The best alternative wedding venues

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.

Alternative wedding venues

Hippy heaven

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.

Industrial spaces

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.

Alternative wedding venues

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.

Alternative wedding venues



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.

Alternative wedding venues


How to dance the night away

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.

How to dance the night away

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.

How to dance the night away

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.

How to dance the night away

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.


How to dance the night away

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

If you’re planning a wedding, especially one abroad, you’re going to need some help. That generally comes in two forms. One is a wedding package, provided by a venue and built around a set wedding plan. The other is hiring a wedding planner and working together to create your own special day. Each has its plus points and drawbacks, so lets have a closer look at which might be best for you.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

Wedding planner

The pros are that you get a personalised service and a professional working with you to achieve your vision. Every detail is considered and you get to hand craft your venue, food, decoration and entertainment options according to your needs.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

The downside is that this obviously costs more because everything is not being provided on one package, which enables a more streamlined and cheaper service. But with weddings, as with everything else, you get what you pay for.

Package deals

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

As mentioned, you get a lot for your money but is quantity always better than quality? It’s probably more time efficient too as your chosen package suppliers will take care of everything. So if you’re not concerned about the detail and trust them to deliver a wedding that meets you expectations, then it could be a good option. Package deals also lack a little of the uniqueness that makes weddings so special.

Wedding planning: A la carte vs package deals

Ultimately your choice depends on many factors, including budget, time, preference and more. But we know which one we would choose – not that we’re biased obviously.

Getting married in the mountains

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:

Getting married in the mountains

The view

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.

Getting married in the mountains

The towns

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.

Getting married in the mountains

The churches

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.

Getting married in the mountains

Why get married on a farm?

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?

Why get married on a farm?

Blank canvas

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.

Why get married on a farm?


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.

Why get married on a farm?


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.

Why get married on a farm?

Why get married in a castle?

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?

Why get married in a castle

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?

The romance

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.

Why get married in a castle

The package

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.

Why get married in a castle

The memories

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.

Three reasons you should get married in a vineyard

Portugal may not be on many people’s lists of top wine countries but it actually produces some of the world’s best wines. However, many of their vintages are produced on a small scale so little is exported compared to France, Spain and Italy. But this does mean that it is a country covered in vineyards, with many still retaining their traditional charm – untouched by large commercial production.

Three reasons you should get married in a vineyard

With this in mind, it could be the perfect place for a vineyard wedding. And if you’re still unconvinced, then here three great reasons to tie the knot by the vines.

You love wine

If you’re a wine enthusiast, then what better place to get married than in the place where it’s made? If you know which wine goes with lamb and which with fish, or if you have a growing cellar at home, then why not indulge your passion on your big day?

Three reasons you should get married in a vineyard

A unique venue

A vineyard brings a lot of character and unique charm to a wedding. With the rows of fragrant vines, dapped sun coming through the leaves and overhead cover from the shade vines common in Portugal, it’s a beautiful, romantic and different wedding venue alternative.

Three reasons you should get married in a vineyard

The wines

Of course, a vineyard’s main purpose is to create beautiful wine. And what better place to taste it that right where it is brewed and bottled? Here in Portugal you can get married in some of the world’s finest vineyards, where you and your guests can sample some stunning wines.

Three reasons you should get married in a vineyard

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

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.

Guest transportation

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.

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

DIY ideas

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.

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

Showstopping exit

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.

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

Wedding music

Don’t fancy a DJ? A string quartet a little stuffy?  Then how about a mariachi band? Or a German oompah ensemble?

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

Food frenzy

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.

Go your own way: Five completely unique wedding ideas

Season’s greetings from The Wedding Portugal

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.

Season’s greetings from The Wedding Portugal

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.

Season’s greetings from The Wedding Portugal

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.

Season’s greetings from The Wedding Portugal

And in the meantime, have a wonderful festive season full of joy, love and happiness.

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?


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