meaning ‘place of birds’.

Portugal's Venice: Getting married in Aveiro

Aveiro has a youthful vibe, with a buzzing city centre but remains largely undiscovered by the hordes of tourists you might find in Porto a little to the north. And although the canals are beautiful, much of the city’s charm lies in its diverse architecture and unique natural location.

Portugal's Venice: Getting married in Aveiro

Outside of the city, the stunning silver coast stretches out in both directions. Porto is just 40 minutes away, making it very convenient to get to by plane, with good rail links too. Aveiro might not yet be on the wedding destination map, but we think it’s a beautiful and charming place that still remains one of Portugal’s best kept secrets.

Portugal's Venice: Getting married in Aveiro

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

If you’re planning a wedding, especially one abroad, you’re going to need some help. That generally comes in two forms. One is a wedding package, provided by a venue and built around a set wedding plan. The other is hiring a wedding planner and working together to create your own special day. Each has its plus points and drawbacks, so lets have a closer look at which might be best for you.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

Wedding planner

The pros are that you get a personalised service and a professional working with you to achieve your vision. Every detail is considered and you get to hand craft your venue, food, decoration and entertainment options according to your needs.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

The downside is that this obviously costs more because everything is not being provided on one package, which enables a more streamlined and cheaper service. But with weddings, as with everything else, you get what you pay for.

Package deals

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

As mentioned, you get a lot for your money but is quantity always better than quality? It’s probably more time efficient too as your chosen package suppliers will take care of everything. So if you’re not concerned about the detail and trust them to deliver a wedding that meets you expectations, then it could be a good option. Package deals also lack a little of the uniqueness that makes weddings so special.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

Ultimately your choice depends on many factors, including budget, time, preference and more. But we know which one we would choose – not that we’re biased obviously.

Summer wedding dress trends 2018

There’s a reason that summer weddings are so popular. The flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining, and everyone looks their healthy best. And no one more so than the bride. And this summer there are some wedding trends that will help you really stand out.

Textured lace

Lace is back with a bang in 2018, with layers the way to go. The light feel and minute detail of lace fits in well with wedding venues as diverse as the beach, vineyards and garden parties.

Summer wedding dress trends 2018

Slouchy style

As it gets warmer, a tight fitted gown sounds less appealing. So why no relax and go for a dress that flatters without being form fitting. Slouchy styles work best where comfort is key and you can always glam it up later in the evening when it cools down.

Summer wedding dress trends 2018

Colours

The idea of the white wedding dress doesn’t appeal to everyone, and this summer other shades such as ivory, soft pink and even pastels are mixing it up.

Summer wedding dress trends 2018

Playsuits

Feeling in the mood for fun? Then why not go all out with a wedding playsuit or jumpsuit? It’s certainly eye catching and a big trend for this summer season.

 

Summer wedding dress trends 2018

A beginner’s guide to Portuguese wine

A beginner’s guide to Portuguese wine

Portugal makes some of the finest wines on the planet. But you might not know this because relatively little of it is exported compared to other big producers such as France and Spain. This isn’t just because they want to keep it all for themselves, but because much of it is made in small scale vineyards that don’t produce enough to sell. So here are a few clues as to what to look for.

The country is carved up into 14 wine regions, which are denoted as DOC, which control the geographical boundaries. You might also see the word quinta, which is the word for a small farm.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine

 

Vinho verde

This special type of ‘green’ wine is only from Portugal. They’re called green due to the region they come from rather than any colour. They’re low alcohol and light, perfect for hot days and drinking with fish dishes.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine

Douro

The river valley stretching from Porto into the heartland is a stunningly beautiful place famed for its steep vineyards. The reds are robust – it’s the same grapes that make port out of – with a few whites too.

The best A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine wine styles for your wedding image by Mat's Eye

Dao

With reds often compared to Burgundy, this another of the major wine regions. It enjoys a cooler climate, with ocean breezes providing an ideal balance for the wine.

Alentejo

This huge region known for rolling hills and cork trees is starting to generate a serious buzz. Ripe grapes mean big, full bodied wines, with both excellent reds and whites.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine

Port

Probably the most famous of all the Portuguese wines, this fortified variety is rich and sweet, with a high alcohol content caused by the added brandy. Visit Porto and you can visit many of the port cellars lining the river banks.

A beginner's guide to Portuguese wine

Getting married in the mountains

Stunning backdrops, clean air, quaint villages – getting married in the mountains has a lot of advantages. Especially here in Portugal where we’re blessed with a huge choice of unique mountain top destinations. Built for defending this ancient country against invading hordes and as remote farming communities, today these incredible mountaintop settlements make stunning wedding venues. Here’s why:

Getting married in the mountains

The view

Gazing out over the granite-dominated landscape, the line of Knights Templar villages that dot Portugal’s borders with Spain were built to protect it from Moorish invaders. These days, the views from Monsanto, Monsarraz and Marvao can rival anything else you can find in Europe. Don’t believe us? Just check out the pictures below.

Getting married in the mountains

The towns

Walled mountaintop villages complete with centuries old castles. Houses hewn from the rock or made using gigantic boulders as walls. Schist stone villages that have remained unchanged for generations. It’s all here in Portugal, and with a choice of wedding venues across the country, you can choose an incredible and unique wedding destination.

Getting married in the mountains

The churches

As a catholic country, no village or town is complete without a church. And with many dating back centuries, these are often incredible places to make your vows. Teetering on the edge of vast rocky cliffs, gazing out at the land below, these are some of the most special churches in the world. For a church wedding straight from your dreams, the mountains of Portugal are hard to beat.

Getting married in the mountains

Why get married on a farm?

You probably don’t necessarily associate livestock and wedding ceremonies. But in recent years, farms and barns have become very popular wedding destinations. And when you think about it, there are a number of good reasons why.

The natural world

There’s been a definite shift back towards nature, with the organic food and modern back to the land movements. And a farm is the wedding equivalent. This is a place where nature is all around, in the landscape, the purpose and more. So what better way to get in touch with your natural side?

Why get married on a farm?

Blank canvas

A barn is a large space, perfect for parties and one you can dress in any way you like. Go for a rustic inspired design or surprise your guests with a futuristic disco. The barn is a blank canvas that you can use as and how you want.

Why get married on a farm?

Privacy

Barns and farms tend to be out in the country. Which means they’re away from neighbours, giving you the privacy and freedom to party all night long.

Why get married on a farm?

Families

These are also spaces that are perfect for all the family, especially children. While the formality of a palace might not be ideal for the curious minds of kids, on a farm they are free to lay without the risk of breaking anything priceless.

Why get married on a farm?

The perfect beach wedding

There are some settings that just seem to fit perfectly with weddings. There are churches, for obvious reasons. Stately homes, for the glamour and elegance. And then beaches. But just what is it about the beach that makes you want to say ‘I do’?

Destination weddings

Beautiful beaches are a destination in themselves, which means you can combine wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon all in one. Especially if you choose to get married on one of the hundreds of beautiful beaches in Portugal. The sun, sea and sand add an element of holiday escape to any wedding.

The perfect beach wedding

The water

The sound of the ocean crashing onto the shore, the birds in the air, the gentle breeze – it all helps to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere, which is perfect for romantic occasions.

The perfect beach wedding

Intimacy

The beach is an ideal place for small, informal and intimate weddings. Just you, a few of your most loved and cherished friends and family – it’s stripping a wedding back to its basics. And the beach seems to make sense as a perfect simple location.

The perfect beach wedding

The sunshine

The beach is associated with sunshine. Of course, that’s not always the reality but that’s how we imagine it. And in Portugal, you stand a good chance of the sun shining, especially in the summer months.

The perfect beach wedding

The aesthetic

The beach brings an aesthetic that you can use to build your wedding around. Washed out colours, driftwood, nautical themes – it can all be tied together in your wedding design. And it’s all right there on the beach.

The perfect beach wedding