Our couple today, Jennifer and Nuno, are Irish and Portuguese and were married in the town of Cascais near Lisbon in Portugal, planning the wedding from their home in Dublin. Their main intent was to have a beautiful, intimate and relaxed destination wedding in the sun with their family and closest friends. Sound perfect to anyone else? Luckily they had Joana from Portugal Wedding Planners to help them make the vision real and Pedro Vilela was there to capture the moments. Thanks to Joana we have lots of detail below on how they went about organising their celebration!

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Planning a Destination Wedding in the Sun

Jennifer and Nuno are a friendly and relaxed couple which made planning and coordinating this wedding a pleasure for us. They decide to get married in Portugal as they wanted a wedding in the sun near a beach. Since Nuno is from the north of Portugal, they decided on the town of Cascais, a small charming coastal town just 25 kilometers from Lisbon, as the Irish guests could fly into Lisbon airport and Nuno’s relatives could travel down easily as well.

The couple contacted us 6 months before their date. They wanted a 5 star hotel overlooking the ocean that was able to provide accommodation for the guests that were joining them, so after a bit of back and forth Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa was settled on. The next step was planning the details: Pedro was chosen as the photographer as they liked his documentary style, food and drinks were decided on with the hotel, and Jennifer chose daisies and gerberas as the wedding flowers. From there it was easy to decide on a daisy theme and to incorporate this into their invitations.

Jennifer and Nuno travelled to Portugal just once in the planning process- two months before the wedding date. We had prepared the food tasting at the hotel and arranged the meetings with the different suppliers that were involved: the hotel events coordinator, the lawyer that organized the civil wedding documents, the priest for discussing the Catholic wedding process, and of course Pedro for discussing their photos.”

The Wedding Day

“For the ceremony, the church that we had suggested was Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Assunçao in Cascais- a beautiful and traditional church that is very near the hotel, which was handy for everyone. In fact, it was so close that most of the guests walked there from the hotel, which was a really nice touch. The ceremony was conducted in English and Portuguese, with mass booklets in both languages as well to involve guests from both countries.

To make the most of the magnificent hotel terrace overlooking the ocean, the cocktails were held here for the reception, with both Portuguese and international appetizers. The weather was amazing on the day and guests relaxed with a drink and listened to the band while Jennifer and Nuno finished off a few photos. Music was actually very important for the couple and they wanted a band that could do a mix of styles. They were delighted with the Bruce Brothers who played jazz and a bit of bossa nova during cocktails and after dinner switched to more lively 50’s, 60’s, rock and international music. To finish the big night, Bruce dropped the mic and was the DJ till 5am. Since the day started with the wedding ceremony at 3pm, we had quite a few tired but delighted guests by the time 5am rolled around!”

Local Touches

“Nuno’s family prepared a little surprise for the couple to share a bit of their heritage. They had handmade sweetheart handkerchiefs for the everyone, an old tradition in northern Portugal. The story goes that ladies would give a handmade handkerchief to their lover before marriage as a token and reminder of their love for each other, to last until they could be joined in matrimony. These handkerchiefs were distributed to the guests by Nuno’s family after the dinner, which was a lovely poignant moment for all.”

I love the idea of sweetheart handkerchiefs. And the idea of a wedding in Cascais doesn’t sound so bad either! Thanks so much to Pedro for these lovely images and to Joana for sharing memories of the day with us.

Photographer: Pedro Vilela | Wedding Planner: Portugal Wedding Planners | Ceremony: Church of Cascais | Reception: Grand Hotel Villa Italia (also provided the catering and cake) | Florist: Martin Alves | Hair and Makeup: Vera Garcia | Wedding Band: Bruce Brothers

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