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

 

Top summer wedding trends 2017

As the wedding season really starts to get into its swing, here are some top wedding trends you’re likely to see this summer.

Watercolour

A great way to DIY your wedding. Watercolour your invitations, decorations, table numbers and more. It’s a fun, creative and very affordable way of adding big splashes of colour to your special day.

Forest

The forest can be a very romantic place, and a great venue to connect with wildlife. Shady, lush and with abundant natural material, why bother decorating your venue when nature can do it for you – and on a much grander scale.

Tropical

Brightly coloured flowers (think bold pinks and purples) and palm leaves cam bring a little slice of tropical paradise to any wedding. Think Hawaiian shirts, bold floral prints and patterns – all you need is some sunshine to set it all off. And here in Portugal you stand a pretty good chance of getting it.

Boho

If you’re looking for a more casual event, then go for a boho/vintage feel. Think wedding teepees, vintage fabrics, cowboy boots, rugs and anything else you can find inspiration from in junk shops. This is a great way to create a truly unique and individual event.

Wedding photography trends for 2017

Your wedding day is the best day of your life. But with so much going on and a few drinks thrown into the mix, it will be over before you know it. You can always fall back on the memories (even if they are a little hazy) but the best way to take lasting souvenirs of your day is with a set of photos.

Of course, wedding photography, like anything else, is affected by the style and taste of the day. Choose the wrong photographer and your pictures will look like they’ve come from another time.

With that in mind, we’ve picked up on a few wedding trends that are big in 2017.

The comeback of film

Digital has dominated for over a decade now but film is making a comeback. Both for professional photographers and through Polaroid and Instax portable and printable cameras.

Wedding photography trends for 2017

Editorial style

Rather than everyone standing around looking cold and awkward, an editorial style shoot that could have come straight from the pages of Vogue is a major trend for 2017.

Wedding photography trends for 2017

Photojournalism

Although, bothering with posed photos at all is a little out-dated. People are now looking more for a naturalistic approach, where genuine moments are captured rather than staged.

Wedding photography trends for 2017

Instagram it

Why wait until weeks after the wedding to see the shots? Get your photographer and your guests to upload them on the day to Instagram. That way you can relive your big day when you wake up in the morning.

Wedding photography trends for 2017

Top 5 cocktails for summer weddings

Summer is just around the corner now, which means it’s high time to start thinking about your summer wedding. And what’s one of the most important parts of a wedding? The cocktails, of course.

Top 5 cocktails for summer weddings

With that in mind, here are five of our favourite cocktails for summer weddings. Just remember, no matter how god they taste, don’t overdo it in the first couple of hours. It’s a long day and you want to remember all of it.

Coconut margarita

An ideal drink for a sunny, beachside wedding. The kind we specialise in here in Portugal. Made from tequila and triple sec, it’s the coconut that gives it a real summer kick.

Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco

OK, here in Portugal we have our own version, using Espumante (a fizzy white that’s our equivalent of Prosecco). The raspberry and lemon flavours give the sweet whine a bit of an acidic twang that cuts through on a hot day.

Top 5 cocktails for summer weddings

Caipirinha

This Brazilian classic is made using cachaça, lime juice and sugar. And let’s face it, the Brazilians know a thing or two about what to drink in the sunshine. It’s also something of a speciality in Lisbon.

 

Watermelon punch

Another fruit that just screams summer, a watermelon punch is a refreshing crowd pleaser when the sun is beating down. Rim each glass with sugar and prepare in bulk as it disappears quickly.

Top 5 cocktails for summer weddings

Cucumber margaritas

Another margarita variant, this mild and refreshing take on the classic will keep your guests cool all night long.

Top 5 cocktails for summer weddings