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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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’?
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 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 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 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 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.
Apart from choosing your dress and probably your future life partner, picking the right wedding venue is the biggest decision you will make about your wedding day (some people might even argue that it even trumps the other two). So why settle for anything less than spectacular?
And they don’t come any more spectacular than a castle. Here in Portugal, there are plenty to choose from. But why choose such an impressive venue for your wedding?
Getting married in a castle adds a touch of elegance and fantasy to your wedding that other venues just can’t match. Turrets, keeps, great halls – they all come straight from a fairytale. And that just seems to fit perfectly with the romance of a wedding.
One of the beauties of a castle wedding is that everything is in the same place. Large dining halls, open spaces for drinks, perfect photo locations, and sometimes even an on-site church or chapel. After all, these castles were in part designed for grand celebrations and banquets.
Your wedding day should be truly unlike any other. And unless you happen to be royalty, or an eccentric billionaire, you probably don’t spend every day in a castle. So choose a grand and historic venue for your wedding can create memories that will last a lifetime.
Your wedding day is a in essence a celebration of your future together. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also plan a day that looks back at the past. Vintage wedding ideas can give your special day a little touch of something different. Here are five vintage inspired ideas to help make your wedding even more unique.
Music plays a big part in any celebration, and by choosing the right band you can create a whole tone and atmosphere. Think trad jazz, smooth swing or even 50s rock roll and you can create a mood for the whole day.
Arrive in style in a classic car from the past. Choose an elegant 1920s open backed carriage, a 70s sports coupe or an iconic 50s Rolls.
Add some vintage chic to your table designs with retro-inspired centrepieces. Think piles of leather bound books, classic typewriters, antique vases. It’s a great way to be creative.
Mix and match
Mis-matched retro china from a junk store can be a great way to add some vintage style to your tables. The beauty of vintage items is that they have their own charm and can look good in a variety of settings.
Another major benefit of vintage ideas is that you can repurpose items them for your needs. Think old suitcases as a gift basket, old birdcages as centrepieces. It’s a great chance to use your imagination.
The wedding is booked. You’ve got a wedding planner in place (hopefully that’s us) and the reception is all planned out. What’s left to do? Get yourself a wedding website, that’s what. Creating your online space is a must for any 21st century couple. Here are five excellent reasons why.
There’s a lot of information to give your guests. So why not save paper (and the planet) and put it all online for them to check at their leisure?
Avoid the questions
Your wedding day will be beautiful and fun. But also stressful. Especially if loads of guests get in touch to ask you the same questions. So why not create a website that hosts all the relevant information that your guests might need, so that they don’t all bother you.
Sometimes plans change of course, and rather than sending out individual updates you can simply update your site with all the new plans.
Share your story
Not everyone coming to the big day will know all about you, your partner, or your love story. So this is a great place to share it.
Getting sent several dozen or hundred RSVPs can be a bit of a fuss. So why not streamline your responses? And it makes it easy for guests to click whether they’re coming or not.
A wedding is, at its most basic, a celebration. And every celebration needs music. That’s why it’s such an important part of the big day. From creating mood and atmosphere to getting people on their feet and dancing – different parts of the day require different tunes. So how do you go about choosing your wedding music?
Here’s a quick look at some of your options:
Spinning some stone cold classic on the wheels of steel late into the evening, even gran is up and dancing. The wedding DJ is a firm favourite because they can play tunes you all know and love, with a back catalogue that includes all recorded music. Not so good for walking down the aisle though.
Romantic, elegant and sophisticated. Just imagine walking down the aisle to Bach. It’s also a great option for playing throughout drinks and dinner. Although, even though they might be supreme musicians, it’s hard to get a party started with a cello.
Choose your style – folk, rock, funk, heavy metal? – and then get band to rock your party all night long. The force of a full band gives your wedding a real festival and fun time feel. And they can even scale it back for some more atmospheric playing throughout the day. But some bands can have a limited set list. And we really don’t recommend heavy metal for a wedding. Not unless you want your guests to go home with a stiff neck from all the head banging.