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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the wedding season really starts to get into its swing, here are some top wedding trends you’re likely to see this summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With so many people to talk to, a million things to think about, not to mention trying to look as magical as you ever have, your wedding day can go by in a blur. But there are some things you can do to regain control.
Take the time to connect
Make time throughout the day to actually enjoy it with your new husband or wife. It can be easy to get caught up with old friends, chatterbox aunties or work colleagues. The last thing you want is for the day to go by without taking the time to enjoy it together.
Minimise travel time
Add up the drive to the ceremony and back to the reception, another change of venue in the evening and then a trip back to the hotel and the chances are you’ll spend several hours on the move. Try and keep things central, with a venue that doubles or triples up in functions.
Hire a planner
Obviously, I’m a little biased but using a wedding planner really can free you up to enjoy your day. Of course, you still get final say in everything from flowers to first dances. But the difference is you don’t have to worry about any of that on the day.
Keep the toasts on the short side
Great wedding speeches are amazing. But think about it, how many do you actually remember from weddings you’ve been to. Funny and moving speeches are fine but try to keep the admin side of things to a minimum. The more time you can free up for fun the better.
Big isn’t always better. For more and more couples, inviting that weird guy from your fiancé’s work isn’t necessarily part of the most special day of their lives. Sometimes keeping it small but doing it really well is the better option.
Here are five reasons why.
Only invite your nearest and dearest
When you start compiling your guest list, it can get out of hand. If one set of distant cousins is invited, the other bunch have to come to. So why not keep it lean and invite the people you really want to celebrate with you. Close friends and immediate family only.
Feel more relaxed
This a big day but you want to enjoy it too. After all, it’s your party. So why spend hours having the same conversation with hundreds of people? Fewer people means more time with the ones you love.
Spreading your budget too thin means the quality is diluted. Focus it more clearly and you can splash out on things you really want.
Freedom to customise
Bigger weddings mean there’s less scope to put your own stamp on it. Keep it small and you’ve got compete control over the details.
There are only so many beautiful venues that can hold 300 people – even in Portugal. With a smaller guest list you can expand your event horizons.