Andrea and Dimitrios travelled to Portugal from the US to marry last July. Their beautiful celebration took place at Bussaco Palace, an amazing venue in the northern part of Portugal just over an hour from the city of Porto. They chose Portugal because of Andrea’s family connections there: her dream wedding was to celebrate in the church her parents and generations of her family had married in, so that’s exactly what they did.

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HOW THEY MET

“Dimitrios and I met about four and a half years before we married. My best friend planned an outing for us and a couple of friends from her school at a lounge in Queens, NY – little did I know I would be meeting my other half that night. We hit it off and started seeing each other exclusively right away.  Three years later, we were engaged under the Angel Oak Tree on a weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina (where my husband hired a photographer to capture the proposal – later becoming our wedding photographer).

DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION

Dimitrios had been to Portugal the year before to meet my family, so when we started wedding planning and he asked me “what’s your dream wedding?” I told him that I had always wanted to get married in the church that my parents and generations of my family had married in.  He loved the idea and even suggested some of the gorgeous places we visited the year before as reception venues! We spoke to some of our closest friends about whether they would travel for the wedding and we got overwhelming support from our loved ones.  We ended up with a total of 70 guests for the wedding (about 60% from the US and the rest from Portugal).

We picked the most incredible wedding venue, about 15 minutes from the church.  Bussaco Palace Hotel used to be a royal residence for the King of Portugal, it’s surrounded by a national forest where historical battles have taken place in the early 1800’s. We first booked the venue, and then started doing research on all the other details.  We decided to hire a Wedding Planner since we knew we wouldn’t be able to take care a lot of the details from New York, it was definitely the best decision we could have made.  After a ton of meetings via Skype, we chose to go with Make My Day Portugal Weddings – Gilda and Rui were able to translate our vision into the perfect stress free day.  Language barrier was not an issue since I speak Portuguese fluently, and I enlisted the help of some of my incredible cousins to help me translate a few detailed emails properly. Make My Day created all the graphics for the wedding, from our invitations to the favors.  They worked hand in hand with all of the vendors we chose to make everything seamless.

PLANNING THE WEDDING

My family in Portugal was a huge help through the process. My aunt grew the succulents that were all over our reception venue and that made up my bouquet and the boutonnieres. The honey favors my cousin made himself from my grandfather’s bees. My cousin also hired the local choir for the church ceremony, finalized all the details with the priest, and even played the guitar as I walked down the aisle.  My cousins go to a local university known for the traditional Fado music that the students have been playing for centuries in Coimbra, they were able to help me hire a student Fado group for our cocktail hour to entertain guests.

Our incredible videographers Vanessa & Ivo – Handmade Films were able to help with suggestions on make up artists, hair stylists, and DJs.  Our amazing photographer Taylor Rae Photography was from Charleston, we HAD to pick her since we had the best experience with her from our proposal pictures, we knew she was the only one that would be able to capture our day the way we had imagined.”

Photographer: Taylor Rae Photography | Videography: Vanessa & Ivo Handmade Films | Venue: Bussaco Palace | Planners: Make My Day Portugal Weddings | Fado Group: Cantar Coimbra | DJ: LSS Produção de Eventos | Church Florals: Florista Estrelícia | Makeup: Bárbara Brandão | Hair: João Pereira Hairdressing | Dress: Pronovias | Bride Shoes: Klub Nico Footwear | Veil: SIBO Designs | Suit: Indochino | Groom’s Shoes: Dune London

 

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