Top ideas for your bridal bouquet

The bridal bouquet can often be the centrepiece of any wedding design theme. Think about what you want to carry down the aisle and very often you can build your whole wedding style around it.

With that in mind, here are five top ideas to give you some ideas and inspire you to create a bouquet that’s a little different.

Orchids

An ancient symbol fertility, the orchid also brings beauty and charm to your bouquet. Different colours have different meanings too, with white bringing reverence and humility, as well as innocence and purity.

Top five ideas for your bridal bouquet

Succulents

These fleshy and geometric plants bring a beautiful contrast to any bouquet. There’s a huge variety to choose from with patterns and textures that can bring your bouquet to life.

Top five ideas for your bridal bouquet

Cascade

Why opt for the traditional bunch design? A cascade can be draped over the arm and add a trail of colour to your dress. Plus, the bigger it is the more flowers you get to use.

Top five ideas for your bridal bouquet

Lavender

Beautifully coloured and fragrant, lavender is a an excellent framing flower around which you can add further colour and texture.

Top five ideas for your bridal bouquet

Berries

Representing new life and bountiful fruits of nature, berries make a stunning addition to any bouquet design. They also contrast with the colour and texture of flowers for a unique bouquet.

 

Top five ideas for your bridal bouquet

Eating out in Lisbon: A quick guide

There are plenty of reasons to get married here in Portugal. The weather, the beaches, the stunning venues all have significant appeal. But there’s also the fact that Lisbon is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Top Lisbon restaurants

Topping countless lists as one of the hottest capitals of the moment, it’s not surprisingly home to some incredible restaurants too. So if you’re looking to entertain your wedding guests before or after the big day, you couldn’t find a better place to do it.

Here are a few of the best:

A Taberna de Rua das Flores

A faithful recreation of an old Lisbon style eatery, this is the place to go for traditional dishes the way they were meant to be served. Expect the best oil, best wine and a selection of delicious cheeses too.

Casa de Pasto

Run by Diogo Noronha, one of the city’s most promising young chefs, you can experience long forgotten recipes made with unusual ingredients. Think cockle rissoles and oxtail consommé.

Top Lisbon restaurants

Time Out Market

Presenting the very best of Lisbon’s food all under one roof, this vast collection of restaurants and bars is located in the old market in the once run down Cais do Sodre dock area. Regeneration has really kicked in and this is now the place to be.

Top Lisbon restaurants

A Cevicheria

Located in the hip Principe Real neighbourhood, this place specialises in Peruvian ceviche. If you’ve never tried it before, this is a great place to start.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something green?

So Donald Trump might not think the future of the planet is worth bothering about. But, as with a few other of the President’s opinions, we don’t necessarily agree. So if you want to keep your wedding green and do your bit for Mother Nature, here are some top ideas.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something green?

Source locally

Some of your guests might have to travel to your wedding but there’s no reason your food and drink has to come from far away. Source locally and reduce your food miles, plus you’ll be sure you’re getting fresher and better quality produce. Here in Portugal, sourcing local food is an absolute must, from freshly caught fish to freshly pressed olive oil.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something green?

Recycle

Wedding invites, decorations, place settings – there’s a fair amount of paper and card being used in any wedding. So make sure you’re using recycled products. Then, when the big day is over, recycle it all over again. The same goes for glass too.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something green?

Reduce the damage

Try to limit the amount of non-recyclable materials used. Keep plastics to a minimum and ask your guests that they don’t buy gifts with harmful chemicals. In fact, environmentally responsible gifts is a great way to go in general.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something green?

Off set the rest

It’s likely that your event is going to have some kind of impact so think about giving back in a positive way. Find an off setter like Terrapass or Native Energy and make a contribution that covers your wedding. If you can leave the planet no worse off after your big day that’s a great wedding present.

Top tips for planning an outdoor wedding

Outdoor weddings are romantic and beautiful but they’re not as easy as they look. There’s a whole new world of things to think about if you’re planning on hosting your event in the great outdoors. So here are some top tips on what you might need to think about.

Make sure guests are comfortable

Have contingencies in place to make sure your guests are comfortable. Leave them standing around in the sweltering sunshine, in their wedding outfits, and things are going to get sweaty. Provide shade, some fans (or heaters if it’s chilly).

Top tips for planning an outdoor wedding

 

Have a plan B

Here in Portugal there’s a good chance the sun will be shinning. But there are no guarantees. And if the heavens open and you have no contingency, then things could get unpleasant quickly. Have an inside space set aside or at least some kind of covering.

Make use of natural beauty

One of the big bonuses of an outdoor wedding is that you get to make use of the natural world around you. But you need to make sure that this is all going to work on the day and that flowers and shrubs will be flowering at the right time. Remember, nature is constantly evolving.

Top tips for planning an outdoor wedding

Can your guests hear?

If it’s windy and you have no amplification, hearing the speeches is going to be tricky. And it’s very frustrating only catching the odd word of an otherwise beautiful father of the bride’s speech.

Keep bugs at bay

As the sun goes down, your beautifully lit wedding comes into its own. And then a million winged things descend biting everyone in sight. Think citronella candles and fly zappers to keep the plagues at bay.

Top tips for planning an outdoor wedding

Use the natural light

Plan your day carefully around the light. Don’t make your guests stare into the sun during the ceremony and use the beautiful sunset to your advantage.

Top tips for planning an outdoor wedding

Top wedding cake trends for 2017

What kind of a wedding would it be if there wasn’t a cake? A beautiful, stylish and delicious wedding cake is like the icing on the…well, you get the drift. But like anything, cakes are subject to style, trend and personal preference. And as this is the most important day of your life, the cake has to be just as special.

 

This summer, there are some big wedding cake ideas that you can use to make sure your cake is bang on trend.

Beaded

A real design statement, beads can be used to stunning effect, creating the appearance of thousands of jewels adding colour and texture to your design.

Top wedding cake trends for 2017

Flowers

50 years after the original Summer of Love, flower power is back in a big way. Perfect for rustic or country weddings, iced or real flowers add a dash of boho chic.

Top wedding cake trends for 2017

Marble

Making your cake look like a lump or volcanic rock might not sound like a great idea but marbling can have stunning results. Think precious metals, crystals and natural geology for a wedding cake with a difference.

Lace

This classic wedding material is making a big comeback, with delicate piping and details that really show the craftsmanship.

Top wedding cake trends for 2017

Greenery

Green weddings continue to appeal, with foliage and leaves adding a natural glamour to your cake.

Top wedding cake trends for 2017

Classic Portuguese wedding dishes

Call us biased (and you’d be right to because we absolutely are) but there are plenty of very good reasons to get married in Portugal. From the sunshine, beaches, romantic venues, beautiful cities and more, this is a country that lends itself to incredible weddings.

Classic Portuguese wedding dishes

But there’s another very good reason: the food. Portuguese food may not have the classical refinement of the French or the sheer scale of Spanish tapas but what it does have is an abundance of stunning ingredients and a sense of tradition.

Check out these classic Portuguese wedding dishes to see what we mean.

Starters

The Portuguese love a soup, from the ubiquitous caldo verde (a kale soup with chorizo) to a variety of delicious fish soups, every good meal starts with one.

Classic Portuguese wedding dishes

Mains

It’s said there is a bacalhau (cod) dish for every day of the year, and it’s even Christmas dinner, so don’t be surprised to see it on the menu at a wedding. There’s bacalhau com natas (a creamy and potato filled type of pie), a bras (cooked with onions, rice and olives) and a Gomes Sa (with onions, garlic, potatoes parsley and egg). To name just three. Camarao (prawns) are another wedding favourite.

As well as a fish course, expect another meaty main. Iberian black pork, stewed goat and wild boar are all common choices for weddings.

Desert

The infamous pastel de nata is a great choice but the Portuguese also have a wide variety of classics including leite crème (like crème brulee), bolo do bolacha (a creamy cake made with coffee soaked biscuits, and fresh fruit. Mountains of fresh fruit.

Oh, and there’s the wine, aguardente, port, madeira, and more. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Unique summer wedding ideas 2017

As well as adhering to tradition and ticking certain classical style boxes, everyone wants their wedding to be unique. Whether it’s jumping from a plane before the ceremony or wearing a black wedding dress, making your wedding stand out from the crowd is a great way of making it even more special and memorable.

Unique summer wedding ideas 2017

Of course, being unique doesn’t always mean having to go to such extreme lengths, so here are some slightly simpler ideas for making your big day special.

DIY cocktails

Why limit your guests to bellinis and martinis when they can make their own? Create a few cocktail stations with all the tools and let them get creative. It’s a great ice breaker (you’ll need one of these too) and a great for getting the party going.

Unique summer wedding ideas 2017

Video guest book

Instead of the traditional wedding guest book, why not set up a video booth and let your guests record their message in person? It’s sure to be more fun and a great way to gather embarrassing footage of your friends and family.

 

Festival vibe

Set up a stage or hire a tipi for the entertainment and turn your wedding into a fun summer festival event. Or you could fill it with cushions and blankets and make it a fun chill out area.

Unique summer wedding ideas 2017

Polaroids

Why bother hiring a photographer when you can let your guests do it (for free). Provide a bunch of Polaroid or equivalent cameras and let your guests have fun with film. You’ll be sure to get some fun (and even more embarrassing) snaps for your album.

Unique summer wedding ideas 2017

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

Portugal oozes romance. Everywhere you look there is beauty and history. From the terracotta rooftops of Lisbon to the rolling farmland of the Alentejo and vineyard covered Douro valley, there are perfect romantic getaway destinations all around.

So, if you’re looking for a destination to rekindle the romance, as a first break together or even to pop the big question, here are some top choices.

Lisbon

One of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful capitals, the red rooftops and pastel coloured buildings tower over a labyrinth of cobbled streets, stylish restaurants and boutique hotels. Check out the views from hilltop Graca, stroll the exotic gardens at Estrella or hang out in hip Cais do Sodre.

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

Porto

Portugal’s second city is perched on a steep hill beside the Douro river. The other side of the river is covered with vast port cellars and the city’s tall stone buildings line streets that almost all lead down to the lively Ribeira. Catch a boat up river or cross the towering iron bridge for the best views of the city.

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

Coimbra

This ancient city and one time capital is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Gown wearing students wander the streets of this most typical of Portuguese cities, with its steep hill side and grid of narrow alleyways. The iconic Quinta das Lagrimas is steeped in romantic tragedy.

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

Douro valley

This steep valley sides are covered in rows of vines, in one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions. Stay in an estate, sipping stunning wines as you gaze out over the river sparkling below.

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

Azores

OK, it might be in the mid-Atlantic but technically it’s still Portugal. These volcanic islands are simply majestic. Huge sharp peaks rise out of rolling green hills, covered with waterfalls and fringed by rocky coves. Soak in thermal springs or stroll tropical gardens. It’s enough to make you fall in love all over again.

Top romantic breaks in Portugal

A wedding on the wild side

As well as bohemian cities and beautiful beaches, Portugal has a wild side that few people ever really get to see. But with miles of unspoiled countryside, ancient farmland, rugged mountains and traditional culture, if you’re looking for a wild wedding then this might just be the place for you.

But you might have to hurry. As this recent article in The Guardian points out, the secret might just be out of the bag. Get away from the coastal resorts to the north, east and south and you’ll find timeless beauty, rustic mountaintop villages and mysterious standing stones.

Serra da Peneda

North east of Porto, this mountainous region is one of Portugal’s wildest and most beautiful. Discover ancient Roman roads and villages that time forgot. You and your guests can swim in pristine mountain pools, feast on local delicacies including goat or lamb baked in a wood oven, and find incredibly romantic venues.

Setubal coast

Located just to the south of Lisbon, the Costa Azul is famous for its wine. But you can also encounter cliff top monasteries, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. It’s rare to find such unspoiled beauty so near to a capital city. But then Portugal is not like other countries.

The Alentejo

Vast stretches of rolling farmland, meadows and stone villages dot this sparsely populated landscape. One of Europe’s least densely populated areas, this vast region is timeless and beautiful. With national parks and historic cities like Évora, it makes a majestic setting for any wedding.

How to choose your wedding playlist

What would a wedding be without music? Essentially, a very expensive meal out. Music plays a very important role throughout the day, from selected pieces with special meaning during the service, to filling the floor once the party starts. But the question is: how do you choose a playlist for the biggest day of your life?

Crowdpleasers

You might be into free jazz or death metal. That’s fine. But not all of your guests are going to want to stroke their chins to atonal jazz musings or bang their heads to some thrash classics. Of course, your wedding should reflect you and your passions but it also needs to have some broad appeal too. Otherwise you might find the evening peters out early.

How to choose your wedding playlist

Music with meaning

There are some big songs to choose during the day: from your entrance music at the service to your first dance. You and your partner should think long and hard about which songs mean most to you.

How to choose your wedding playlist

Get your guests involved

Stuck for ideas? On your invitation, ask each guest to select a song when they rsvp, then make your playlist out of this. Everyone will have a stake in the evening and it will be interesting to see what your nearest and dearest choose. Disclaimer: you might have to do a little curating and editing. There’s no accounting for taste sometimes.

How to choose your wedding playlist

Keep it separate

When creating your playlist, think about how different parts of the day have different vibes. You don’t want to be listening to some heavy funk during dinner, and classical pieces don’t go down so well on the dance floor. Work in sections and it will help you keep it appropriate.

How to choose your wedding playlist