Tania and Michael, from Portugal and Germany, wed last May in Viana do Castelo at Portugal’s northerly tip. The couple combined Portuguese and German language and traditions into their wedding ceremony and celebration, making sure all family and friends who travelled to celebrate with them enjoyed the day. Tania and Michael’s beautiful fairytale wedding is absolute perfection, from their amazing hilltop cathedral ceremony to their idyllic garden couple portraits, captured by Momento Cativo.

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THE PROPOSAL

“The unexpected proposal happened in Paris and it was beautiful! It was September 2013, Michael had to travel for work, so we planned a romantic weekend and met in Paris late that week. We started by visiting D’Orsay Museum and Michael was nervous for no apparent reason: he had prepared the entire day to the littlest detail with the help of a friend. By the end of the morning, Michael insisted we crossed the Seine through the “Pont des Arts”, the famous lock bridge. When we arrived it started raining hard, but that didn’t keep Michael from proposing in perfect Portuguese. The emotional smiles and the tears of happiness mixed with the drops of rain and what started out as a cold, gray, wet day, turned out to be the most beautiful and romantic backdrop for the proposal.

PLANNING

Because we live abroad and come from different countries, the organizing of the wedding was very slow: it went on for about a year and a half. As usual, the availability of the venue for the party dictated the date of the wedding. Then came the choice of the venue for the wedding, the Santa Luzia Basilica in Viana do Castelo was a clear choice because of it’s beauty and simple decor. With this decided, we went about choosing the photographers, videographers, the music, invites and so on… All of this was settled on via email and skype, followed by a series of ocasional trips to Portugal, with the help of our portuguese family.

We started discussing the style and concept of the wedding we would have soon after we got engaged. Our golden rule was that the wedding should be a gathering of and for the family and friends, where all the guests could feel comfortably at home. At the same time we wanted our party to serve as a type of greeting card for Michael’s family and our foreign friends, whom would mostly be visiting Portugal for the first time. We wanted them to be impressed! We also wanted the party to reflect what and who we are. To achieve all of this, we ended up opting for a typically Portuguese party with small German accents, like the home made schnapps (a type of liquor) made by Michael’s family. The feedback from our friends and family let us know our mission was accomplished. All the guests loved it and the foreigners were delighted with Portugal, some wanting to return. We both had a strong Catholic upbringing and although we are not hardcore religious, the wedding idea never made sense without the spiritual component. We wanted the ceremony to be bilingual (Portuguese/German) so that everyone felt included. And so it was. The religious ceremony ended up being a very emotional moment for everyone.

THE WEDDING

I never dreamt of being a specific type of bride. Of course I surfed the web a bit, but I always knew I wanted something to reflect my personality. I wanted something simple and serene, with a little bit of “fairy tale” thrown in the mix. In the end, the choice for the dress, the make-up, the hair and the bouquet ended up as very natural choices and a reflex of my identity. In general I did not compromise on anything. Of course we defined a budget, which served as a guiding line for everything. However we were not obsessed by it. There were things we had to discuss how important they really were- for example, Michael’s family really wanted the car to have flowers because it is a German tradition. In this aspect Michael had to give in because I really did not want them. In the end, it all went well and these type of cultural differences gave place to huge laughs.

ADVICE

I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding. It was all how we imagined; maybe even better. We had a full day of happiness, shared with friends and family. Being sure you are with the right person and surrounded by those we love are the magical ingredients so that everything goes just right.

Tânia: ‘We understand the details you envision are important, but in the end what will become a part of your memories are the words, smiles and feelings lived throughout the day. The rest ends up being put in perspective and losing its importance. As such, please don’t let the details overwhelm you. Live the day to the fullest!’

Michael: ‘For the groom, just be there, enjoy the show and do your best to make your wife happy: on this day and every day of your life.’ ”

Photography: Momento Cativo | Video: Vanessa&Ivo Handmade Films | Ceremony Church: Basílica de Santa Luzia | Reception Venue: Quinta de Santo André | Dress: Pronovias | Hair: Bárbara Mesquita | Make-up: Daniela Lamas | Suit: Arax Gazzo | Church Music: Rosacea Music | Reception Music: MV Music (DJ Miguel Vaz) | Stationery, Decor & Bouquet: Presente p’ra ti (graphic work by bride) | Keepsakes: Family / Presente p’ra ti

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