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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you’re planning a wedding, there’s no escaping the traditional. The idea of two people coming together to declare their love for each other in front of their loved ones is as old as time. Plus, the need for the event to be witnessed and certified by a legitimate authority is also pretty clear cut and died in the wool. But there are ways to stray from the formula – ideas that can help to make your wedding day a little more unique.
Why not make the way your transport your guests from ceremony to reception all part of fun? Think antique busses, horse and carts or even taking to the skies.
There are plenty of elements of a wedding that you can encourage your guests to get involved in. From a make-your-own cocktail bar to DIY flower arranging – getting your guests involved is a great idea.
Rather than just letting the party wind down around you, why not plan a memorable exit? Stage a mini parade through the venue, have a band play you out – that kind of thing.
Don’t fancy a DJ? A string quartet a little stuffy? Then how about a mariachi band? Or a German oompah ensemble?
Can’t decide between the meat or the fish? Then why not go left field and try something new. We’re not talking kebab vans but ice cream trucks, posh fish and chips, pizza ovens – these are the kinds of things that people really love.
So, somehow we’re just a few days away from Christmas once again, and 2017 reaches its end. It’s been another fantastic year here at The Wedding Portugal, doing what we love best: planning and delivering stunning weddings in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
From vineyards to castles to sun-kissed beaches, our happy couples have celebrated in style throughout the year and there’s more to come in 2018.
If you’re thinking about tying the knot in the coming year or even beyond, then have a look at our website to find out more about the comprehensive planning services we offer, our stunning venues or to look at the gallery of the weddings we’ve staged over the last year. Get inspired by our decoration ideas, and start thinking about your own big day. Or you can get in touch to have a chat about your plans.
And in the meantime, have a wonderful festive season full of joy, love and happiness.
Once the home of Portugal’s kings and queens, the village of Sintra is one of the most unique destinations in the country. Nestled at the feet of the Sintra mountains, this forested village is home to some of the most unusual buildings including pastel coloured palaces and ancient Moorish castles.
Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with its palaces, mansions and monasteries, is the perfect destination for a romantic Portuguese wedding. It’s also close to Lisbon as well as the Atlantic coast. Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point in Europe is just a few miles away, with its stunning views of the rugged coast.
Sintra is also well known for its gastronomy, with traditional dishes such as suckling pig, as well as sublime seafood readily available.
With so much architectural heritage, an incredible selection of wedding venues and an enviable location, Sintra is one of the most popular locations for Portuguese weddings. Is it any wonder that Lord Byron referred to the place as a ‘glorious Eden’? When you visit the lush gardens and majestic mansions it’s easy to see why.