Blessed with one of the best climates in Europe and countless hours of summer sun, the June to August season is always popular for weddings in Portugal. However, even outside of the high season, there are plenty of reasons to get married here.
The months of September to November are when the harvests take place, when villages across the country hum with activity as people pick grapes to make wine and olives to make oil. These were traditionally times of celebration and with the weather still often remaining sunny and warm for weeks on end, it can be a beautiful time to have a wedding.
After the scorching summer, the cooler autumn temperature and showers bring life back to the ground, with lush green colours returning and ripening of many fruits. This means there’s an abundance of natural autumn foliage with which to decorate your wedding venue. If you’re looking to source food locally, this is also a bountiful time of year.
The colours, weather, food, and if we’re being totally honest, affordability, of Portuguese autumn weddings make them a very attractive proposal. And with less competition for venues, you can get the weeding of your dreams at a truly beautiful time of year.
The main event of any wedding is the moment the bride and groom say ‘I do’. Of course it is. But then again, as a guest, what you’re really looking forward to is an incredible meal in beautiful surroundings with lovely people. Taking nothing away from the happy couple, obviously. Which is why putting a lot of thought and effort into your tables can help to make this even more special.
So here is a handful of really great wedding table ideas, some inspired by the beautiful Portuguese landscapes all around.
From pine trees to eucalyptus and cactuses, all around you in Portugal is stunning greenery that can be used to dress any table. Don’t forget about the olive branches that cover the countryside from north to south.
As the evening wears on, having candles and even table lamps can help to create an atmosphere conducive to good times. Choose styles that suit your overall design theme.
Experiment with adding colour in different ways, with glassware and crockery that matches your tones.
Think about the table itself
Why dress the table too much when it can be the star of the show? Think chunky wood tables and chairs for a natural option that looks beautiful too.
Create space and add another dimension by hanging flowers and centrepieces above the table. That way everyone can see each other and you can create eye catching displays that don’t get in the way.
These days it’s more or less possible to get whatever flowers you want at any time of year. But just like going local with the food, more and more people are choosing to use flowers that are seasonal, arranging their floral displays around the flowers in bloom when the choose to get married.
And here in Portugal, there’s an extensive calendar of flowers running right through the year.
In January, February and March you should be looking at camellias, orchids and hyacinths. May through July is time for hydrangeas, carnations and lavender (which has the added bonus of smelling incredible).
Roses and sunflowers are big in July and August, with gladiola and irises coming in September to November.
If you’re going for a winter wedding, then white lilies usually flower in December. Plan your wedding around these beautiful plants and you’ve got a ready made colour and design scheme from Mother Nature herself. Add some native foliage, such as olive branches and you can dress your wedding without the environmental impact.
If you’ve made the superb decision (not that we’re biased, obviously) of getting married in Portugal, there are plenty of things to look forward to. Great food, beautiful sunshine and a whole range of stunning venues make Portuguese weddings some of the best in the world (again, we’re being completely impartial). But there are also some Portuguese wedding traditions that will make your day even more special.
Walk to the church
In many small villages and towns, it’s customary for the bride to walk to the ceremony in the church accompanied by her wedding party and important guests. So bring your hiking boots.
Passing the shoes
At the reception, the bride takes off her shoe and passes it round for guests to stuff with money to launch the happy couple on their new life. So maybe go for a size or two bigger than usual when choosing footwear.
This is when young single men pay money to dance with the new bride. Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as weird as it sounds.
Slice of luck
The first slice of cake is usually given to a single friend to bring them luck in love.
Towards the end of the night, the newly weds are expected to try and escape their own reception to spend their first night together. Not so easy when everyone wants to talk to you/pay you to dance.
Vintage weddings just never seem to go out of style. There’s something about the past that resonates in the present, and a vintage style can create a timeless feel that won’t date. So if you want a wedding where you won’t look back in 20 years time and wonder at what you were wearing, here are five vintage trends to try.
Rather than the groom party all wearing the same suit, why not mix and match while sticking to one colour scheme. Just make sure the groom stands out.
Velvet and marble are just two examples of vintage materials that add a touch of glamour and luxury to your big day.
The Pantone colour of 2017 and an effective and, we might add, affordable way of dressing your wedding in an elegant way.
Flowers and floral
From lush arrangements to floral prints, flowers in a vintage style are big for 2017.
If icing is a bit much for your palate, then leave your cake undressed and drizzle some delicious colour and texture to the top.
As summer draws to a close and the nights close in, temperatures drop and winter looms on the horizon, it can be tempting to put off dreams of the perfect wedding until next year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here in Portugal the sun continues to shine and there are plenty more reasons why it’s the perfect winter wedding destination. Here are five of the best:
OK, we have to start with the weather. As the sunniest country in mainland Europe, Portugal’s climate is warm and mild all year round, even in winter. In fact, even in deepest December the sun can still shine for weeks on end and temperatures can still push into the 20s.
While in summer the cities of Porto and Lisbon throng with tourists, in the off-season is when you get to see them at their best. You won’t have to queue with crowds of holidaymakers and the cities settle into a more relaxed pace.
Portugal’s stunning selection of palaces, castles and countryside offers you a huge choice of spectacular venues all year round.
As one of Europe’s most affordable destinations you always get great value for money in Portugal. But outside of the main tourism season you can get even better deals on everything from venues to food and flowers.
Glorious at any time of year, whether it’s in the baking sunshine or when windswept and rugged, Portugal’s beaches have year round appeal.
The Algarve, Lisbon and Cascais in the south. Porto and Braga in the north. Both well known and much visited regions of Portugal. But it’s in the centre where many of the country’s most underrated destinations can be found.
The medieval Knight’s Templar city of Tomar, about an hour north of Lisbon, is one of the region’s undoubted highlights. The Convento do Cristo and Castillo sit high on the hill above the town, offering stunning views of the terracotta rooftops below.
To the north is the city of Coimbra, a one time capital and home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Caped students wander the narrow alleys, and the wide Mondego river lazily makes its way through the city to the coast. It’s one of the largest and most beautiful cities in Portugal but seldom visited. Discover a choice of great venues in and around the city, including former royal palaces.
Inland from here is the vast and pristine Serra da Estrella. Portugal’s largest and highest mountain range, you’ll find crystal clear mountain rivers, glacial valleys and even a ski resort in the winter months.
Dotted with hilltop fortified cities, Moorish castles, river beaches and endless stretches of pine forest, Central Portugal is one of the country’s best kept secrets.
Portugal’s capital is a stunning mix of historic venues, beautiful sunlight, scintillating views and sumptuous cuisine. As one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, it’s positively dripping with history but be warned, many of its secrets are well hidden. In fact, it can take years to discover all of its charm, with surprises around every cobbled corner.
The city sits on the banks of the vast Tejo river, rising up over seven hills and traversed with narrow alleyways and broad boulevards. Catch the iconic number 28 tram for a tour through its heart and up the the highest point at Graca. From the view point here, the terracotta rooftops stretch right the way out to the colossal red 25 April bridge and Cristo Rei statue.
The city is brimming with beautiful venues, from baroque ballrooms to traditional tascas. And if you’re looking for a gastronomic extravaganza, the seafood doesn’t get better or fresher than this.
Take advantage of the city’s majestic sunsets for wedding photos straight from the pages of a magazine, and then party the night away in the famous Bairro Alto district.
Lisbon is a unique city with a distinct personality, which makes it a fantastic wedding destination. Oh, and did we mention the beach is only 20 minutes outside the city?
Not as famous (or as busy) as the Algarve, Portugal’s Silver Coast offers stunning stretches of beach, quaint fishing villages where the pace of life is positively horizontal, and a choice of secluded wedding venues.
The Silver Coast begins about an hour north of Lisbon and stretches right up the brilliant blue Atlantic coastline. From the mysteries of Fatima to the surfer’s paradise of Nazaré, there is everything you could possibly need for a sensational wedding, and all without the crowds.
As Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve boom with tourists, life on the Silver Coast is relaxed and unhurried. Glorious beaches extend as far as you can see with barely a soul on the horizon. Inland, the open countryside stretches away towards the Serra de Estrela mountain range.
There’s golf and surfing for your guests to have some fun, and stunning architecture at the monastery at Alcobaça. You can also follow the underground river through the spectacular caves of Mire de Aire (which are stunning venue in themselves) or canoe around the lagoon at Foz do Arelho.
Not quite on the tourist map (at least for now), the Silver Coast offers a charming reminder of how Portugal used to be for a relaxed and fun wedding destination.
The Algarve might be best known as one of Europe’s premier holiday destinations but it’s also an incredible place to get married. With a unique micro climate keeping things warm all year round, plus a choice of some of Portugal’s best beaches and most romantic settings, this could be the perfect wedding destination.
From hill top light houses and windmills to ancient castles and endless stretches of beach, you’re spoilt for choice of wedding venues in the Algarve. But why stay on dry land? An evening champagne boat cruise is another option for a truly unforgettable wedding day experience.
Accommodation for you and your guests won’t be a problem. As one of the most visited regions in Europe, there’s an incredible range of hotel and villa options including places like the Sheraton Pine Cliffs resort and the Cascade resort.
The natural world plays its part too, with a magical landscape of sea caves and arches, backed by stretches of golden sand. Plus, with more than 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, the chances of beautiful weather for your big day are as good here as anywhere on the continent.
And despite being in the far south of Portugal (and Europe in general) getting to and from the Algarve is easy, with regular flights across Europe from Faro airport.